Stu­dent restora­tion

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.

Trailer trash

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.

Strip show

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.

Smok­ing ban

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.

Qual­i­fied suc­cess

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

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