Series III Lightweight - Restored - Defender Source
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Old January 23rd, 2014, 01:26 PM
jac04's Avatar
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Location: CT
Posts: 112
Series III Lightweight - Restored

I have officially decided to sell my restored Lightweight. A while back, I listed it on the RN forums as 'available', but I wasn't really trying to sell it. Well, I've now made the decision to try to find it a new home. I recently finished the restoration of my 1968 Camaro convertible, and I have come to the realization that this vehicle will be getting very little use. It spends most of its time tucked away in a corner of the garage.

This particular vehicle is a LHD version with 12 volt electrical system. This is a military vehicle that was developed by Land Rover in conjunction with the British Fighting Vehicles Research & Development Establishment. It fulfilled the requirement of an air portable vehicle with a 1/2 ton payload capacity. The body panels are easily detachable to reduce weight, allowing the vehicle to be lifted by helicopter utilizing the lifting rings located on the front & rear of the chassis.

I have restored/refurbished several Series Land Rovers over the past 25 years and this vehicle is my favorite restoration project. It drives beautifully and cruises well on the highway due to the fresh Turner engine and Roverdrive overdrive. The Michelin XZL tires are actually very quiet, ride nice, and wear like iron. Range is excellent due to the twin fuel tanks. Braking is superb, as this vehicle is fitted with the late style larger brakes. Shifting is smooth & easy with the full-synchro gearbox, and the factory inertia seat belts are about as safe as you can get in an old stock Series soft-top Land Rover.

Asking price is $35,000.

I realize that this is an expensive vehicle, but you simply could not build this same vehicle to the same quality level for anywhere near what I am willing to sell it for. I have $35k invested in the vehicle & parts alone and approximately 1000 hours invested in labor. From what I understand, Marsland no longer makes galvanized chassis for the Lightweight, so this vehicle would be almost impossible to duplicate due to the chassis alone (not taking into account all the other rare parts that I was able to source for the restoration).

Serious buyers can PM me to arrange for inspection of the vehicle or discuss price. I am in East Granby, CT, near Bradley Int'l Airport in Windsor Locks, CT (BDL), and I can meet & pick up anyone at the airport.

More detailed info:
I spent 18 months from October 2008 to April 2010 completely rebuilding this vehicle on a brand new Marsland galvanized chassis. I have well over 1000 hours into this vehicle, and it is evident in the level of detail of the rebuild. This vehicle has received multiply trophies, including 1st Place in its class at the British By The Sea car show (Waterford, CT) and Best Military Vehicle at the Simsbury Fly-In (Simsbury, CT). Since the restoration, I have driven the vehicle approximately 4000 miles, so you can be assured that everything is fully sorted and it is ready for the new owner to enjoy.

During the rebuild, every component of this vehicle was stripped down, inspected, and rebuilt/replaced as necessary. All re-used parts were sandblasted to bare metal, prepped, primed & painted. Genuine Land Rover parts were used almost exclusively during the restoration whenever possible. Where aftermarket parts were used, the best available parts were chosen (such as: Marsland chassis, Turner Engineering High Performance long block, Old Man Emu shocks, heavy-duty U-Bolts from Rocky Mountain, Rovers North parabolic springs, NRP stainless steel exhaust, Badger Coachworks door tops, Exmoor Trim canvas top, etc).

The exterior of the body was stripped down to the original factory finish using CitriStrip paint stripper, which removed the military-applied paint, but not the factory paint. Since the factory-applied paint was in relatively good shape on the aluminum body panels, I decided to leave the factory paint as the best possible base for the new paint. Any bare aluminum or scratched areas were spot-primed with an etching primer. The exterior of the body was then re-sprayed while completely disassembled with Gillespie Coatings Tan 686 CARC substitute paint. This is real military paint as used by the US military on vehicles prepared for desert duty. The paint on the exterior shows very well, and I think it looks great. I made no attempt to remove all the imperfections in the body before painting, so the vehicle retains its character marks. However, for a military vehicle, the body is in excellent condition.
All the exterior galvanized steel trim was removed and stripped of paint, revealing excellent condition galvanizing. The door hinges, pintle hitch hardware, and most of the dash/upper bulkhead fasteners were stripped and cadmium plated to FAA specifications. All galvanized trim was re-fit to the body after the body was painted.
The military style markings on the doors (black inverted V and red jerboa, aka "desert rat") are professionally-made vinyl graphics. They can be easily removed by the new owner if desired.

The suspension & drivetrain is detailed to the highest standard. All parts were stripped to bare metal before being primed & painted (even the brand new rear axle casing was stripped & refinished!). When the drivetrain & suspension was reassembled, new Genuine bolts & nuts were used for the stub axles, swivel balls, drive shafts, and spring shackles. For critical applications like this, Genuine Land Rover hardware is the only way to go. Even the brake lines are bent to perfection. Extreme care was taken during the reassembly process to ensure that nothing was chipped or scratched. You will simply not find another Land Rover with an undercarriage this nice.

It should be noted that this vehicle has the later type ‘rationalized’ axle assemblies and not the older Lightweight-specific narrow type axles as used on some earlier Lightweights. The rationalized axles have the following features (amongst others):
  • 11” front brakes and uprated 10” rear brakes
  • Grease-lubricated hubs
  • Axle shafts with 24-spline outer splines
  • Hubs with all large bearings (same bearings fitted inner & outer)
Now, I’m sure that some detail-oriented people will notice some variations /modifications/upgrades from factory specification on this vehicle, so I’ll just point them out:
  • The clearance, signal, brake and rear fog lights are not the original military parts. The original lights were in poor shape, so they were replaced with Genuine lights from the European Defender. No modifications to the body were required to mount these lights.
  • The wheels on the vehicle are 5.5”x16” and not the original 5.0”x16”.
  • The air cleaner is a high-flow AEM DryFlow filter and not the original oil bath air cleaner. The unrestored original oil bath air cleaner will come with the vehicle.
  • The NATO trailer wiring is currently not in place since I don’t tow anything. I have the wiring and it will come with the vehicle.
  • The rear convoy light is not fitted. The wiring is there, but the original convoy light was very rusty & beyond saving.
  • There is a master battery cut-off switch on the negative side of the electrical system. The switch is located at the top of the passenger side footwell.
  • I have installed an Ignition cut-off switch on the dash panel. This cuts off power to the ignition system as well as the fuel cut-off solenoid on the carburetor. Since I use the vehicle infrequently, this allows me to crank the engine (without fuel or spark) to build oil pressure, then I flip the Ignition switch to "ON" and it starts right up.
  • The canvas top is a civilian version top with side windows. The original top (in rough shape, painted green & black) will come with the vehicle.
  • The skid plate is a used Genuine military skid plate, but was not originally fitted to this vehicle. I had custom CNC-machined mounting brackets made to fit the skid plate to the chassis. No chassis modifications were made to fit the skid plate.
  • The brake piping arrangement has been changed to eliminate the brake failure shuttle valve and metric brake lines. Since the shuttle valve is often a source of problems and the metric brake lines are impossible to find, I converted the system to a more standard setup. I am still using the correct metric brake master cylinder to keep the brake proportioning correct. However, I am now using the standard Land Rover 88” Series 3 dual line brake piping arrangement without a brake failure switch.
  • The transmission tunnel cover has been modified to allow for the cover to be removed without removing the heater.

The following is a comprehensive list of the parts replaced and work done during the restoration. Many Genuine parts for this vehicle were sourced out of the UK from PA Blanchard (experts in ex-MOD vehicles & spares) or So if you are looking at the Restoration Details below saying to yourself “Where did he ever find those parts?”, chances are they were flown in from the UK.
Note: Genuine = Genuine Land Rover part. Not an “OEM” or “equivalent quality” part, but a real Genuine Land Rover part.

Chassis / Suspension:
  • New Marsland galvanized chassis w/ new suspension bushings fitted
  • Military transfer case skid plate (used Genuine)
  • New Genuine front bumper
  • New Genuine front bumperettes
  • New parabolic springs (Rovers North)
  • New Genuine spring shackles & bolts
  • New Old Man Emu Nitrocharger shock absorbers (painted black)
  • New heavy duty U-bolts & nuts (from Rocky Mountain)
  • New Genuine check straps
  • New Genuine rear lifting rings
  • Powder coated battery tray/air cleaner support
  • New Genuine battery tie-down, plastic tray, j-bolts, and wing nuts
Engine / Ignition / Cooling:
  • Turner Engineering HP long block, 3 main bearing, completely detailed
  • New Genuine oil fill cap
  • New Genuine dip stick tube
  • New Genuine thermostat
  • New Genuine engine mounts
  • Resurfaced original flywheel
  • New Genuine crank pulley – military double groove
  • New alternator (Delco 10SI style with double pulley. NAPA Lifetime warranty)
  • New Genuine exhaust manifold & studs
  • New Genuine exhaust manifold heat shield & brackets
  • New NRP stainless steel exhaust from Rovers North
  • New Weber 34ICH Carburetor w/ fuel cut-off solenoid
  • New Genuine carburetor link rod & ball studs
  • New Genuine Lucas 45D distributor (not the cheap aftermarket replacement)
  • New Pertronix Ignitor electronic ignition installed
  • New Genuine coil
  • New Magnecor spark plug wire set
  • New Champion spark plugs
  • New radiator (Suco brand replacement from Rovers North)
  • New Genuine radiator cap and overflow hoses
  • New Genuine radiator hoses & correct rolled-edge clamps
  • New Genuine heater control valve
  • Coolant heater in bottom radiator hose (110 volt plug-in type from Rovers North)

Fuel System:
  • All new Genuine fuel lines
  • Fuel tank change-over tap rebuilt with new Genuine seal
  • New Genuine fuel sending unit switches (both switches)
  • New Genuine dust boot and LH/RH decal for fuel tank change-over tap
  • 2 New Dutch Military fuel tanks from PA Blanchard (very heavy duty!)
  • New Genuine fuel tank mounts
Transmission / Drivetrain / Steering:
  • New Roverdrive overdrive
  • Rebuilt transmission / transfer case (Rovers North)
  • New clutch & pressure plate (AP Driveline Technology)
  • New Genuine clutch throwout bearing
  • New Genuine flywheel pilot bearing
  • All new clutch hydraulics (master, slave, hose, lines)
  • New Genuine front drive shaft (new style w/ improved slip joint)
  • Rebuilt rear drive shaft (new u-joints & Genuine gaiter)
  • All new Genuine drive shaft mounting hardware (bolts & nuts)
  • New Genuine differential input oil seals
  • New Genuine rear differential input flange
  • New Genuine rear axle case (Yes, a New Old Stock SIII rear axle case!)
  • New Genuine rear stub axles (what the rear hubs mount on)
  • New Genuine hub caps (for rear hubs, correct old stock dull finish)
  • New Genuine remote axle breathers
  • New Genuine rear axle half shafts (installed only as a precaution)
  • All new wheel bearings (Timken) and seals (Genuine)
  • New Superwinch lockable front hubs
  • New Genuine swivel pin housing bearings, Railko bushes, seals, and seal retainers
  • New Genuine swivel ball gaiters (leather)
Steering / Brakes:
  • New Genuine steering damper
  • All New tie rod ends (Lemforder) and clamps (Genuine)
  • New Genuine oil seals installed in steering relay
  • All new brake hydraulics (master cylinder, wheel cylinders, flex lines, hard lines). OEM cylinders used.
  • New front & rear (Mintex) brake shoes
  • All new Genuine brake springs
  • New Genuine front brake steady posts
  • New 11” front & 10” rear brake drums (Allmakes)
Tires / Wheels:
  • 5 New Genuine 5.5” x 16” wheels
  • 5 new Michelin XZL tires, 7.50 x 16
  • New Genuine lug nuts
Electrical / Lighting / Instruments / Controls:
  • New Genuine (Defender) brake, signal, clearance, and rear fog lights
  • New rear reflectors.
  • New Genuine license plate light
  • New Genuine rear work light
  • New Hella e-code H4 headlights powered via Hella fused relays
  • New NAPA Gold battery (Group 27)
  • New 0 Gage battery cables & clamps (US military surplus)
  • New NATO trailer plug receptacle (US military surplus. Exact match to original.)
  • New Genuine MPH speedometer w/ tripometer
  • New Genuine speedometer cable
  • New Genuine rubber boots (e-brake, shifter, hi/lo lever)
  • New Genuine gearshift knob
  • New Genuine 4wd rod & spring
  • New Genuine rubber pedal pads
  • New Genuine bushings & seals for e-brake mechanism

Body Exterior / Interior:
  • New canvas top (Exmoor Trim)
  • New custom-made Badger Coachworks canvas door tops
  • New Genuine seat backs (all 3). Seat bottoms are relatively new as well
  • New Genuine inertia reel seat belts (correct Genuine replacements, not generic)
  • New windshield glass
  • New Genuine defroster hoses
  • New Genuine upper bulkhead vent seals
  • New Genuine tail gate bumpers & seals
  • New Genuine tail gate latch pins & chains
  • New Genuine door top seals. Door bottom seals are new Metro seals.
  • New Genuine windshield wiper wheel boxes
  • New Trico wiper arms & blades
  • New Genuine windshield washer bottle
  • New Genuine windshield washer nozzles
  • New windshield washer pump
  • New rear view mirrors (Defender style)
  • New Genuine matching door & ignition locks
  • New Genuine door lock ferrules
  • New Genuine door hinge bushings
  • New Genuine transmission tunnel cover
  • New Genuine rear tub supports & rubber pads
  • New Genuine spare tire carrier with lock pin
  • New Genuine hood latch pin and striker
  • New Genuine hood buffer strip - correct Lightweight-specific strip!
  • New custom-made mud flaps & mud guards.
  • Lockable storage box in rear bed
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Old April 7th, 2014, 08:30 AM
jac04's Avatar
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Currently Roverless
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: CT
Posts: 112
I would like to see the Lightweight go to a good home for the summer. Otherwise, it will just sit in my garage most of the time and go to an occasional car show.

Asking price dropped to $29,900. All reasonable offers considered.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 09:37 AM
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Gorgeous truck. Someone will get a very special vehicle. Good luck with the sale!
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Old April 7th, 2014, 12:45 PM
jac04's Avatar
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Currently Roverless
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Posts: 112
Thanks Tom!
I have my reservations about selling it, but it deserves a better life than just sitting in my garage.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 02:51 PM
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Raub A.
1987 D110 Tithonus
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Stuart, FL / Boone, NC
Posts: 3,975
What a nice rig! I have always wanted one of these. GLWTS
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Old April 7th, 2014, 08:28 PM
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1971 series 2A 88" Lightweight
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Saint Marys, GA
Posts: 5
Great looking Lightweight! I wish mine was at least half what yours is.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 08:43 PM
KKilo23's Avatar
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NAS SW l NAS ST l 110 SW | 110 Crew
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Posts: 2,065
Wow beautiful... good luck with the sale.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 09:06 PM
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Red Stick Defender
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Paul Claxton
1987 Ex MOD 110
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Baton Rouge LA USA
Posts: 16
That's about as perfect as they get. Bravo - GLWS
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Old April 7th, 2014, 09:32 PM
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Luis Beltran
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Novi, Michigan
Posts: 47
It is awesome!
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Old April 7th, 2014, 10:16 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: TX
Posts: 1,520
You did an amazing job. I saw your truck when I started looking and actually have it's picture saved on my computer. I don't think it could have been done any better. Beautiful!
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Old April 8th, 2014, 10:50 AM
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Thanks for all the kind words everyone!

Originally Posted by Daddymow View Post
I have always wanted one of these.
Well, now's your chance to own one!! Maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity!!
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Old April 16th, 2014, 09:29 AM
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The Lightweight has been sold.

I hope I don't regret it too much.
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Old April 16th, 2014, 01:26 PM
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Abraham Bell
1985 Defender 110 Tithonus
D-90 Source Vendor
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Lake Wales Fl. USA
Posts: 2,030
Someone got a very nice truck.
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