“I changed the electrics from 24 volts to 12 volts be­cause I tow a car­a­van”

Land Rover Monthly - - Military -

in­signif­i­cant num­ber of base ve­hi­cles were also later con­verted to Bat­tle­field Am­bu­lances and Royal Sig­nals hard tops, plus a small num­ber of unit con­ver­sions were also un­der­taken for specialist roles.

I have yet to un­cover de­fin­i­tive pro­duc­tion fig­ures for the One Tonne, but am con­fi­dent it was well over 500 – if any reader can help with a pre­cise fig­ure, please get in touch.

Over­seas, the ve­hi­cle was bought by Aus­tralia, as Rapier Trac­tors, and by Egypt as Swing­fire anti-ar­mour mis­sile ve­hi­cles.

The ve­hi­cle fea­tured this month is owned by Adam Cove. “I bought 68FL48 in 2011, it had pre­vi­ously been kept as a resto project. Since cast in ’92 as a com­plete non-run­ner, it had been through three own­ers who had all thought it was too good to break but didn’t do any­thing with it,” he ex­plained.

If mil­i­tary Land Rover en­thu­si­asts cast their mind back to 1992 they should re­alise that this was just a year or so af­ter Coali­tion Forces, in­clud­ing Bri­tain’s Desert Rats from 4th and 7th Ar­moured Bri­gades, lib­er­ated Kuwait from the grasp of Iraqi dic­ta­tor Sad­dam Hus­sein. Mas­sive quan­ti­ties of mil­i­tary Land Rovers of all types were used by the Bri­tish in Saudi Ara­bia and Kuwait dur­ing Oper­a­tion Granby and the fol­low-on Oper­a­tion Desert Sabre, so the traces of desert stone paint found in the nooks and cran­nies of 68FL48 sug­gest to me that it might have been one of the ca­su­al­ties shipped back in late 1991.

Adam picked up the story again: “It’s a 961 chas­sis pre­fix and it is chas­sis num­ber 25 so is a very early one, built ap­prox­i­mately in April 1975. I have changed the electrics from 24 volts to 12 volts for the sim­ple rea­son that I tow a car­a­van with it but I have re­tained the orig­i­nal ig­ni­tion sys­tem, be­cause it’s wa­ter­proof and I like it. The ve­hi­cle was re­stored to ‘as de­liv­ered to [Cen­tral Ve­hi­cle De­pot] Hil­ton’ spec­i­fi­ca­tion rather than to rep­re­sent any unit it served with.”

A lit­tle of its ser­vice his­tory is known, in­clud­ing the fact that it spent most of its life as­signed to the Royal Elec­tri­cal & Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neers, the first two years of which was with the Reme School at Bor­don in Hamp­shire. Adam has also un­cov­ered that it was at­tached to the Light Aid De­tach­ments of The Queen’s Royal Hus­sars and the Queen’s Dra­goon Guards for much of its ser­vice life.

“As to whether it has seen ser­vice in the Per­sian Gulf I don’t ac­tu­ally know, as I don’t know the move­ments of these units,” ex­plained Adam.

My gut re­ac­tion, based on the traces of re­mov­able desert cam­ou­flage paint that can still be found on 68FL48 is that it quite prob­a­bly served with a Squadron of the Queen’s Dra­goon Guards, who were the recce com­po­nent of 7th Ar­moured Brigade dur­ing the 1991 Gulf War. Al­though this squadron pri­mar­ily used light ar­mour – 16x Scim­i­tar and 4x Spar­tan ac­cord­ing to my pho­to­book Oper­a­tion Granby, pub­lished shortly af­ter­wards, and al­most cer­tainly a Reme Sam­son too – they also took many Land Rovers with them for sup­port roles and I’ll bet their Light Aid De­tach­ment used a One Tonne Land Rover as well.

“When it was cast it had some ac­ci­dent dam­age on it down the right-hand side and it was half­way through an en­gine change that hadn’t been com­pleted” says Adam. “Ma­jor com­po­nents such as the steer­ing and steer­ing box were in a Tup­per­ware con­tainer in the back. The car­bu­ret­tors were in an­other one and so was all the ig­ni­tion sys­tem. There were still red rub­ber bungs in the en­gine and the en­gine’s re­build date is three weeks prior to it be­ing cast. So I be­lieve I’m the first per­son ever to have heard this en­gine run. I’m cer­tainly the first civil­ian to have driven this ve­hi­cle un­der its own power since dis­posal and I’m en­joy­ing ev­ery minute of it!”

The ad­justable drop down tow­ing ball (be­low NATO hitch) al­lows Adam to tow a car­a­van

A cir­cu­lar wheel-step bolted to the 9x16 six stud rim as­sists in climb­ing up to the cab

Red filler cap de­notes petrol en­gine – it has the same 3528cc V8 as the early Range Rover

The small lock­ers be­hind the rear wheels were for tool stor­age – in this case the jack

Unique de­mount­able and min­i­mal­ist rear bumperettes are un­like any other Landie

Later in life the FC 101 was painted NATO Green but it left the fac­tory in Deep Bronze

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