The Engine bay of the MGBGTV8. It is a very neat installation, and no, there is no bulge of any sort in the V8 bonnet. It is standard. The carbs are arranged so as to avoid the need for one as can be seen.
After a succession of Range Rovers, the first real project vehicle to arrive, then, was this SIIB Forward Control which had been grazing in the Black Mountains of Mid Wales since it had been sold by the GPO in 1988. It had originally been supplied to the GPO when new, in 1968, as a chassis cab. and I believe probably had been fitted with some cable equipment, before having a Luton body fitted later, probably in the 1970's. It was fitted out as a workshop / mobile exchange, and observation platform, with Mains electrics, gas, cooker, sink etc. and generator in the back. It had been fitted since sale, with a Perkins 4236 engine, but the original One Ton gearbox was still in situ. giving it a top speed of 34mph. I had to drive it back to Cardiff at 34! All is now changed as we shall see. It was converted into a "luxury" camper, but after being destroyed by fire in 1999, has been radically rebuilt. This is when the project bug really started to bite.
Test driving during reconstruction in 2000.
In 2000, thoughts were turning to something a bit comfortable, to supplement our regular family Range Rover, which the wife always drove, and I was tempted by a TACR2A. The temptation was due to the TACR2A being basically a standard four door Range Rover inside, but with rugged military looks outside. I had seen one advertised in LRO Magazine, at John Craddock's, and went up to see it. This one is one of only two which are known to have been turned out in green and black cam. It is quite a rare one then. It supposedly had a broken gearbox, and so I had a good deal which included delivery. The broken gearbox turned out to be a broken clutch friction plate. The idea was that this vehicle would be converted into an estate car by the removal of the internal equipment and fitting out the inside. This was achieved, such that externally, looks are the same, but internally is a comfy family car.
Just before finishing the exterior detailing.
Just before this, my friend had generated an interest in Lightweights, and this too, rubbed off on me. I saw in the Freeads, an ad for a Lightweight, but this was totally stripped into kit form. I went to see it and sure enough, it was literally in boxes and plastic bins in a garage. The chassis had been rebuilt, strengthened and galvanised, and the other steel bits shot blasted. The chassis looked a good job, and the other bits looked sound. I took a chance. The bits alone, together with two of some things and a Sherpa Diesel engine were worth the outlay. This pile ended up as another pile in my garage and outside, for three years before I put it together.
As I said, we had had a succession of "normal" Range Rovers all this time, and had a particularly nice 3.9 SE This was a '92 model and as such, the last of the non CAT 3.9's. It was a brilliant motor, until the wife wrapped it around a tree, sideways. She was lucky to get out of it, as the footwell was completely closed up. The A post had collapsed the bulkhead and had ended up by the side of the gearbox, with the driver's door wrapped around the seat. How she got her legs out, we will never know.
This was replaced by a lovely looking soft dash LSE, also in Plymouth Blue. It was immaculate inside and out, but it turned out to have a completely knackered bulkhead. Full of rust and big holes. I sold it to a bloke from London in a backwards part ex for an earlier LSE. I was never quite happy with this one though. I changed the engine for the 3.9 from the crashed one which I bought back from the insurers. This was because the 4.2 was blowing steam out, and despite reworking the heads, could not get rid of a chronic misfire. (This turned out eventually to be Lucas ultrasonic injector cleaning, which had actually bunged two of them up rather than cleaning them, but I didn't find this out until the engine went into the Lightweight for evaluation.) Anyhow, with the 3.9 installed, I sold her to a friend who has been happy ever since, as it really was a good vehicle.
I thought I was rid of one for good, the wife now having something else to drive, until I chanced upon another LSE for sale by Rimmer Bros. in Lincoln. This was an Autobiography, '93 model but registered '94 M, with Brooklands Kit, in Flame Red, by Special Vehicles, and with red and black leather inside throughout. This is a gorgeous Range Rover, and I am very happy with it.
There then are the four of my Land Rover toys, some more detailed descriptions of which will follow in the relevant sections. Together with the MG, which has subsequently taken over most of this site, (!) I now somehow feel that I have all I want, and do not hanker after any others, thankfully! Hopefully this state of affairs will last me out!
Err, no it wasn't to be. I now also have an MG TD which is a project that needs finishing and I am fostering an interest in pre war stuff. Here we go again.. another chapter for the future.