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
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