Bidding just ended. Don't know if anyone is interested in reading, but here's the text before the listing is deleted:
Sub title: A Perkins powered Series III 88" RHD Mailbox
Mileage: 16,499 miles
Location: Wilmington, DE
NEVER CROSSED THE SAHARA, BUT HAS RESCUED THOMAS THE TANK WHEN HE’S GONE OFF THE TRACKS AND PRESUMABLY OFF THE WAGON. Sometimes, you just step in the right pile. And it all makes perfect sense. How did I fall for the iconic utility of this truck? Growing up, I was always greasy mending a variety of quirky rides. Fussy two-seater British cars, cobby CJs and Scouts. Underpowered fresh-air forty Vdub buses. Limited-use fun that occasionally ran off with my wallet for the love of open-air motoring or four-wheel bogging. But the vintage Land Rover is different. All inclusive. A combination of all past pursuits, but better. How can this be? These old rides are all made of the same metals and spare economic thinking. They’ll crush down to similar cubed weights and recycled scrap value. As odd as it appears, ducking clenched tribal fists, its basic engineering behaves seemingly more refined than an early army or CJ Jeep. As a convertible, it has every basic charm desired on topless summer evenings that most roadsters deliver for quadruple the investment. Rugged, squared off and simple in its Marine Blue and cream, I swear underneath it has a plate stamped Matchbox® or Dinky® with a commensurate price tag. Of any ride to pass through my garage, this is the first one I don’t even care to keep fluffed and buffed. My young nieces and nephews have a free pass to climb in and out, up and down for hours, perplexed by the right-hand hoop. They try to hotwire it with a popsicle stick so they can get it back to Sir Topham Hat asap to pull Thomas the Tank Engine out of the local watering hole after pissing and steaming all day. Rover and Perkins rob banks with Bertie, Trevor, Harold and Bulgy they argue. Cheaper than a humdrum redwood jungle gym full of tires and ropes in a schoolyard or city park, the Land Rover can actually go somewhere under the toyish racket of the Perkins. Mostly to the custard stand, a local hayride to get enough uneaten melting swirl to primer the bed again. Hosing out the back before the dog licks through the paint, my oldest nephew reminds me “Once you go clickety-clack, you never go back.” The kids swear the chattering engine talks and runs on French fries as they dance in the temporal puff of blue smoke when started cold. They want to drop out of kindergarten, drive around town and start delivering mail. USPS is hiring young, ambitious independents with a good, new attitude. And a driver’s license not forged on a paper plate. • CRUNCHES GRANOLA, DIRTY FOOTED, CLEANS UP WELL, LOVES TO DO YOUR CHORES. This diesel truck will go for long drives on the beach and let you take her trout fishing in the mountains without any complaint if you want. It’s a versatile dream date. While I appreciate the peace prizes Land Rover earned rescuing the third world, this truck can only wish to escape to the Sahara or primitive destinations found in National Geographic. My girlfriend has it on a localized short leash, rolling into weekend farmer’s markets, bartering exotic greens out the back for garden swaps. As reliable as a plow horse without devouring bales of emergency funds, the truck asks for nothing. Just something to do. I have a small piece of land that constantly grows chores. Pulling stumps. Yard cleanup. Hauling firewood. The compact 88-inch footprint, nimble steering and versatile power make for the perfect mule. Or border collie. • SO GOOD, I THINK I’LL HAVE ANOTHER. And now I have two vintage Land Rovers. Let me explain as I open up a bottle of aspirin. Hop fueled, late night horse-trading among cash-strapped friends over the survival merits of high volumes of low technology found me waking up with a 109 Series IIA in my front yard, parked on a clean title and an I.O.U. Marine blue. White cap. Cream wheels. So similar, yet completely different personalities. Rubbing my eyes, one has got to go before they start inbreeding like sheep. While I’ll never don Wellies or wear a tweed jacket with matching cap and elbow patches, I am scheming a plow and bush-hog for the 109 from the next Matchbox® accessory catalog. Gentleman farming, not quite. The 109 just hauls more homebrew when the chores are done. • ITS MOTHER WAS A TRACTOR THAT WORE ARMY BOOTS. I sold my Kubota to get this truck. What an upgrade. The dead simple four-cylinder Perkins swap is period to the truck. The conversion was done in the UK and is as clean and competent as Vo-Tech 101. It is an eighties/nineties style mill, also used to power boats and farm tractors the world over, bolted to the stock trans and drivetrain without much modification. This non-turbo Perkins is a compatible match to the existing gear ratios. It also feels equal to the modest horsepower available in the anemic gas engine, but with gobs more torque when needed. While the diesel rev range is shorter compared to the gas engine, it produces plenty of low and mid-range power as expected. It loses a little oomph in fourth gear as a hill approaches, though. Heading up to 45/50 mph tops, most of the work is done in third gear. First gear will pull your mother-in-law’s house further away into the next county. Second is the most frequent place to start. As with the gas engines, a Fairey or Roverdrive would be necessary for deliberate highway use. For trundling into town, exploring back roads or mischievously combing country club sandpits for stray golf balls, it’s perfect. As needed, the Perkins spares are plentiful and readily available here in the US. The motor is tight. No leaky injectors. A proper racket. There is really not much to do except change the oil when you want to show your affection. The NAPA spin on filter conversion keeps you from taking an oil bath, too. • THE TRUTH HAS A WAY OF LEAKING OUT. Without over-mentioning it, this truck is solid-state. Analog tube-type. No motherboard. It is one of many Series Rovers out in circulation in mixed condition without known mileage, courtesy of Jaeger, but can be easily wear-dated by knowing what’s been done and knowledgeably guessing what might be on deck or in the bullpen. This slimy limey is mechanically solid and more confidence inspiring than your average hobbyhorse. While the transmission isn’t packed with sawdust and the rear isn’t stuffed with banana peels, it is guilty of a recent repaint, new tires, seats and mats, fresh lenses and aluminum side curtains. The truck is well presented but has the patina of a pre-washed pair of Levis with reinforced rivets. It has a new starter and recent battery. With solid compression, it fires right up smooth. The drivetrain does its job without any noise, slop or complaining. There is no overdrive, but the transmission is syncro without wining or grinding. It snicks into gear every time. The clutch is strong, precise. The transfer box falls into position as did new. The front hubs spin freely and lock. Now let’s jump inside… While the speedo is bouncy and untrustworthy, all the other gauges, switches, wipers, horn, fan, warning lights and electrics work as expected, and the Perkins actually provides some decent heat for the cabin despite the lack of insulation. The steering is tight and can track a straight line without getting sloppy, but underway, the 88-inch wheelbase demands attention. Now jump back outside and underneath… the underside is typical greasy, grimy and weepy in all the right spots for a slimy limey whose gaskets are supple enough to seal most of the fluids in. No excessive puddles, but surely some drips. The frame is solid without any rot or accident damage. There is a pair of sill straps that could use reattachment from the frame to the wings. The suspension is solid and predictable. The brakes will stop on a dime. This truck is a beast. But don’t put away your spanners so quickly, as the British perfected patented imperfection. Surely something needs attention. Maybe it’s only an empty pint glass. • HICKEYS, WARTS, QUIRKS AND BUMPS. What needs to be tended to? Not much, really. If you were blindfolded, the truck would feel and function as expected. Open-eyed, most of its character flaws in appearance reflect honest use, not neglect. There’s a stone chip in driver side glass. A repairable crack in the exhaust downpipe. Some experimental skimcoat on the rear driver side wing is starting to crack off due to the Perkins determination to stress test any item not welded on. Occasionally, I replace a few nuts, bolts and split pins that wiggle off in protest. The hardtop, which spends most time under a tarp, has a few dings and a pair of small holes from a previous rack. Solid, secure, it is shelter from a storm. The windows slide freely in the slightly mossy, original channels. Under the bonnet, fresh radiator hoses and another seasonal fluid change are in order. There is an old-school adjustable hitch on the back and recovery pins on the front bumper to keep from sliding into trouble. No professional grade accessories or radio. The Perkins qualifies as both. • CUTTING TO THE CHASE. The truck comes with a clean title, VIN LBAAG1AA127247, a pair of rear lamp guards, a new folding bench seat and tailgate for when the tin top comes off in time for the next blizzard or summer breeze. This time of year, the truck toboggans through Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” as the low-horse open sleigh. A case of your favorite English ale is included, too. Served slightly warm, with a spare smashed bloody good over the front bumper and a deserved toast. You never really own these things, they seem to just get shared among friends. It is always thrilling to catch, and sad to release. For more perspective, should you want to spend quite a few quid, chase a splendid restoration. Buy one done or enjoy the soulcraft of turning wrenches over bloody knuckles and a large checkbook. The aesthetic is different, but the ignition key turns practically the same. There’s plenty of contemporary rock crawling appliances available too, if the slick rock of Moab keeps you up at night. This truck hardly deserves a restoration or a trophy. In closing, it seems to be a solid hobbyhorse that never was sacrificed in the Darien Gap or tricked out for the Sahara. It is just a modest piece of farm equipment from a time where less was more. Simple as a sludgetrap. This truck asks for nothing. No babying. No chamois diaper wipes. Park it between the lawnmower, bicycles and power washer. Change the oil once in a while. Crawl around underneath and let me know if it says made by Lesney. Somewhere, I swear it does. • PICKUP. Within one hour of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania recommended or will deliver within a day’s drive for a tank of fuel and a trailer rental, worth barely a hundred quid. Cash or certified check preferred, due upon actual delivery and inspection, simply swapped for clear title and truck. Wire transfer easier, exchanged for overnight delivery of title with pickup or delivery at your convenience. Trusted eBay seller with excellent rating and offbeat humor. Truck is currently sipping hot Castrol tea over biscuits when not driving down the wrong side of the road. Contact me with any questions, anytime.
On Dec-07-09 at 16:35:28 PST, seller added the following information:
If I may, I have to throw an oily red shop flag on bidders with zero ratings, indicating no sales or purchases to date. Please contact me first before bidding and let's chat any intentions, otherwise I have to retract the bid. I certainly welcome their participation and interest. In my experience, a high bid made by a zero bidder looks like a planted fakey and discourages further bidding by members who are maintaining their status in the eBay community with established history. Thanks for understanding.
On Dec-07-09 at 19:35:27 PST, seller added the following information:
GOOD MORNING, A FEW MORE QUESTIONS: Frame and Firewall condition? Does the Perkins have glow plugs? Is the cabin waterproof, after a rain storm is it dry inside? Condition of the Perkins, blow much smoke... use much oil? Condition of frame around motor mount... that may have been welded in or cut out ? Is it possible to talk to you about this Rover? ALL GOOD QUESTIONS, thanks for asking. The FRAME AND FIREWALL, the vulnerable steel achilles in these trucks, are solid in this Series III, without showing any sign of weakness, repair or damage. It always seems that these two areas are a fair reflection on the vehicle's current health and past life overall. The bulkhead is solid at the windscreen, the door attach points and at the bottom. There is some minor blistering in the seam and paint at the bottom, but no cancer. I poked this truck to death with the largest screwdriver available and it sank in nowhere. The frame is strong, too, without a sign of motor mount relocation, if it was even necessary. If so, the work appears professionally done by the same blacksmith that constructed the frame at the factory on his day job. No hack here. The PERKINS HAS HEALTHY GLOWPLUGS, which will light the engine up after turning the ignition key halfway for five to ten seconds. It will smoke for the first few minutes in the morning till warmed. No smoke on restarts, though. Ask any diesel mechanic, the puff is the Perkins signature, the signal you are ready to motor. This truck is used so little on a regular basis, but when nothing else will do, that it does not appear to guzzle Castrol in pints. The CABIN IS WATER-RESISTANT. Like the first Timex scuba watches, at certain depths, the cabin will leak. Though the doors shut solid and the windows slide shut, the cabin has a mile of ill-fitting, stamped and hammered joints from top to floor. Parked in light rains, it will remain dry, while the floor will go wet jumping in and out of inclement weather or in heavy downpours. Courtesy of cutting-edge, miraculous engineering however, the water that gets in and the ales that get spilled, always leak out, hardly collecting. God thank the Queen for aluminum bodies not cloaked in shag carpet. OVERALL, this truck is so neolithic that if it had arms and legs, it's knuckles would drag. That's why I can relate to it. It is made of less than a hundred identifiable pieces held together by nuts and bolts whose purpose you can understand immediately.
On Dec-13-09 at 15:07:04 PST, seller added the following information:
WHAT’S IT LIKE. IS IT A GOER? Rural garden tool? Rustic work truck? Unpolished escape hatch from the real world? The vintage Land Rover, artfully clad in it's riveted tin, is a simple and unpretentious artifact of functional design with an agri-industrial personality that makes for a very basic driving experience. It performs the simple task of getting from here to there. It is a focused reminder that uncomplication can hotwire our soul back together at some primitive, less is more level. All this rough-hewn utility is slow-food and oxygenated cardio for the adventurous soul, even if only on a simple errand or aimless wander. You feel exactly where rubber meets the road. This is to the 4x4 world what fixed gear is to bicycling and bow and arrow is to hunting. From an era before 4X4 was marketed as power-assisted, leather-clad, high-dollar luxury, these little trucks are as satisfying as ten holes just dug with a spade shovel under a sweaty brow. It is sheer fun getting to know it's quirks and character on any landscape. It’s only desire is to tiptoe to the edge of town just to eat dirt.
On Dec-13-09 at 15:10:50 PST, seller added the following information:
OF ODDS. A soggy thanks to all the folks that came out to visit the Landy up close in the rain this week and to everyone with the perfect questions and good chatter about these Neanderthals. It was as if I was hosting a rally in muck boots for a week and the taps never ran dry. Find a vintage Land Rover in a parking lot or driveway and you’ll find attached the most original, self-reliant, cock-eyed individuals who’s lives are not cookie cutting. Great stories of inspiring individualism. The personalities are larger than a autojumble of derelict, milk-crated, used-up parts heading to a Chinese smelter. These trucks still travel. But it’s not the truck, it’s what is done with them, where people go. Physically and spiritually. Me, I’m making my 109 haul the new yurt out west far enough where the skies are still Kodachrome blue and the drifts tower the pines. Just because. AND SODS. We are in the final day of the auction and I am committed to letting it run its course despite some honorable Buy it Now offers that would throw an emergency brake on the whole affair. And there is a handful of curious first-time buyers who are inspired enough to want in. We are so close to the Reserve that I’m dropping it a shim so that someone leaves this party driving down the wrong side of the road. It seems, with a steady flow of very tired Series Rovers on the market in the five grand and under territory, and those ten and up trucks reaching into collector obsession wallets, this truck is RESERVED right in between where it should be, slightly more or less. Every one of us is broke at a different level and none of this would I consider chump change, but you typically get what you pay for. I prefer affordable rides, not perfect garage queens or catastrophic Titantics on their way down. I expect a few bugs to mind or mend, but don't want to undertake a restoration. Minding maintenance or preventive, functional rebuilding as needed is much more fun. Some classics need more therapy than I do once we finally understand one another and decide to painfully part. Sorry for the backstory, but that's where I think this truck lands on the market value scale. I have more than my RESERVE tied up in it, but making money is not why I chase romance. That must be why I have two in my driveway at the moment... My advice is to observe the market values but only offer and pay for what the experience is worth to you. I trust that everyone's aim is true and bids are deliberately thrown, so please jump in if inspired anytime. As bidders wait to show their hands, most of the bidding activity goes down within the last few minutes of the auction, but most of the bids are placed hours before. eBay has a fantastic automatic bidding process that will only spend as much as it takes to come out on top, never more than you have to. Food comes first. Heat second. All other purchases are discretionary entertainment. I always end up buying a few presents for myself this time of year while browsing for others. Why not? Life is short and I've yet to see an armored car at a funeral yet. Cheers. Let the arm-wrestling begin. PS: Werner Herzog has a rogue film school with a dossier that sounds as much like like a Landy as it’s enabled owners. “What will be taught? Practical subjects, like the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of ducking being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The forging of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self-reliance. And censorship will be enforced. There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your boundaries and inner growth. Just follow a vision. Form secretive rogue cells everywhere. At the same time, be not afraid of solitude.” The Rover is a great way to get there. Let me finish with one of my favorite ad headlines from an ad years ago, “You can drive it like it was your brother-in-law’s.”
Q: Outstanding text! Thank you. 10-Dec-09
A: Though we are a monosyllabic mumbling, knuckle-dragging, hairy-chested bunch with dirt and grease under our nails, this is only a test to prove to the rest of civilization that Rovers do know how to read. If this is worthwhile, could be debated.
Q: No questions. Just a thank you for the best writing I've seen in a long time ;-) 07-Dec-09
A: If you can forgive the hacked spelling and grammar for a moment to hold the essay up to a mirror you'll find I've only transcribed the first chapter of the Series III Owner's Manual in reverse.
Q: Greetings! You must have bought this Landy from Wallace and Grommitt. Seriously, you should submit your fashionably eloquent description to Overland Journal. And, I hope you're not letting the lovely lass go with the sale. Ostensibly, you must reconsider this sale and continue writing... Going forward with the stodgy little thumping Perkins through chapters of exquisite meanderings and Anglophile tribulations... 07-Dec-09
A: Feeling a bit peckish, I'll consider your dare over tomorrow's map, whittling some Wensleydale. To your favor is a petition against the sale from the first graders to press Perkins on into school bus duty through winter's looming rain, snow and misery. Against the fun are petitioning parents who despise crawling behind Perkins through the morning dropoff cul-de-sac traffic jam of blue puffs and click-clackety racket. This Landy appeals only to our raw inner child who has no interest in headrest mounted DVD-vision but revels in the sheer delight of hanging out a chattering sliding window. Cheers.
Q: Is the truck leagal to drive in the States? Do you have a buy now price? I live in Baltimore and would pick up? Thank you 06-Dec-09
A: Good morning. All good questions. Thanks for asking. Yes, the truck is legal with a proper title. Submit the signed over title to your DMV and register as you would any other vehicle. There is no buy it now price, just a modest reserve, so I am commtted to running the auction out in fairness to all since bidding has commenced. Not expecting to recapture my investment in the truck or retire to Cabo for the winter, these type of things are curiosities that still seem worth more than they cost. Oh, Baltimore, only an hour away. I can float it downstream on a bamboo barge if desired, too. Close enough for a convenient handoff any which way. Whatever works for you.
Q: For reasons unknown (well maybe winter trips to school in the Mog topless had an impact), my son is rather taken by these beasts. Per chance does the tin top come off, at least the rear section, without too much trouble? 05-Dec-09
A: The spirit of the Mog is alive in a junior package with these Series Rovers, with a few less bolts. The entire top unfastens quicker than you can put your ski goggles on. While feather light, removal is made easier with another steady hand due to it's cumbersome size. The real fun is setting off with the windscreen folded down onto the hood mounted spare tire. You decide whether the tears are from laughter or full frontal wind chill factors. Imagine yellow tinted ski goggles as standard winter equipment. It appears your off to rob the custard stand.
Q: I love the description so much that I need to go back. Perfect to go along with Monty Python's favorite beer, warm Lucas 04-Dec-09
A: It is a goer. Yes it is. You need to know what's it like. Before it expires. Deceases. Goes, goes real gone. Thanks dear chap.