Per­fect Ten

Bought in 1999 for £5000 with a mere 45,000 on the clock, some 18 years later the week­end play­thing was in need of some love and at­ten­tion. For­tu­nately Gumtree 4x4 were more than up to the job

Land Rover Monthly - - Contents - Story: Hils Everitt Pic­tures: Hils Everitt/gumtree 4x4

Gumtree 4x4 show off their skills with the per­fect restora­tion of a One Ten V8 County Sta­tion Wagon

With the De­fender out of pro­duc­tion and the wait for its re­place­ment prov­ing in­ter­minable, en­thu­si­asts are sat­is­fy­ing their hunger by mod­i­fy­ing or ren­o­vat­ing older mod­els that may oth­er­wise have lan­guished in the barn or rot­ted away, for­got­ten, in the cor­ner of an over­grown field. To ex­ac­er­bate the prob­lem, buy­ing sec­ond­hand De­fend­ers isn’t easy, as we all know with prices soar­ing and avail­abil­ity not ex­ten­sive. So all this means there are an in­creas­ing num­ber of pre-1990 mod­els be­ing snapped up and brought back to their for­mer mag­nif­i­cence.

One such ex­am­ple has been beau­ti­fully re­stored and re­built by the bril­liant team at Gumtree 4x4. The Land Rover in ques­tion is a 1989-reg­is­tered One Ten V8 County Sta­tion Wa­gen sporting body­work in the orig­i­nal lus­cious Con­is­ton Green, one of our favourite hues.

The One Ten’s owner had bought it in 1999 for £5000 and it was in rea­son­able nick or, as he puts it, “a used con­di­tion, well-worn but not bat­tered”, with a mere 45,000 on the clock; achieved on long and short jour­neys as and when it suited.

There was no ar­du­ous off-road­ing, but he tack­led plenty of fields, river­banks and tracks from south­ern Eng­land to the Scot­tish Highlands, car­ry­ing fam­ily, friends, dogs and fishing gear, with some tow­ing work thrown in for good mea­sure.

The 3.5-litre V8 petrol en­gine, first in­stalled in the Se­ries III Stage One and then added to the One Ten line-up in 1983, was much ad­mired by the owner. He’d pre­vi­ously owned a Range Rover V8 where his ad­mi­ra­tion for the 114 bhp unit was first ig­nited, so snapped up the One Ten as his week­end out­door pur­suits trans­port. “I like the smooth­ness of the V8; it purrs along at a steady 70 mph – would hap­pily do more – and the econ­omy is acceptable,” he re­vealed

Time waits for no one

Eigh­teen years on and the One Ten was badly in need of some TLC. Rather than buy an­other Puma model be­fore pro­duc­tion ceased – he al­ready owns one any­way – he de­cided it was worth spend­ing the money bring­ing his One Ten back to life.

The plan was to make the One Ten fit for an­other 20 years or so as it was def­i­nitely a keeper; a ve­hi­cle to be used and not to sell on or put in a mu­seum. It was im­por­tant to re­tain the ve­hi­cle’s orig­i­nal char­ac­ter with­out giv­ing it a more mod­ern ap­pear­ance with un­nec­es­sary ex­tras.

To that end, Gumtree’s job was to re­store it to its for­mer glory with a few up­grades. Al­though the body­work was in not too bad a con­di­tion, it was when the team delved deeper

that the true ex­tent of the work re­quired be­came ap­par­ent. It meant the restora­tion had to start from the very bot­tom by re­plac­ing the chas­sis, which was in a poor state, rot­ting away in sev­eral places and leav­ing some huge holes.

Gumtree’s founder and all-round off-road­ing guru John Bowden takes up the story: “The chas­sis could have been rewelded, but it was de­cided that re­place­ment was the bet­ter op­tion. The doors were also shot and the bulk­head nasty.”

The work was due to be car­ried out on a cer­tain date but had to be brought for­ward by a few months as the old LT85 Santana gear­box conked out. Al­though noisy, it had per­formed okay and had been due to re­main in situ, but once it had died it was de­cided that the best op­tion was to re­place it with a re­con­di­tioned R380 model, sup­plied by Ashcroft Trans­mis­sions. Re­build­ing the Santana ’box was ruled out as that is a hugely ex­pen­sive job. John could have fit­ted a sixspeed Ge­trag gear­box, as in the Puma, but the R380 was the owner’s pre­ferred trans­mis­sion.

With the new gear­box, came the need for a re­vised trans­mis­sion tun­nel. “We could have cut and re­moulded the old one but felt a new unit would be bet­ter,” said John. Ac­tu­ally in this case “new” means a good sec­ond­hand tun­nel, plus seat box and floor pans. While the pri­mary trans­mis­sion was en­joy­ing an up­grade, they went the whole hog and re­placed the trans­fer box with a re­con­di­tioned item from Bex­hill Gear­boxes. At first the re­con R380 felt quite light ac­cord­ing to the owner, but af­ter pil­ing up some mileage it was def­i­nitely pre­ferred to the old LT85 Santana.

Tak­ing it back to its for­mer glory

Now the V8-pow­ered One Ten was hap­pily purring around on the road again it was time to re­vert back to the orig­i­nal re­build. Re­plac­ing the rot­ting chas­sis with a shiny new gal­vanised item, com­plete with bolt-in gear­box cross­mem­ber, rear body sup­port cross­mem­ber and front shock ab­sorber tur­rets from Richards Chas­sis, was a straight­for­ward op­er­a­tion.

What tried and tested the team was re­plac­ing the bulk­head. It was re­con­di­tioned by the team at Gumtree and proved the most dif­fi­cult job.

“The whole thing needed to be changed,” said John. “It was to­tally stripped; wiring, con­trols, ev­ery­thing. We re­plated and welded ev­ery­thing. Bulk­head re­build­ing is al­ways

a pain, but not rocket science so long as it does not dis­tort.”

The rear tub floor also gave the team a few headaches af­ter dis­cov­er­ing some ex­ten­sive metal­lic cor­ro­sion best de­scribed as crumbly and dusty. “Re­pairs to the cor­roded rear tub were un­ex­pected un­til we stripped all the car­pets out,” said John.

De­spite the body­work look­ing rea­son­ably okay, af­ter close in­spec­tion the doors had ac­tu­ally rot­ted at the edges, so a brand-new set were or­dered from Land Rover with new winders, seals and lock mech­a­nisms. As you’d ex­pect it took some pa­tience and plenty of hu­mour, nat­u­rally, to make sure the new doors ended up straight. “Get­ting the doors shut­ting right on a Sta­tion Wagon takes time. Build­ing up the doors once sprayed is also time-con­sum­ing and needs to be done by some­one ex­pe­ri­enced,” warned John, to add a se­ri­ous note.

Gumtree fit­ted a pair of re­con­di­tioned front and rear late­type disc-braked axles; a re­con power steer­ing box from Na­tional Power Steer­ing; new V8 clutch, front prop­shaft, hand­brake ca­ble and shoes, set of steer­ing track rod ball joints, steer­ing col­umn univer­sal joints and a re­con starter mo­tor. Added to the long list were new ra­di­a­tor, fuel tank (orig­i­nal was badly cor­roded and flaky), sender unit and pump. The fuel pipes were in a sorry state, too, but John couldn’t source new pipes for the V8 so the re­source­ful guys at Gumtree fab­ri­cated a beau­ti­ful new set of cop­per pipes that will prove far more sturdy.

Up­grad­ing and en­hanc­ing

Keep­ing the One Ten as close to its orig­i­nal state as pos­si­ble didn’t mean rul­ing out some sen­si­ble up­grades to im­prove

“The plan was to make the One Ten fit for an­other 20 years or so”

the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence fur­ther. So to that end, a set of new Land Rover stan­dard-height springs with Bil­stein front and rear shocks were fit­ted to im­prove the ride. It cer­tainly has, as a re­cent long haul cruise to Scot­land beau­ti­fully proved.

Al­though the owner was happy with the V8’s per­for­mance he wasn’t ad­verse to the idea of in­stalling a new We­ber 500 car­bu­ret­tor V8 con­ver­sion from Brit­part. He loves the sound of the V8, as we know, and, to im­prove mat­ters fur­ther, John sug­gested a stain­less steel sports ex­haust sys­tem with per­for­mance ex­haust man­i­folds as sup­plied by Dou­ble S Ex­hausts. It all purrs like a dream, plus the up­grades have boosted the V8’s ef­fi­ciency and power by around five to ten per cent, so well worth the ex­tra £600odd. The con­di­tion of the en­gine was im­pres­sive.

“It has ob­vi­ously been well looked af­ter and ser­viced reg­u­larly as the tap­pets were per­form­ing well and in good or­der,” ob­served John. It did, how­ever, get a steam clean and sand blast.

As for the ex­tra ex­te­rior en­hance­ments, as well as new doors, the One Ten is im­proved with a new stan­dard front bumper plus a set of steel mod­u­lar rims clad in 235/85 R16 Gen­eral Grab­ber AT2S. De­spite the fact that the orig­i­nal paint­work was acceptable, the owner went for a to­tal re­spray in Con­is­ton Green and Lime­stone White for the roof. The One Ten V8 orig­i­nally sported a sun hatch, stan­dard on a County Sta­tion Wagon. That was dis­pensed with, patched over and sealed while the head­lin­ing has been re­placed – with any luck keep­ing the wa­ter out. It did leak be­fore, as one would ex­pect...

Not to be ne­glected, the in­te­rior has been given a makeover with the orig­i­nal seats treated to a steam clean – they look smart, al­though there is a po­ten­tial plan to re­place them all

as the owner wants a match­ing set. At the time of the resto the grey saw­tooth check pat­tern was not avail­able and he didn’t just want to do the front pair. To go with the clean, fresh seats are an Ex­moor trim car­pet set and mats from Brit­part, plus a prac­ti­cal item – a use­ful Puma cen­tre odd­ments tray – a small nod to the mod­ern era. What may come as a sur­prise is that a real blast from the past has been re­tained in the form of the orig­i­nal, well-worn steer­ing wheel. Many would opt to re­place it with a smaller, seem­ingly more aes­thetic Momo, but the old wheel suits per­fectly.

In fact, the whole re­build suits it per­fectly and its owner is ex­tremely pleased with the re­sults. “The re­laxed driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, han­dling on the Scot­tish roads and mo­tor­way on a re­cent holiday was ex­cel­lent. The R380 gear­box and noise lev­els all con­trib­ute to help­ing it do what I wanted – I love the ex­haust note. It has a grin fac­tor miss­ing from the Puma and I wish I had taken it to Italy ear­lier in the sum­mer as I like driv­ing it so much!” So im­pressed is he that John and the team will be re­fur­bish­ing his ex-mil­i­tary Se­ries IIA 88in next.

Do you have what it takes to be fea­tured?

Sales of tra­di­tional Se­ries Land Rovers had dropped by around 20 per cent in the early 1980s, so the new One Tens in CSW spec with mod­ern en­gines, trans­mis­sions and in­te­ri­ors im­proved sales im­mea­sur­ably.

To­day they are still mak­ing their pres­ence felt, as more own­ers re­build and re­store them. There are around 130 One Ten V8 CSWS cur­rently taxed in the UK (with an­other 130plus SORN), and this Gumtree 4x4 re­build must be one of the best-look­ing. We would love to see any oth­ers that have been given the VIP treat­ment though, so get in touch at the usual ad­dress (email: pa­trick@lrm.co.uk).

The en­tire bulk­head was re­con­di­tioned by Gumtree

The orig­i­nal chas­sis was in a poor state and needed re­plac­ing

Bil­stein front and rear shocks im­prove the ride no end

Above: new sus­pen­sion tur­rets fit­ted.

Left: new fuel tank and sender unit

The orig­i­nal seats were treated to a steam clean and a new car­pet set and mats sourced A stain­less steel sports ex­haust sys­tem with per­for­mance man­i­folds No Momo here: just orig­i­nal­ity when it comes to the steer­ing wheel

A re­spray in Con­is­ton Green and Lime­stone White for the roof fin­ishes it off beau­ti­fully

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