Land Rover Series IIA – Chevrolet

If you have ever driven a 1965 Series IIA Land Rover you will understand the meaning of the words “bad car”.

The fact that there is hardly any power, that the steering is as vague as a room full of people who don’t know who they are or why they are there, and the suspension that makes you think that you are crossing a ploughed field even where you are not does not in any way compensate for the ground clearance or the ability to travel off road in four wheel drive, unless of course you specifically require the vehicle to travel off road in four wheel drive most of the time in which case when actually travelling across a ploughed field you are unlikely to notice the difference.

Ratty purchased this 1965 Series IIA in 2001 having read various articles in classic magazines about these allegedly noble vehicles and within a relatively short period of time realised that said article writers were completely self-delusional or masochistic (or both).

Something had to be done and a chance conversation with the guys at Lovell Land Rovers of Lincoln led to the hatching of a plan. The guys at Lovell have raced these vehicles and know a thing or two about making them go and hold the road.

As a result, the plan was to remove the body and put it on a shortened Range Rover chassis thereby incorporating proper suspension with twin shockers at each corner to aid cornering and disc brakes and install a small block Chevrolet under the bonnet. Other changes were to install doors with wind-up windows and a decent heater.

There was a delay in acquiring an engine so Ratty obtained a brand new one from Huddart Racing Engines of Crewe tuned to fast road specification. It is 5,571cc and produces over 350bhp. This is mated to a Mk1 Discovery gear box.

The specification for the engine is:-

305 cylinder bock @3.800 bore.Eagle cast crankshaft@3.75 stroke.

Up-rated 5.7c-c con rods. Hypereutectic pistons @9-1 compression ratio.

Melling Hi-performance oil pump with heavy duty drive.Heavy duty bearings.

Pro-action Hi Torque cylinder heads, 67cc chambers with hardened seats for unleaded fuel.

Stainless valves A2.02 and 1.6.

Crane hydraulic cam shaft @.467 lift and 278 degree duration.

Crane hardened push rods and Speed pro springs and rockers.

Cloyes double roller timing set.

Dual plane inlet with 600cfm vacuum secondary Holly carburettor and 14″ air cleaner.

Up-rated HEI electronic distributor with 8mm leads.

Hi torque starter motor and 63 amp alternator.

Short style water pump with chrome pulleys and Carter fuel pump.

It does all the things that the original car doesn’t do. It goes (very quickly). It steers and it is comfortable. Never before has getting bags of feed for our animals been such fun!