Auction Car of the Week: 1977 Land Rover Series III
Old Land Rovers are wonderful vehicles if you understand what you're buying isn't a car or a truck. Once you realize it's really a piece of agricultural equipment with a bit of weather protection, you start to forgive all its shortcomings, like the inability to travel at faster than 45 miles per hour. With that being said — this 1977 Land Rover Series III is up for auction this week, with a current bid of just $3,000.
The Series III was -- confusingly -- the fourth real generation of Land Rovers. Series I had the headlights mounted in the radiator shell.
PHOTOS: Full Galleries of the Land Rover Series I
Series II trucks still had headlights located next to the grille, but added the long-serving 2.25-liter four-cylinder. The Series IIa moved the headlamps to the fenders after 1969, and also upgraded the electrical system to 12-volts.
The Series III was by far the most common Land Rover, with 440,000 built between the launch in 1971 and the time the Defender replaced it in 1985.
PHOTOS: Full Galleries of the Land Rover Defender
Of all the Series trucks, the Series III is probably the most usable on a daily basis, with syncrhos on all four gears, and a nod to safety with a padded dash.
Gauges moved from the center of the dash to right in front of the driver, so you didn't have to take your eyes off the road at the blistering pace of which a Series III is capable.
A lot of people would rather have an earlier Series truck because they featured a metal grille instead of the Series III's plastic one, but if you can get over that, the Series III is probably the most practical of all the early Land Rovers. That said, if you want practicality, you should probably buy a 4Runner.
This example has the 2.25-liter diesel engine, which a lot of Land Rover enthusiasts would rather have than the gas engine. We're not sure why. It's not like you're going to see massive increases in torque with the diesel, especially in non-turbocharged form. If you could possibly make a Series truck slower, you'd do it by installing a diesel.
PHOTOS: See More of the 1971 Land Rover Series III
How "restored" a Land Rover gets is kind of in the eyes of the beholder. If you intend to display it in a museum, this particular example is not the one to get. It's been painted, but probably with a roller. It has some kind of weird blue spray paint on things like the drum emergency brake attached to the transmission, the pedals and the dash.
In the case of a Land Rover "frame off restoration" pretty much means that the original frame was probably rusted beyond repair and required replacement with a galvanized frame.
So this is no show queen. But if your intent is to go out and run through the woods with it, you could probably do worse. Depending on how many people you figure on bringing with you, the solid-sided ambulance body might not be the best for rear passengers. The Safari top, which allows for some semblance of airflow inside, is a nice touch, but you could be forgiven for mistaking a Land Rover for a sauna in the summer months, even with the ventilated top.
This one's for sale in Georgia, with 61,000 miles and a super-low opening bid.