It was fifty years ago. in 1961, that the Series IIA was introduced. The models from the earlier years of production remain the most endearing members of the Land Rover marque for many enthusiasts. These models carried over the ongoing improvements in comfort and reliablity of their Series I &II predecessors, yet retained that iconic front end with the recessed headlights.
During the 10 years of production, from 1961 to 1971, the Series IIA underwent a long list of modifications and alterations, most of which did not alter the basic iconic appearance. However, by 1968, if you purchased a Series IIA Land Rover, it could resemble the ensuing Series III model, with the headlamps in the wings. Separate wiper motors would also no longer be doing their own independant thing, but would have been replaced by a single combined motor unit. A look at the metal dashboard with centralized instrument panel and the knobbly door hinges would soon confirm the identify the Series IIA though.
It was just after production of the Series IIA that the purchase tax laws in the UK changed, requiring Land Rover Station Wagons to pay the tax, whilst other models were tax-free. If however, a vehicle had 12 seats, it was classfied as a bus and again became tax-free. Hence the introduction of the very popular, but cramped, 12-seater Lanfd Rover Station Wagon.
Well over 300,000 normal control Series IIA's were produced and most were exported. The USA's import market, however, was strangled in 1967 when the Series IIA 109in Station Wagon failed to meet the new exhaust emission regulations and the company didn't bother to make the effort to comply, mainly due to the costs involved. Efforts were made however, to comply with changing lighting regulations around the world and hence the headlamps moved into the wings for all models. This modification was soon adopted in the UK also.
Whilst the external appearance of the Series IIA did not alter much during the production period, lifting the bonnet during progressive years of production reveals a wealth of changes, including the switch to negative earth and the introduction of a 6-cylinder engine option for the 109in models.
A Land Rover Series IIA Dormobile crossing a bridge with 'potholes'
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