25 August 2005

Restoration Tale: 1971 Land Rover Series IIA

A longtime client of mine had this Land Rover for years and I always said that when he was ready to sell, let me know. In early 2003, I was at his house and we started to talk about it again. This time he agreed to sell it.

Fast forward to June 2003: I was talking to another client about the Land Rover, and he offered me some space in one of his warehouses to set up shop. And set up shop we did, with all the necessary tools plus a huge air-compressor, a sandblaster and one of his forklifts. Originally the plans were to just clean it up and get it running properly. That changed rather quickly when we started to check the car out further. The frame was quite rusted in spots, the gas tank was hanging by a clip, and a squirrel had lived in the dash for awhile. Even with all the rust issues, mechanically, the vehicle was great and the engine always started right up. Before dismantling it to start the restoration, we’d drive around the parking lot stuck in low gear with no brakes and no clutch.

That's when I decided to do it right and bring the car back to new again. And we did. The entire process took about a year, and there are a few interior touches I still need to complete. We kept the car pretty stock, just upgrading to a parabolic suspension and electronic ignition, along with a few other smaller upgrades. It also got a completely new galvanized frame and rust-preventative paint on as many parts as possible.

I own a computer-consulting business and my family is in the restaurant business, so while I love cars, I had no idea how to fix them. That's where my good friend Sam and my cousin Christopher came in; they taught me everything. We had a great time and I'm actually looking to do another restoration. I have my eye on a 1981 2-door Range Rover. I'm a real Land Rover fanatic; one of my daily drivers is a 2006 Range Rover Supercharged.

I documented the process on my website: www.roverhaul.com with over 1,500 pictures.

– Michael Williams

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