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This Landrover was half Stage1 and half light tank. The front end was all Solihull's finest but the rear was a shortened version of the Scorpion light tank tracked bogie. The resulting half-track had a very high payload and formidable offroad potential but didn't attract military orders, so the project was stopped in 1980 after one more prototype had been built with 110 front end.
Engine: V8 petrol 3.5 litre
132 bhp at 5000rpm, 185 lbft at 2500
Ignition: coil, 12 Volts
Differentials 3, positive lock on inter axle differential
Steering Burman recirculating Ball
Brakes Front: Hydraulic drums
Rear: Inboard discs, each with twin calipers front and rear, servo assisted
Suspension Semi-elliptic leaf springs/coils, track: each wheel independent torsion bar
Track MoD design, light stell with bonded rubber road pads and central horn, tesioning by hydraulic ram on rear idler wheel, 14 tooth twin sprockets
Weight Unladen: 3880 kg, Laden: 6970 kg
6 prototypes of this superb vehicles were built. On the first 2, P1 and P2 work begun on October 1978, the other 4 at about one month intervals. P1 to P3 were right hand drive, the other 3 left hand drive. P1 and P4 were 12 Volts, the other combined 12/24 Volts. All were initially designed as softtops.
They suffered many problems even being straight from the standard line for most parts. The repeatedly suffered power losses, front prop shaft faillures and burnt clutches were reported. Front axle half shafts failed often but could be traced back to a faulty design. Steering on road at very high speeds was superb. In slow goin and offroad the vehicle is horribly directionless which is quite obvious as the tracks do not help in steering. The tracks have no return rollers, so at any speed they hit the bottom of body. The noise is deafening, LR measured 108 decibels! Also the vibrations are very annoying, causing the rear differential mounting to crack. Most of these problems would have been solveable but the British army could not decide on placing a large order. Meanwhile the airlifted units and rapid ground forces gained importance and no other army wanted to take the sirk of buying them first.
P1 was completed in late April 79' and tests were made at Anglesey (picture below) and at the MIRA test track to a total of 3480 miles until end of June. The covered distance equalled a 10 years service life. Upcoming problems were the rear and front driveshafts and some small weak spots on the chassis. These and other minor problems were quickly mended. After these trials P1 was transported to Norway for 3 months winter testing. Here it performed admirably, outperforming most other vehicles. It is believed that P1 went to Libya and never returned.
P2 was shown in Nigeria on a sales tour and later in Kenya. This fully restored vehicle now belongs to the Peter Blanchard Collection.
P3 was altered to be a hard top communications vehicle. It was equipped ith UHF and HF radios, field telephones, teleprinters and sniper detection radar. Now it carries a standard soft top and also belongs to the Peter Blanchard Collection.
P4 was extensively tested in Oman and the Sultan of Oman insited on paying for it, so it was sold. This one appeared on many sales publications, carrying 2 machine guns. It is possible that this one is now in a private regimental museum in Britain, apparently being equipped with an Chevy 5.7 litre V8 and an automatic gearbox.
P5, completed in late summer 79' was mainly used as demonstrator. It was seen on exercise in Germany and was trialled with an anti-personnel mine discharger. In spring of 1980 it got a 20mm cannon fitted on a cargo bed. Later is was flown to the Persian Gulf for more demonstartions. Today it belongs to the Tank Museum in Bovington. This the one shown in the picture above (Billings 1998)
P6 went to Iraq for demonstrations, came back later that year. It is believed it returned to Iraq and stayed there but this is not confirmed.
Another one was built using 110 front end parts and an eighth tracked hull . Today it also belongs to the Tank Museum. Contrary to the others it was finished in sand color.
The end of the project came in 1984 when political and economic changes killed off most of the potential export markets and so the project was cancelled.
The Pink Panther
One of the most famous military attack vehicles. In 1968 The Special Air Service SAS bought 72 long range desert patrol vehicles built on Series II 109-inch chassis and transformed by Marshalls of Cambridge for The Regiment. They were delivered in standard green but many were repainted in pink which was then believed to be the best camouflage paint in the desert. Notice the change in color as the angle of view changes.
The reason they were so tough was the combination of guns and equipment ant the guys driving them- the SAS. There were later similar equipped Series I and a lot later 110's. In the Gulf War they proved invaluable as they even outperformed the specially equipped Hummers. The nickname of "Pinkies" stuck on them even if the new ones are no longer painted in that color.
The 2.25 -litre petrolengine was tweaked from the than standard 69bhp to 77bhp and compression was raised to 8,0:1. 9.00x16 tyres were mounted, doors, windscreen and canopy considered as unnecessary for desert driving. Fuel was carried in 4 tanks- a total of 100 gallons. Add to this extra weapons and kits and the weight goes from an empty 1910 kilos to an combat weight of 3050 kg- nearly half a ton more than the standard gross vehicle weight.
The 100 Inch Land Rover Prototypes
Esthetics were no issue on this model. Engine and gearbox are Range Rover and so is the chassis with a rear Land Rover crossmember welded on. Other outriggers were tacked on where needed, in places even wood was used to strenghten the body. The inner front wings were cut to make place for the turrets, the front is Stage 1- but at that time the Stage One wasn't still available. To make place for the 5" wider track of the Range Rover the wheelarches had to be hacked away, supposedly by an apprentice in his first year. As the standard 109's seats couldn't fit seats from an MGB were mounted. Drum brakes were used all around and the rear tailgate is an custom-made side hinged device.
This specific vehicle was made to test the viability of using Range Rover chassis, axles and suspensions under a Landrover. It was screwed and welded together in 1976 at the orders of chief engineer Tom Barton by apprentices at Lode Lane.
It proved what we all know today: coil springs and a powerful engine make for a great vehicle. Only one year after this vehicle begun testing the factory set up a development team to set up a short and a long wheelbase version. However things didn't proceed very well until the Swiss Army suddenly showed it's interest in the existing 100" version.
The year was 1977 and the first 110's only showed up in 1983, the 90 even a year later. The 100" was developped side-by-side with the 110", the 90 only when the Swiss contract stumbled. In 1978 a buch of 15 vehicles was built for the Swiss. They were constructed from a collection of parts from Series III, Stage 1's, 110's and Range Rovers. It is believed that they covered every combination of left-and right-hand steering, engines and elictric power systems. Two of these bunch still survive today at the Dunsfold Trust, carrying chassis numbers 4 and 13, a third one is at the Heritage Collection at Gaydon.
The projected minimum in-service life is 12 years. Only the chassis, rails and external body panels are identical to the civilian models. All-new crossmembers were fitted as well as a new subframe under the load bed and the fuel tanks are better protected. New axles were designed including Range Rover differentials and new wheels added that wear G90 tubeless tires. The bulkhead, cab top rails and sills have been reinforced and new watertight Jerrycan lockers incorporated in front of the rear wheels. Additional reinforcements to the body allowed fitting of a large diameter tube canopy that doubles as rollcage and seat belt support. Those rails are designed to be unbolted quickly for stripping the vehicle. The spare wheel can be bonnet- or side-mounted. The radiator is better protected and quicker to remove.
The vehicles are so similar to standard production vehicles that they can be assembled on the same line.
Wolf MRCV on Defender 110 XD chassis with a heavy machine gun
Perenties of the Australian Army
The Perentie, named after a lizard known for it's camouflage and his ability to survive in harshest conditions was developed by Jaguar Rover of Australia in 1989. Over 700 are in regular service together with 3000 110's
All Perenties are 6x6 with disc brakes all around and Adwest power steering. About 400 of them also have a Thomas T9000 winch. The engine is an Isuzu Turbo-Diesel of 90 KW @ 3000rpm and 253 Nm of torque at 2500 rpm.
The rear axle's diff is offset to the left to allow any axle full wheel travel. The driveshaft enters the transfer box at the PTO output and is actuated by a vacuum-operated clutch system.
Wheelbase is 140 inches, departure angles front is 37, rear 25°. The spacious cab has overhead controls and is built on a steel spaceframe. Seats, fibreglass dash, trim and large windscreen are made in Australia as is over 70% of the vehicle.
The most spectacular are the Long Range Patrol Vehicles of the Australian SAS. They have tanks of 365 litres which makes them capable of driving 1600 kms in desert conditions without refueling. An Suzuki 250 cc motorcycle is attached on the back for those tight spaces. Remember, that's a bloody big country and walking is no option. The enormous payload of the vehicle lets the crew use the vehicle as base for long periods of activities behind enemy lines.
The ambulances (above) are equipped with fibreglass bodies, air condition and a full isolation. Personal gear is stowed in the compartment over the cab.
General maintenance and Electronic repair vehicles carry a similar body as the ambulances. The GMV's have opening side sections that form a covered work space complete with bench and vice.
All bodies have common mounting points so if the base vehicle breaks down the body can be easily (?) shifted to another Perentie
Currently the Australian Army tests new versions like crew cabs, command posts and fire fighters.
Minerva was a well-respected belgian car builder but after the second world war it was as far down as it could get. After the war they were determined to get military contracts but the FIAT-based 4x4 vehicle did not impress the Belgian army. So the head of Minerva contacted Landrover in 1951 to compete together with Willys for 2500 lightweight vehicles for the Belgian army.
A 1951 80-inch model registered LNX 406, chassis 1613-5179 was sent to Belgium for trials. It later returned to the factory and was sold on through Macrae and Dick of Inverness.
In May 1952 Landrover got the contract for 2500 vehicles in form of CKD vehicles and Minerva was to assemble them under licence and with assistance from Landrover. Chassis, axles, transmission and other parts were supplied but the contract stated that 63% of the parts should be of Belgian origin. The body was made of steel and it's believed that also later chassis were built in Belgium as they differ in many ways from the originals. Also civilian models were made but in a smaller number.
The total number of military delivered Minervas were 8440. The records of the Heritage Trust show 9905 Minervas CKD were delivered, so the missing 1456 vehicles went to the Police and Gendarmerie and also to some civilians.
All vehicles were left-hand driven 80" models with 2-litre engine. The front wings were squared off and sloping (easier to produce), the bodywork was made of steel and the front grille was smaller and had the Minerva badge. Other modifications include lights position and size, exhaust coming out under the driver's door and external door hinges on the civilian models. The police and military versions had an spare wheel carrier on the right and an jerry can holder on the left. The front middle seat was replaced by a steel toolbox.
The army did not put them immediately into service but stockpiled them so almost brand new vehicles entered service until recently. It's even rumored that you can get still vehicles by surplus dealers with only a couple of kilometres. Imagine- a brand-new Series I at the price of a well-used Ford Fiesta.
The Shorland Armored Cars
The Shorland is an armored car based on long wheelbase Landrover chassis and built by Short Brothers of Belfast. The first units were developped in 1965 for the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The basic vehicle is still available today based on the 110 chassis.
Buying a surplus Shorland is difficult due to restrictions the governement imposes on armored cars (at least on exports).
Those early versions are replaced today by the more modern versions based mainly on 110's.
There were several types: the Simba (Lion), based on the last 109" and the Tangi (Tank) as well as couple of Tenbas, a mix of the Simba bodies and the 110" coil sprung chassis. In the picture above a row of Tangis in Belfast in summer 1995.
For their reporters the french channel (Antenne 2) bought some five years ago a Shorland. It was first used in war-torn Yugoslavia and looks rather used but is still dispatched regularly.
The 101's were specially designed for the armies all over the world. Sadly only the british and the luxembourgish army ordered them.
Land Rover developed these stout 4x4's for the British Army. I'm really no specialist on these but if I get some time I will fill up my knowledge on them. Above left is the first prototype on an early cold morning at Dunsfold. I parked behind it but quickly moved out of the way- somehow I felt uneasy to have that big cannon pointed at me at arms lenght. The one to the right was owned by a fellow clubmember and is currently being fitted with a 200+HP engine and 20.5"
In 1999 the last bunch of 101's were released from the British Army.
Hi-Cap Desert Patrol Vehicles
This is what the modern version of the Pink Panthers look like. Called the Hi-Cap Desert Patrol Vehicles these 110's have proven invaluable in the Gulf War where the american Hummers, although designed for this sort of terrain, died by hundreds. Only the Rovers kept going to the point a Special Division of the american army ordered them as assault cars.
All used by British Military but lately they have been using hummers in Afghan and Iraq
"The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred." Soichiro Honda
The Cuthbertson Conversions
Intended for use on marshy terrain those conversions by the Cuthbertson & Sons in Biggar, Scotland should have been an all time great. However the real world use was somewhat reduced. The vehicles worked very well on soft ground but did have some problems climbing banks. Steering might have been a problem too...
A long wheelbase Series II was taken, wheels removed and a subchassis dropped in complete with bogeys and tracks. The front end is stearable in the usual way and the selectable 4-wheel drive was retained.
In the 1960's the Sunburry-on-Thames based Carawagon International entered scene with sleeper conversions for 109's.
The 109 based vehicles had factory approval and when the 1977 sales brochure for Switzerland arrived it had a Carawagon pictured and named it Land Rover Camper- but didn't mention any relation with Carawagon. Later sales leaflets however pointed to Carawagon.
Orders came from different official sources as well as companies as the BBC. Even the army ordered 34 of them and called them Tactical Command Post.
The 109's were called Ultimate (2/4 bed Station Wagon with elevating roof) or Continental (2-bed Station Wagon). On the shorter 88inch wheelbase the Safari 88 was offered, a sleeper conversion for Hard Top or Station Wagon.
When the 110's arrived in 1983 those conversions were called Continental (2-bed Station Wagon), Ulysses (2/4 bed Hard Top with elevating roof) and Ultimate (2/4 bed Station Wagon with elevating roof). There was also a derivate of the army's Tactical Command Post on 110's base.
Carawagon closed down in the mid-80's. Some of it's design was briefly revived in 1990 by Woodflaire of Teddington, Middlesex.
The Range Rover conversion
From the 1960's on the Carawagon International had offered seating and sleeping conversions for a number of Land Rovers but mainly the 109" Station Wagon. In 1971 they transformed a Range Rover on the base of an existing vehicle EPK800J which was examined by the engineers of LR in March 1971.
After that it was road tested by "Autocar" and the test was published in the issue of June 24, 1971. It had some shorts compared to the 109's. Internal space was shorter by 7" and the spare wheel was carried inside. The standard full roof could not be fitted and so a smaller roof with only 5ft4inches standing height was fitted (the 109 had 6ft2inches). Apart this everything was on board: Water tanks, a stove a dining table and 2 beds- enough for 2 people.
However only very few Range Rovers have been converted probably due to the price of £3040.- compared to the £2450.- for a 109 conversion with 4 beds. They were still available in lists until 1980.