Against All Odds

Dan Goude’s 1964 Se­ries IIA was ne­glected for 20 years un­til a near-death ex­pe­ri­ence, ebay and LRM in­spired him to start restor­ing it

Land Rover Monthly - - Contents - Story: Dave Phillips

Hav­ing sat un­used in a garage for 20 years, Dan Goude re­ceived £4k from ebay to fi­nally fin­ish his Se­ries IIA

You should be see­ing a lot of Dan Goode’s Se­ries IIA next year. He has fully re­stored the 1964 exmil­i­tary 88in and he is jus­ti­fi­ably proud of the end re­sult, so he has de­cided to put it on dis­play at a few shows. It’s a stun­ning ve­hi­cle, all right. But that doesn’t tell half the story of this re­mark­able man and his Land Rover.

“It all be­gan when I passed my driv­ing test, in 1992,” re­calls Dan. “All my mates had Land Rovers – mainly Se­ries IIIS in those days – but I wanted some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent. The Se­ries IIA is such a pretty car and I had my heart set on one. I was pre­pared to wait un­til I found the right one and my pa­tience was re­warded in 1993 when I saw it in Auto Trader. It was be­ing sold by a trader nearby, so I went along to have a look. My mate who was with me said: ‘It’s a rag top – you’ve got have it!’ I agreed, paid £800 and drove it home.

“It was in rea­son­able and road-le­gal con­di­tion. I could see the chas­sis and rear cross­mem­ber had seen some DIT weld­ing, but it was a good run­ner and I loved it. At week­ends we’d all go off-road­ing and I ad­mit I was a bit hard on her. I called her Bertha be­cause she was a bit of a brute.

“The trou­ble was, I was a col­lege stu­dent and couldn’t af­ford to keep up with the stuff that went wrong. The brakes needed an over­haul, the ra­di­a­tor was shot and it over­heated ev­ery time I took it out. I hadn’t got the money to put it right, but my par­ents, Mal­colm and Mar­garet let me put it in their garage. They knew how much it meant to me. Dad said I could leave it there un­til I was able to put it right. I don’t think any of us re­alised just how long that would be, though…”

In fact, Dan’s Se­ries IIA lan­guished in his par­ents’ Stock­port garage for over 20 years.

In the in­ter­ven­ing years he’d started work, found a part­ner, Kathy, and bought a house. They had two chil­dren – Sam, now five, and Re­becca, three. The Land Rover re­mained in the garage, but wasn’t for­got­ten.

“Funds were still tight,” says Dan. “I was work­ing part-time as main­te­nance man­ager at a ho­tel in Manch­ester and looked af­ter the kids part-time. We were build­ing an ex­ten­sion to the house, so I didn’t have the time or money to do any­thing about the Land Rover, al­though it was al­ways my dream.”

Then, late in 2015, at the age of 39, Dan’s world came crash­ing down. “I caught sep­tus,” he ex­plains. “It’s a form of blood poi­son­ing and it is very dan­ger­ous. I was lit­er­ally at death’s door. I spent eight days in a coma and woke up in in­ten­sive care, won­der­ing what had hap­pened.

“I was still very poorly, but as I slowly re­cov­ered in hos­pi­tal

“My mother brought in copies of LRM. That helped me through my re­cov­ery and I got fired up with en­thu­si­asm”

my mother brought in copies of LRM for me to read. That helped me through my re­cov­ery and I got fired up with en­thu­si­asm for my Land Rover again. I par­tic­u­larly loved the tech­ni­cal ar­ti­cles, es­pe­cially those deal­ing in electrics. They gave me the con­fi­dence to want to get out of hos­pi­tal and get crack­ing with the restora­tion, even though I still hadn’t got the money!”

What Dan didn’t know was that his part­ner, Kathy, and par­ents had seen how pas­sion­ate he was about his Land Rover, so se­cretly they had taken it to a lo­cal garage, which sorted out the ma­jor prob­lems and got it through its MOT.

When he fi­nally left hos­pi­tal, he ar­rived home to find Bertha parked around the cor­ner and dec­o­rated with rib­bons and bal­loons. “It was their 40th birth­day present to me,” says Dan. “And they couldn’t have come up with a bet­ter one. How they did all that with­out me guess­ing, I’ll never know. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for ral­ly­ing round.

“It took me six months to re­cover and the strange thing is no­body knows how I got sep­tus in the first place. The doc­tors told me I might have just got a slight scratch with­out notic­ing it. Ap­par­ently gar­den­ers are most at risk and should al­ways wear gloves when prun­ing prickly stuff like roses. It made me de­cide to be very care­ful in fu­ture, and af­ter that I al­ways wore gloves when work­ing on Bertha.

“What my part­ner and par­ents did for me spurred me on. Af­ter stand­ing around for 20 years there were a lot of things wrong with her. For ex­am­ple the head gas­ket failed and the footwells needed replacing. They were so rusty I could see the road through the holes in the floor when­ever I was out driv­ing it.

“I knew it was go­ing to take a long time to re­store Bertha, but I started brows­ing ebay, look­ing for the parts I would need. I was on there one evening when I saw a com­pe­ti­tion – the ebay Car Chal­lenge – which was of­fer­ing £4000 each to three win­ners. They were look­ing for the best restora­tion sto­ries, so I told them mine.

“Af­ter I en­tered, I for­got about it. But a few weeks later I got a call telling me I’d won, along with some­one who had a 1974 VW camper and an­other per­son with a 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto [see box-outs]. It was bril­liant news and I was pleased as punch, be­cause the prize money meant I could fi­nally achieve what I wanted.

“Now I could put into prac­tise what I’d learned while read­ing LRM in my hos­pi­tal bed. When I’d en­tered the com­pe­ti­tion, I’d writ­ten out a shop­ping list of the parts I’d need. Now I could search on ebay, find them and buy them.

“It isn’t easy on a 1964 ex-mil­i­tary Se­ries IIA. Mine is a 24 volt FFR (Fit­ted For Ra­dio) model and, be­sides be­ing rare, some parts are much more ex­pen­sive. For ex­am­ple, spark plugs for a 24v car are twice the price of 12 volt ones. But the great thing about ebay is that you can find sell­ers from all over the world. Back in the 1960s, mil­i­tary Land Rovers ended up in all sorts of places, like Malaysia.

“One of the big­gest jobs was replacing the rear cross­mem­ber. The weld­ing work that had been done over 20 years ear­lier wasn’t very good and it needed replacing. I bought a quar­ter chas­sis and man­aged to fit it with­out re­mov­ing the tub, which was a real help. The rest of the chas­sis was in good con­di­tion, be­cause mil­i­tary Land Rovers were built on heavy-duty chas­sis, which last much longer than stan­dard ones.”

Even­tu­ally, Dan bought all the parts he needed from a to­tal

“This whole ex­pe­ri­ence has rekin­dled my love of Land Rovers and I’m now think­ing of get­ting an­other one”

of 90 ebay sell­ers from around the world. Some even be­came firm friends, who gave in­valu­able ad­vice. “There’s a lovely chap named Steve Carter, from York, who makes re­pro­duc­tion pan­els for old Land Rovers and sells them through ebay. I bought a cou­ple of wing pan­els from him and the same day that they were de­liv­ered he phoned me to ask if I’d safely re­ceived them, then pa­tiently ex­plained the best way of fit­ting them. Steve has a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge and he re­ally helped me. His ad­vice was in­valu­able as the build pro­ceeded.”

Dan’s pur­chases also in­cluded a new can­vas tilt. And once the ma­jor me­chan­i­cal and body­work pan­els were sorted, he re­alised he wanted to im­prove the ve­hi­cle’s ex­ter­nal ap­pear­ance, too.

“A pre­vi­ous owner had hand-painted her with the wrong shade of green paint and hadn’t done a very good job to be hon­est. There were brush marks, runs and drips ev­ery­where. I de­cided to go for a pro­fes­sional re­spray in Bronze Green at a lo­cal bodyshop. Bertha now looks so good I have de­cided to take her to a few out­door events next year – Land Rover and mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle shows – to show her off and in­spire oth­ers. I’m very proud of how she turned out.

“Bertha is now my ev­ery­day ve­hi­cle. I won’t take her of­froad­ing any more, be­cause I wouldn’t want to dam­age her, but I’ll cer­tainly be tak­ing her for a few green­lan­ing trips.

“This whole ex­pe­ri­ence has rekin­dled my love of Land Rovers and I’m now think­ing of get­ting an­other one. I’ve al­ways fan­cied a Light­weight, but what would re­ally ap­peal to me is build­ing a De­fender from scratch – you know, get­ting all the pieces to­gether and then as­sem­bling them.

“I re­ally en­joyed shop­ping on ebay for the parts for my Se­ries IIA, so I’ll do the same for my De­fender – just watch this space!”

This page: You would never guess that this Se­ries IIA lan­guished in a garage for 20 years

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