AQA student Frazer Mcintyre’s coursework proves to be a sound investment, as Mark Saville discovers
£500 project Series II makes the grade
It’s almost four decades since I sat my A-level Art at Barnfield College School of Art, in Luton, long-before the idea of coursework forming an integral part of any final exam result – a very different time. Back then a ‘project’ was usually something that took half-a-dozen lessons to complete and was then stashed in a dusty cupboard or accidentally broken on the way home. Today, students like Frazer Mcintyre, from Horsham select their own subject for their AQA Extended Project Qualification. Being raised with Land Rovers in the family, and being a bright chap, it doesn’t take him long to decide what his project was going to be. After convincing his teachers that he was up to the challenge, he hopped onto ebay and splashed the cash.
Before you get down and dirty with the oily struggle, you need to understand that the AQA Project isn’t the rebuilding of a Land Rover – it’s the accurate recording and description of the process to create a detailed manuscript or log of the whole enterprise. The finished rebuild is merely a by-product of the project.
Frazer was just 16 when he began his first fullon restoration. Fortunately, dad Mark has quite a track record of Land Rover ownership – at one point he had 12. Owning this many Land Rovers inevitably generates considerable opportunities for mechanical training and workshop skill gains for both sons – Frazer and Ewan. So, with his dad’s support and encouragement, Frazer found the ideal AQA project vehicle online and bid up to his maximum budget of £700.
Unfortunately, he was outbid; someone else apparently wanted the 1960 Series II truck cab just that little bit more. Happily for Frazer, this bidder backed out so Frazer offered the seller £500, which was accepted.
A short trip to the outskirts of Brighton with dad and his transporter trailer resulted in the venerable old lady being retrieved from a hedge next to the Brighton-london railway line, courtesy of a fork-lift truck, and brought back to the family workshop-cum-garage at Horsham.
Frazer got more than he bargained for. ‘The top of the bulkhead was eaten away. The chassis was wrecked, and the whole back was shot,’ he says. ‘So I bought a replacement chassis. The seller thought it had been made wonky, but when we got it home and checked it out on the ground we discovered it was just fine.
Many years ago, someone had fitted a straightsix petrol engine into the SII. At some point, the cylinder block cracked which is probably why the Land Rover had been parked-up for years.
Stripping down the SII was easy, according to Frazer: ‘None of the bolts came off so they got cut off with angle grinder. There was lots of mastic holding bits together, too. It had been used as a garage recovery vehicle so the rear tub was beaten-up and needed replacing.’
The seat-box ends also needed to be replaced so panels were made up and pop-riveted in place. The bulkhead was a bigger issue. They considered fixing it themselves but it fell apart.
Once again, fortune favoured the brave – a chap they knew at local firm, BPH Plant Hire, was restoring a bulkhead for his own Land Rover but changed his mind and bought a new replacement. He sold Frazer his part-restored bulkhead for a bargain price; he’s the same bloke who sold him the chassis.
Once they’d sanded down the replacement bulkhead down it needed a couple of little patches and the passenger-side door post to finish it off. With the bulkhead back on but not tight, they made sure all the panels lined up. ‘We had to remake the lip on the bulkhead that carries the windscreen seal, too,’ recalls Frazer.
Now they had the doors in situ they found the tub was in the wrong place. ‘The passengerside bulkhead outrigger had been put on in the wrong place, so we had to move that. We measured from the front of the chassis to get an accurate position,’ explains Mark.
One of the hardest jobs Frazer wrestled with was rebuilding the front axle; he needed three goes at it to get everything correctly in place. He replaced bearings and seals and found good secondhand freewheeling hubs to replace the worn-out AVM pair. Both axles are suspended on new parabolic springs from Britpart and the brakes were thoroughly overhauled, too.
The six-cylinder the SII came with was toast, thanks to the cracked block. These engines are as rare as hen’s teeth so an alternative had to be found. Fitting a Tdi wasn’t an option with Frazer’s limited budget. Petrol engines are more expensive to run, so a 2.25 diesel at £50 from ebay was the perfect solution.
The engine was pale blue which suggests it might have been a military recon. ‘It had a little bit of a smoking issue when we eventually started it up,’ says Mark, ‘but we fixed it after a visit to Brighton Autodiesel Marine. They told us you can fit a little advance plug on the side of the pump to compensate for worn gears in the pump. You take out the original plug and fit one with a little pin on it that advances the timing a touch. The acrid smoke stopped straight away.’
Once they got the engine running they realised that whoever fitted the six-cylinder engine had also changed the gearbox bellhousing, so they couldn’t fit the gearbox onto the 2.25 diesel. ‘We had to find the right bell-housing and then we found the input shaft needed changing because it was a different size, too. We then changed most of the internals too, including the because although they looked the same as a standard ‘box, they were different sizes. It was a nightmare we didn’t need,’ says Mark.
Eventually, Frazer and Mark overcame all the difficulties and Frazer got his AQA Extended Project in on time and passed with flying colours. The time limit set for the whole exercise is a single academic year – so from late September to the end of July the following year. Dad Mark took a few days off work to help Frazer finish it well before the qualification deadline.
Frazer reckons he spent about £3000 for everything, including buying the Land Rover. Time and money very well spent.
After all the hard work, Frazer can at last rest on his laurels. Unfortunately, he still can’t afford to insure the 2.25 diesel, but he’s close TECH SPEC ● Model: 1960 Series II 88in Truck Cab with ¾ tilt ● Engine: 2.25-litre 4cyl diesel ● Power:...
Hidden identity It was only when Frazer began the long job of rubbing down the old paintwork that it became clear why there was a 20-year gap between date of manufacture, 1960, and the date of first registration, 1980. The military insignia on both...
Frazer enjoying the freedom of the ‘open field’. The ‘open road’ will have to wait for cheaper insurance