1971 Land Rover Series IIA
Photography by Cool&Vintage
Written by Andrew Golseth
1971 Land Rover Series IIA
- Location: Lisbon, Portugal
- Chassis: 27501850G
- Engine: 2,285 cc four-cylinder
- Transmission: Four-speed manual
- Mileage: Unknown
- Color: Special order nonmetallic orange / black vinyl
A British Motoring Icon
After WWII the small British carmaker, the Rover Company, was in a tough spot. Due to rationed materials, Rover was unable to continue its prewar luxury automobile production. What to do with limited resources and a starving company? Rover chief designer Maurice Wilks got his hands on a military surplus Willys Jeep to help around the family farm. When his brother Spencer dropped by one day, the Wilks boys took notice of the brilliant Jeep but thought they could do better.
Their first prototype was built on a Willys Jeep frame but featured a simply shaped hand formed body made from an aluminum and magnesium mixture called Birmabright. The engine and transmission were sourced from an older Rover P3 sedan and the steering assembly was center mounted in the cab. Leftover military foliage paint was cheap and plentiful, so the first prototypes were naturally painted nonmetallic olive drab.
Rover began testing the Wilks’ “homemade” farm truck and, after some ironing out by an engineering team headed by Arthur Goddard, Rover thought the rugged 4×4 concept could earn some much needed cash flow and ended up becoming one of the greatest all purpose vehicles of all time.
After thorough testing, the center drive setup was ditched for a more conventional right or left side steering position. For the first production model, the body was further minimalized for ease of construction, a larger engine was produced, an updated transmission was mated, and the four-wheel drivetrain system was improved. The end result was a wider, shorter, lighter, and faster take on the Willys Jeep. Thanks to its clever galvanized steel four-sided box-frame, the Land Rover Series I proved to be even more robust than its American inspiration.
The Series II successor hit the market in 1958 and featured a number of mechanical and aesthetic improvements over the original Land Rover. Namely, the body gained a “barrel side” shoulder line to accommodate the widened track—a trait that carried over into the Series III and Defender models. The Series II also gained the larger 2.25-liter engine that carried into production well into the 1980s.
It’s a shape recognized around the world. It’s a mold so simple a 5-year-old with a Crayon could effortlessly recreate it on paper. Yet, its simplicity is a reflection of the fundamental foundation it was build upon: functionality. It is pure. It is minimal. But above all else, it is purposeful. These traits make it attractive in a timeless manner. Not in the Pininfarina curvaceous form, but through honesty. The Land Rover Series is not trying to be more than what it is. In fact, it could be argued that no other vehicle’s performance has ever been so accurately exercised in its aesthetics.
This 1971 Land Rover Series IIA was purchased new by a road repair company and was special ordered in the construction orange hue it currently wears. Sold new in Portugal, the Rover was kept in roadside service for decades until being auctioned in 2012. The high-bidder, a German gentleman, took the tired 4×4 home to Deutschland and executed a complete ground-up, frame-off restoration.
The unique pumpkin paint was reapplied to the original and straight aluminum panels—no rust to worry about. Later Defender model door hinges, box mirrors, custom black mohair folding top, and black Defender wheels wrapped in Mud Terrain BF Goodrich were installed for tougher looks and additional grip. All rubber seals were replaced and the lighting equipment is in good working order.
Inside, the minimalistic cabin was upgraded with black vinyl seat covers while the original switchgear, trim, steering wheel, and levers were refinished in black. The original gauges are functioning properly and in excellent condition. The floor is bare with no carpeting and wears matching orange paint that, aside from a few scratches in the rear cargo are, appears spotless. A useful USB port was added for phone charging.
The original inline-four cylinder and four-speed manual transmission were rebuilt in 2012. The legendary 2.25-liter engine is said to start without issue, idle smoothly, and run strong while the gearbox shifts without grinds or pop-out synchro issues. The undercarriage speaks for itself—every drivetrain and suspension component has been cleaned, replaced or refinished, and painted black.
- Original aluminum body panels refinished in special order orange paint
- Original glass, bumpers, lighting equipment, and trim in excellent condition
- Defender door hinges, mirrors, and wheels wrapped in modern mud terrain tires
- Some small panel alignment issues
- Purists may prefer the original mirrors, hinges, and wheels
- USB port added for phone charging
- Front and rear bench seats reupholstered in black vinyl
- Original steering wheel, switchgear, and instrumentation are clean and functioning
- Some scratches in rear cargo area from typical use
- Refreshed suspension and brakes
- No leaks, odd noises, or electrical issues to note
- Rebuilt original 2.25-liter inline-four and four-speed manual transmission
The seller believes this two owner IIA retains most of its original aluminum body panels and glass, except for the doors and tailgate. The lighting equipment, trim, bumpers, and grille are very clean. The truck was completely overhauled in 2012 and wears a fresh coat of the special factory ordered construction color. Aside from the reupholstered vinyl seats, the interior presents in like-new condition with contrasting black switchgear, levers, instrument panel, and steering wheel with original gauges that work properly. The previous owner installed Defender door hinges, side view mirrors, and wheels. Although not in exact factory specifications, the black Defender rollers are wrapped in larger-than-stock Mud Terrain BF Goodrich tires and complement the overall rugged look nicely—note the hood mounted matching spare. The powertrain and drivetrain have been completely rebuilt and are turnkey ready.
Documentation and some invoices of the restoration are available and will accompany the sale.
1971 – 2012 | Road repair/maintenance company | Portugal
2012 – 2016 | Restored/used by Boris Wichrowski | Germany
You can see the Land Rover in action below, this could be you!
Tastefully Modded: Cool&Vintage rebuild cars with a specific vision for each project, and this Land Rover does not disappoint. While this isn’t the right example for purists we think its current presentation is a tasteful blend of originality and light modification giving the car an even more rugged look (you can also charge your phone!).
Rugged: The Series Land Rover was built to take on any climate, over any terrain, with operation so basic, anyone could drive it, and none of the alterations made to this IIA diminish its original mission capabilities. If you’re in the market for a squared away classic 4×4, this citrus Brit looks like a fun Landy with great style, an affordable entry cost, and worry free mechanicals.
“You can go fast, I can go anywhere”
Value & Price: For a resto-semi-modded example this is great value for money and as the Cool&Vintage brand starts building the prestige of other custom restorers they will certainly increase in value.
MEET THE SELLER
This car is for sale by Francisca Freitas of Cool&Vintage based in Lisbon, Portugal.
Interested or want to learn more? Click the button below to submit an offer or contact the seller directly.