1973 Land Rover 88 Series 3 4/od
Junk that only its mother could love.
Transmission needed rebuilding, cracked intake and x2 exhaust manifolds, countless seals and gaskets.
Oil pressure relief spring, valve seals a couple guides.
All brake wheel cylinders.. some twice.
Master cylinder clutch slave x2 clutch master cylinder.
2 sets of parking brake shoes due to seals failing on the transfer case.
Distributor, fuel pump, oil pump, carburetor all replaced.
Brake lines, clutch lines, leaf springs and check straps all failed.
Well.. far too much to bother listing. It's NEVER fully working. The alternator, coil, starter.. front turn signals.. are all original. Beyond that.. probably everything has failed.. or otherwise needed service.
The bottom of he engine has never needed service.
I knew what it was when I bought it. I'm pretty experienced buying old cars of many brands. I have owned it a while, and do not plan on getting rid of it.
It does what I need it to. But it's rarely ever not breaking. It pretty much has something wrong with it all the time. Takes up a lot of weekend time. It's old.. and it's British.
The only redeeming quality of it is that it's only got a few bolt sizes and is very rudimentary. No extra accessories to repair. It's an engine, body and wheels.
It rides horribly. If you've never driven a leaf sprung vehicle, you can't imagine. The stock springs rust together no matter what you try. They have almost no spring at all.
Horrible reliability.. which should be explained. The truck rarely leaves me unable to start it. As long as I have a few wrenches in the car. Things shake loose... wires break. Hoses crack. If you don't do your own work, These things will bleed you dry on labour.. Even relative to vehicles of similar age. I make a decent living. I don't know how the unemployed hippie types that generally go in for these things keep them going. I imagine.. with a lot of cobbling.
I've put abut 2000 dollars into the truck in the last 2 years. None of it "major" parts... like engines or axle housings. All repair and maintenance parts and such... all with my own labor. No mods or special equipment. Just the stuff above.
It has been off the road for extended times before waiting on parts etc.
Its tiny inside. Slightly more comfortable than a CJ5. Elbow hits the door. Knee hits the door. But not the dash.
Safety.. we don't need no stinking safety.
Plenty of people claim they commute in them every day.. etc. You will generally find these people to be the "hippie" type. It's not a logical thing.. they do it because of the image.
It might also be worth mentioning to the young. If you've never driven a 3 speed (first is too low to count) weighing 4000 lbs yet only having 75 (top condition on leaded gas) horse power. You're in for a surprise. Volkswagen vans laugh at the acceleration of these things.
What's some positive spin?
Well. If you like being stopped in the parking lot and having people compliment you on your truck or ask what it is. It's good for that.
It's good for lubricating your driveway.
I've taken mine apart.. well I think all of it has been removed and replaced at some point. Replaced with new style gaskets and RTV.. and it still leaks.
It's.. better than nothing, but it does what it's supposed to and a good mechanic can keep it running well. The engine will never blow up.. though it might not start. It's not powerful enough to easily break axles and drive shafts. It does.. but not that readily..
A jeep is a better vehicle.
It's a fan mobile. I like it for all its faults.
I guess it's kind of like a game. Always fighting it. Driving down the road is like a win.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 11th July, 2008
7th Jan 2009, 15:57
I absolutley love mine to death. Although it breaks, its dependable, its solid, its very very robust, it actually has 4 gears not 3 (typo), I drive it because I adore LandRovers. But it still looks great.
29th Mar 2009, 21:32
Well, I have owned a 1973 Series III Land Rover since 1985. I have driven from Cabo San Lucus to Canada. I have used this car/truck as a daily driver---on the freeways. Parts are easily available; and can be UPS Red-labeled if needed. There is nothing wrong with the design and the engineering of this vehicle.
The thing is, you cannot compare a 4-cylinder 2.25-liter leaf sprung Land Rover, with a Toyota Land Cruiser. The Toyota Land Cruisers are good trucks too; yet for some reason Toyota Land Cruisers are more appropriate for hot-roding enthusiasts. The Land Rover when restored, stays basically factory and the Toyota takes on a more powerful "diamond-plated" personality.
As I am writing in 2009, the 1973 model year for either the Land Rover or a Toyota, was 36 years ago. $2,000.00 is not a lot of money to pour into any vintage automobile. For most cars this age, it is time for a frame-up restoration.
"Customer satisfaction" surveys are meant for new cars, in the first years; and no car company anymore expects to see any of their products on the road for longer than 10 years.
The Land Rover Series vehicles have been known the world over for dependability and service. English cars are unique and very well engineered. So are French cars, Italian cars, Japanese cars, and German cars. Seek-out the experts and the mechanics who are serious about specific car-brands, and forget the mechanics who bad-rap everything they do not understand.
Another car I own is a Mercedes 190Dc. This car is just as slow as the Land Rover Series. There is nothing wrong with the design and engineering of my Mercedes, either. $2,000.00 in parts (in 2 years) for the Mercedes would be a nominal figure, too.
23rd Apr 2010, 07:49
I think you bought the wrong vehicle, an old Classical Land Rover is definitely not for you. I've owned and driven Land Rover's since 1989, and it's the most reliable vehicle you could buy, IF, and there is a big if, if you understand what you have bought and "treat" it the way it was intended. It's not a modern car, and should not be handled or driven like one, it's important to remember that it's basically designed in 1948.
29th Sep 2011, 10:21
Great review, and sometimes the truth stings!
I'm from the U.K, and grew up on a farm where we actually used these for their true purpose (they were all diesel though, which changes the nature of the beast), and while they will do everything asked of them, and then some, they rarely start without a fight, will always have something broken, are THE most uncomfortable vehicle to go anywhere in, and you will love it!
A 1965 was my first car, learned to drive in it. Carried a tool kit with me everywhere I went, and made sure to park it on a hill.
Get one, love it, join AAA, and see how rusting steel will rot old aluminum.