1973 Land Rover Series 3 Reviews

1973 Land Rover Series 3 88" 2.25p from North America

Model year1973
Year of manufacture1973
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 2.25p Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired126000 miles
Most recent distance130000 miles

Summary:

Good size, simplicity, availability of parts and engineering

Faults:

It's an old car from a different era. Its bound to have faults.

BUT.. all in all its held up pretty well.

The transmission is pretty shot. A fairly common problem with these.

Engines are all but indestructible (knock on wood)...

Bodies are aluminum alloy.. so they look good for their age.

Frames are trouble with rust. Mine's fine.

General Comments:

Compared to modern cars. It rides horrible.. it's incredibly underpowered and is very temperamental. They have a reputation for always needing something worked on. But also have a reputation of not leaving you stranded.

It performs (0-60 etc) poorly by today's standards. But its really more than you need. With an optional overdrive it is comfortable if not safe at 65mph. It just takes longer to get there than some.

It's louder than one might expect, even compared to its jeep brethren.

Manual steering is quite well assisted with the large steering wheel and gear ratio.

Looks big but is actually quite small. Not much bigger than (mere couple inches in length and width) than my wife's BMW Mini Cooper.

They are well thought out.. everything you need nothing you don't. Drive/ride like tractors.. practically has a tractor engine in it. Low horsepower, but glugs along from idle with nearly its full compliment of torque right from the line.

Working on it is pure simplicity. The entire vehicle can be disassembled with an adjustable wrench, a pair of pliers and a couple screwdrivers. If you're having trouble taking something apart.. it's because you're doing it wrong.

With their low power and sturdy chassis, they are quite reliable.

Must complain at one serious design flaw. The use of both SAE style bolts and nuts and british standard.. basically plumbing thread with funny sized hexes. It's not 14mm, it's not 9/16, it's not 11/32... or anything.. it's 9/16W.. stupid crap. A 5 piece witworth set of wrenches will run near 100 dollars US.. and sockets similarly. Near unavoidable for any engine/transmission work. Adjustable wrenches only go so far.

Parts are incredibly cheap. Aftermarket (non Land Rover brand) parts are not necessarily the best quality, but very cheap. Similar to the VW Beetle.. so many were made that the parts companies were able to make a living replacing parts.

That being said.. there are several parts that are no longer available or rare, but usually substitutes in the form of "not authentic but will fit" are available.

Not a reasonable daily driver, not really worth enough to be considered a "collector car". But a good thing to have in the garage to tinker with. Maybe get the 109" and use it as that truck you keep around to move a couch or get some lumber.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 15th May, 2008

1973 Land Rover Series 3 Ex MOD Lightweight SWB 88 2.25 petrol from UK and Ireland

Model year1973
Year of manufacture1973
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 2.25 petrol Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance30000 miles
Previous carFord Escort

Summary:

Serious fun for the home mechanic

Faults:

Almost right away I changed the following items. Most of which were working, but I could tell were on the way out. The list may look extensive, but the items are very cheap - especially DIY fitted.

Clutch master and slave cylinders, The overdrive was sluggish engaging and disengaging. Took about 2 hours to replace, refill and bleed.

Engine began behaving erratically. This suggested distributor or HT leads. I replaced the dizzy with a refurbished unit from an MGB (£15) and installed electronic points at the same time. Took 1 hour.

Checked rear differential and realised it was empty despite checking the level between 500-1000 miles earlier. Oil seal cost pennies and again took about an hour.

Valve stem oil seals and fluid change. The Smokey engine starts didn't use up much oil, but for the time it takes I had no excuse!

General Comments:

Buy one and you will fall in love with it. Mechanically it is a dream to work with with excellent accessibility and very cheap parts. Off road performance is superb, leave all these modern wannabes in the mud.

As soon as you buy it replace the master & slave cylinders (or just the seals) on the clutch and brake systems. It will take you a day or two max and you will have a seriously reliable system afterwards. It gives you the opportunity to check the brake shoes at the same time. New transmission brake shoes can be changed a the same time, may as well as you already have the tools out!

Also put in a new thermostat, distributor points and coil. Again, just knock off £100-£200 off the asking price and spend the difference on these new parts. Valve seals should be changed on an engine that is smoky when starting. These are a couple pounds and allow you to check the roller gear and rockers at the same time.

When buying, check for rust on the chassis and bulkhead. As long as these are sound the rest is an easy and relatively cheap fix.

Military models have a stronger chassis and come undersealed, i.e. less likely to have severe rust.

Military models are easier to work with as they have been dismantled a lot more. This makes jobs a little quicker with fewer rusty bolts to deal with.

If it has an overdrive and front free-wheel hubs all the better! You might even be able to cruise at 70! (WOW)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd February, 2005

1st Mar 2005, 13:28

Great review, very informative and helped in my first land rover purchase! Cheers.

Average review marks: 6.9 / 10, based on 2 reviews