Had a lovely ride in a Series 1 Land Rover recently. My colleague Kev Mills, who works for Land Rover Monthly magazine is a real hard-core kind of fella. He drives into work regularly in his 60-year old car, often with no roof, no speedometer, and absolutely no creature comforts whatsoever. And do you know what, after his 45-mile commute, most mornings he walks in smiling. Windswept, but smiling.
And for that reason I knew I needed to have a ride in it.
Kev’s Series 1 is actually an interesting hybrid – and one I suspect that will polarize opinions. Last year, he obtained a a Perkins Prima from a Montego TD, and after an impressive spannering session he managed to install this 1980s engine into his 1950s car. It should be a marriage made in hell; a real mismatch of ideas, but do you know what, the throbby Perkins suits his Landie absolutely perfectly. Like all series 1s, it’s an absolute hoot to ride in, as you feel every single bump in the road, every mechanical action, and thanks to zero weather protection, it’s completely open to the elements. Imagine sitting on your four-poster, as it’s pushed down a one-in-three, and you get the idea!
Kev gets around 35-40mpg in his Landie, and despite not being fitted with an overdrive (a future job) it cruises at 60mph on the motorway. Probably faster once it has leggier gearing.
Whatever you feel about this engine transplant, it’s certainly enabled Kev to enjoy his Series 1 far more than he could have with the original engine in. But he does still have that – it just needs a rebuild, and that little job will cost a fortune, as early Landie engines aren’t know for their cheap parts. So, long live this engine swap I say…
Plus, I love the Austin badged cam-cover!