Series Land Rovers (1948-1974)
Series Land-Rovers can be separated into two basic types, short wheelbase and long wheelbase.
The 88 or short wheelbase, and the 109 or long wheelbase.
The numbers (88 & 109) refer to the number of inches in the wheelbase.
80, 86, and 107 models also existed. See the Series I section for details.
Shortwheelbase or 88" Land-Rovers
Longwheelbase or 109" Land-Rovers
The 88 or short wheelbase Land-Rover (known also as the "Regular" Land-Rover) was by far the most comon in the U.S.. It could be quite a few different Rovers, with just the changing of a few bolts, misc. pieces and roof sections. All the tops were interchangeable on the 88's. It could have no top at all. Even the door tops (window section) would unbolt from the doors and you could fold the windscreen down for a "flat top" Land-Rover. The 88 could also be a soft top, with side curtains that rolled up for more open air driving. The short wheelbase Land-Rover could also be used with a half cab (pick up top). Full hardtops came in many forms for the 88. A full roof with no side windows could be had. A full roof with fixed side windows could also be installed. The majority of the fixed window sided 88's had the split tailgate/ lift gate combination. These parts are hard to find in good shape today. All the full hardtop 88's could have a rear door fitted, or the tailgate/ lift gate set up.The 88 was most commonly known in its Station Wagon form. This used the tropical top and a few other options, such as the deluxe bonnet (hood) and 16" wheels, to make a package known as the Station Wagon. It was only available with a rear door, part of the Station Wagon package.
Frequent visitors to this page may notice the "Safari Station Wagon" references have been removed. Although commonly known as the "Safari Wagon" in the U.S., valid questions about where this name came from have been asked recently. None of the sales literature ever mentions "safari" and it could have been added later on by fans of the expedition/ safari image that a Land-Rover projects, and it may not be technically correct. The correct term would be simply Station Wagon.
Series III 88 No top
Series IIA 88 Soft top (or full tilt)
Series IIA 88 Full hard top (photo taken in the UK)
Series IIA 88 Half Cab ( Series IIA 88 with fixed window side hardtop, tailgate/ lift gate in the background )
The Land-Rover sales brochure for the 88 (regular) in the early 1960's looked like this...
Series IIA 88 Station Wagon
The sales brochures for the regular (or 88) Station Wagon looked like this...
(Note that for some reason the 88 Station Wagon in the large image does not have the galvnaized trim on the door)
The 109 (also known as the "Long" Land-Rover) also had many variations. It could be manufactured in a 2 door or a 4 door version. The 2 door version was available in many of the same roof combinations as the 88; no roof for a "flat top"; a soft top; a no window full hardtop; a full hardtop with fixed windows; or a half cab. The 109 3 door, as it is commonly referred to, is a very flexible vehicle. The 109 was commonly sold as a pick up in the U.S. but not in large numbers. The full hard top versions were rare, and must have sold in very low numbers. Many 3 door 109's have been imported from the U.K. over the years, and like the green Land-Rover below that ECR imported, they are now working and playing in the United States.
A 4 door model of the 109 was also made called The Station Wagon. This was commonly known as the 5 door. The roof could not be taken off the 109 Station Wagon because it supported the middle doors.
Series IIA 109 Full hard top.
Series IIA 109 Half Cab (pick up)
The sales literature for the "Long Land-Rover" from the early 1960's looked like this...
Series IIA 109 NADA Station Wagon
The Station Wagon package was available on both the 88 and 109. The vehicle's main feature was the tropical top. The top had a sun shield and 4 vents in the roof that let air into and out of the vehicle. It also had the trademark "alpine windows" , which allowed the rear passengers a better view, and more light. The 88 Station Wagon was sometimes called a 7 seater Land-Rover because it had 4 individual jump seats in the rear cargo area for passengers. The 109 Safari Wagon had two versions, a 10 seater, and a 12 seater. The difference was the length of the jump seat in the cargo area and the middle seat. A longer bench jump seat was offered to accomodate the 12 passengers. The Station Wagon also had a deluxe bonnet, dual oil pressure/ water temp. gauge, bug screens on the bulkhead vents, and 16" wheels. It can be distinguished from the other Land-Rovers by the above options and the addition of a badge, below the oval Land-Rover logos front and rear, that reads, "4 wheel drive station wagon". Production of the Station Wagon package was dropped with the introduction of the Late Series IIA's in approximately 1968.
Roof vents of a tropical top (88 in this case)
The sale brochure for the Long (109) Station Wagon looked like this... (this is the 10 passenger model, as 12 passenger versions were very rarely (if ever) imported to the U.S.)
The unique 12 seater interior (longer rear jump seats and "sectioned" middle seat) looked like this...
An odd 109 that was imported to the U.S. in very small numbers was the Land-Rover Dormobile. French for "sleeping car", this camper conversion, made by Martin Walter Ltd. in the U.K., resembles a VW Westfalia camper. It was custom built and could be made to order; therefore, no one configuration can be set as "fact". The most common model is the 5 door wagon, with a pop up roof, bunks for 4, and a sink/ stove area on one side of the cargo area, and a hanging closet on the other. Fewer than 200 were imported by the dealers through 1967, and fewer than 500 are said to have ever been produced.
This image shows the cover of one of the original sale brochures from the early 1960's.
Series IIA 109 Land-Rover Dormobile (The Martin Walter Ltd. Dormobile can be identified by the fender badges that read "Dormobile", the interior folding seats and equipment, and the folding roof section.)
A somewhat similar 88 version was made by a western U.S. company. It was called the "X-Panda Cab" and was built on an 88 that had a pop up roof for sleeping and camping. This product was marketed through the dealerships, and is very rare today.
Series IIA 88 X-Panda Cab
To further help you know about Land-Rovers, you should understand the "Series". Like other British auto makers, Land-Rover did not make major changes to the vehicle every year, as U.S. car companies did. Instead they updated the Series when major change took place. So the year of a Land-Rover doesn't mean that much, it is the Series that denotes changes, in the vehicle's look, options and equipment.
There are Series I (Roman numeral, one. Commonly abbreviated SI) roughly 1948-1958, Series II (SII) roughly 1958-1961, Series IIA (SIIA) roughly 1961-1971, and Series III (SIII) roughly 1971-1974. Series Land-Rovers continued throughout the globe after 1974, but U.S. Government agencies like the EPA and DOT, and guys like Ralph Nader were making new laws for exhaust emissions, bumpers, and other safety devices that would force British Leyland to withdraw from the North American market due to cost factors involved with meeting those new regulations. Overall Land-Rovers sold quite poorly in the US anyway. Estimated figures say that only 17,000 or so Series Land-Rovers are in all of North America.
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