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There are two common types of Land Rover in the United States, a third more uncommon type in North America, and a fourth uncommon type in Canada and the UK. The common Land Rovers are the short wheel base Series model 88" and the long wheel base model 109". The model 109 was imported into the US until 1968. The model 88 was imported until 1974. There were older models but they are few in number and parts are difficult to obtain.

Starting in 1987 Range Rovers (all automatics) were imported to North America. The Range Rover (mk2) started to be imported in 1995, the same year that production of the Range Rover Classic ceased. In the early 1990's, a subsidiary, Land Rover Canada was created.

In 1992, a special version of the Defender 110 was imported into North America. 500 went to the United States, and 25 to Canada.

In late 1993, Land Rover North America (LRNA) started to import the North American Spec (NAS) Defender 90. About 3100 soft top and plastic top models were imported. All were model year 1994 and 1995. Towards the end of 1995 LRNA imported and additional 500 Defender 90 Station Wagons. These Rovers featured a metal hardtop, one piece doors and a rear door.

There were no 1996 model Defenders. However, there was a 1997 model. According to LRNA, 2500 NAS Defender 90s were imported; 1000 Station Wagons and 1500 softops. All will feature automatic transmissions. A final batch of 300 limited edition, willow green, automatic transmission, Station Wagons were imported at the end of 1997. There are no 1998 model Defenders being imported to the US.

In 1994 LRNA started to import Discoveries to the United States and Canada. Sales have been strong with over 50,000 vehicles imported in 4 years.

It is reported that about 16,000 Series Land Rovers were imported into North America from 1949 to 1974. Estimates of surviving vehicles range from a low of 4,000 to a high of over 10,000. As a comparison, as of 1995, some 33,000 Range Rovers had been imported.

Three types of Series Land Rover were imported: Series I (1948-1958) (a short wheelbase series I was seen in "The Gods Must be Crazy")); Series II (1958-1961), Series IIA (1962-1971); and Series III (1971-1974). Most people prefer the IIA to the Series III.

  • Series I
    • Series I were produced from 1947 through 1957. Wheelbases included the 80", 86", and 107". The basic engine was the 2 liter, four cylinder cross flow engine. In 1956 the 88" was introduced, followed in 1958 by the 2 lit re diesel and 109".

  • Series II
    • Series II were produced from 1958 to 1961. This saw the introduction of the 2.25 lit re petrol engine.
    • Series IIA were produced from 1961 until 1971 in both the 88 and 109 inch wheelbases. In 1962, the 2.25l diesel engine was introduced along with the Forward Control model. In 1967 the 2.6 lit re, six cylinder engine was introduced for the 109 Station Wagon, as well as the Series IIB 110 Forward Control model
      • 1967: separate wiper motors to single motor in dash.
      • 1969: headlamps moved from centre radiator grill to wings

  • Series III
    • Series III were produced from 1971 until the early 1980's. Imports into North America ceased in 1974. The Series III saw the dash revised with black plastic, instruments moved from the centre of the fascia to a position in front of the driver. The door and bonnet hinges are flatter than Series IIA. More hidden was the all-synchro gearbox that was introduced, an uprated clutch, modified brakes with new drums, re-routed brake pipes and servo-assisted brakes as standard on all Station Wagons. And there was the all plastic front grill...
    • In 1972 the V8 101 Forward Control was developed, though not actively produced until 1975 for the British military.

  • Miscellaneous
    • Electrics are positive earth from 1947 until 1967 when they were changed over to negative earth. (Note: a number of owners have changed their Land Rover from positive to negative earth, along with going from the dynamo/generator approach to an alternator. This should not effect the value.)
    • Carbueration was changed from the Solex to the Zenith in 1967. Parts and rebuild kits are difficult, if not impossible, to obtain for the Solex. A Solex can be rebuilt once. After that it will need to have parts changed that are no longer available. The recommended carb. change when your Solex is worn is to change it to a Weber for increased gas mileage and a few more horsepower. You will need the adapter plate used for the Zenith to fit a Weber.

  • Long Wheelbase Models:
    • The 109 came in several versions, of which the two door (pickup) and four door (station wagon) are the most common. The 109 2 door has a 6 foot bed. There is a rare model of four door 109 called the Dormobile. It is the Land Rover camper. It has a pop up top (like the VW van camper), refrigerator, sink, propane stove and other goodies.
    • 109 versions:
      • Regular with canvas top
      • Pick-up
      • Pick-up with 3/4 hood with side windows
      • Regular with hard top
      • Station Wagon (10 or 12 seater)
      • High capacity pick-up
      • Dormobile

  • Short Wheelbase Models:
    • The swb, or 88 came as a two door pick-up, or the more common three door version. Unlike the 109 Station Wagon, it is possible to remove the roof and windows of a swb to create a soft top version.
    • 88 versions:
      • Canvas top
      • Pick-up
      • Pick-up with 3/4 hood
      • Hard top with sliding side windows
      • Station wagon

  • Other Types:
    • The third type is the 101 Forward Control. This is very rare in North America. Of hand I know of between 5 and 10 in the US in 1996.
    • The fourth, uncommon type which can be found in Canada is the military lightweight. This is the military version of the swb Land Rover, and despite the name, actually weighs more than a swb Land Rover, though narrower so to fit into an RAF Andover aircraft.

  • Long and Short Wheelbase Comparisons:
    • 88 - 109 comparison: The 88 being lighter and having a shorter wheel base, is a superior offroad car. It doesn't get stuck as often and can turn in almost half the radius of the 109. Of course you can sleep inside a 109 two door or doormobile.

TerriAnn Wakeman notes:
  • I have no problems taking my [Series] LR on long trips and have on several occasions been driving it 8 to 10 hours a day. It went car camping between Monterey bay and Portland Or last year, and on several 200 - 300 mile trips. This year I will take it back to Portland for the Portland all British car meet and to the LA area for the national Dairy goat show. My two door 109 is a great car camping long distance car. Its a bit on the noisy side (a common LR trait) but it is reasonably comfortable and if kept up extremely reliable.

Benjamin Smith notes:
  • Despite having a 24 year old Land Rover, I have found it to be very dependable. I regularly take her on 300 mile trips and even some 1000+ mile long weekends with lots of heavy off roading. I drive her from the West coast to the East Coast and back at least once a year. I have *never* had a mechanical brake down that I couldn't drive to the next town with or make a repair with carried spares. Once I even drove 500 miles with a blown head gasket on 3 cylinders. (I now carry a spare). The best part of a Rover is that they are over-engineered, and that you can maintain them in the field.
  • When I go on long (more than 500 mile) trips I carry:
    • Tools (wrenches, sockets, feeler gauges, screwdrivers, files, etc), 8 quarts of oil (20w50), 2 quarts of 90w, spare points, cap, rotor, water pump, Castrol 2 pints GT-LMA brake fluid, main gear (in case the Overdrive fails), spark plugs, coil, wire, crimping parts, rubber brake parts, brake cylinder, axle half shafts, a random assortment of nuts, bolts and hose clamps, water/anti-freeze, some gaskets, Shop manuals (Haynes and factory) and parts catalogs from mail order shops. Before a trip I'm careful to topoff all of the fluid levels.
    • It sounds like I carry a lot, but my tools fit in a small NATO 5.56mm ammo can. I carry a standard toolbox with other tools and random junk. All the spares fit into a water tight 40mm ammo can. Obviously some of the spares are redundant, especially for road use--(if I brake an rear half shaft I could always pull the other half shaft and rear propeller shaft and drive in front wheel drive). but I figure that it's easier to fix the problem or jury rig something than to walk 100 miles in the desert.

Since Land Rovers are still in production, you can still get genuine factory parts. There are a few mail order shops in the United States>. If you are willing to pay overnight, you can get any part for the Land Rover, new or used, next day.

Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified March 15, 2005.
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