September this year will see the 40th birthday of the Series III Land Rover. The model remained in production for 14 years and proved to be a major money spinner for its manufacturers, British Leyland. There are still many enthusiasts of this particular model worldwide, such that prices are on the increase and parts are even being remanufactured by a variety of independant companies.
Most of the differences between the Series III and the Series IIA Land Rover, that it replaced, were visual ones, relating to the challenges coming from rival 4x4's of the period. In actual fact, many of the changes were phased into production during the final years of the Series IIA. Main visual differences were that the dashboard design became softer and the switches and instrumentation became more user friendly. A notable modification to the front of the Series III was the substitution of the metal radiator grill for a plastic version: This really was lamented by certain Australian owners as the previous grill was so easily detached and could serve as a BBQ grill.
Probably the most technically noticeable, and much appreciated, upgrade of the Series III was the all synchromesh gearbox, though usability is generally regarded as having been gained at the expense of the loss of some rugged reliability. Treated with respect however, the gearbox shares a longevity characteristic with its predecessor - and also its ability to become noisier with age.
The single independant Series IIA wiper motors were replaced with a much more efficient system right from the start. The tendency of the crankshaft to bend at high revolutions was not solved until 9 years into Series III production by the introduction of the 5-bearing crankshaft.