So this is what I am starting with. A 1974 ex-British Army Series III air portable Land Rover, FFR, LHD. As you can perhaps see from the pictures it is actually in very good condition already for it's age with no rust and good mechanical's.
In fact, this is probably the best condition vehicle that I have ever restored and with some minor recommissioning of brakes and fuel system it would be fine to drive and use as is.
But.....it is getting a little tatty and certain things require attention before they get much worse so refresh/restoration is in order.
During it's time on civvy street it has picked up a few non standard items that need to be addressed. Some of the more useful additions will be retained and improved upon if necessary the rest will be removed/repaired.
First, the colour. I don't like the Bronze Green that it has been refinished in. That is just a personal preference but it is peeling off and cracking anyway. So the paint will be stripped to bare metal and a new hue sprayed on.
Then the lights have been replaced with crappy cheap NAPA units. Not a big deal with the front but at the rear the sheet metal has been cut to accommodate huge, red, NA style combination signal/stop lights. Not too much I do about that now unless I fancy building new corners out of AL so an upgrade to better quality lights (LED?) will be done.
The tilt is toast. As luck would have it I have NOS Army FFR 88" tilt in stores.
The seats are from some NA domestic vehicle and while comfortable they do reduce the leg room somewhat so I will be on the lookout for either standard seats or a slimmer replacement.
Free wheeling hubs, that's a keeper!
Rear heater. That will be retained and re-plumbed and perhaps mounted in a ammo box to conceal it's whereabouts.
Rear hitch, the jury is out on that one. I have a NATO pintle style hitch but I'm not sure it is any more useful?
So this is the starting point. I should also mention that it does run and drive quite nicely but , apart from about 100 oil leaks, sediment has built up in the fuel tanks and the tank change over switch in not working so the fuel pump inlet tub keeps fouling. This will be repaired/renewed when I strip and clean the vehicle.
Last night I got into the shop late and discovered a strong petrol smell? Upon further investigation I found the left side fuel tank to be leaking slightly. I never noticed that before as it was always parked outside on the dirt before.
So much for my boast about no rust.
I had to drain the tanks and clean up the mess right away because of the obvious fire hazard. One of the many good things about old Land Rovers, they have brass drain plugs at the bottom of the fuel tanks so it wasn't very difficult. The leaking tank did yield quite a lot of petrol however so the leak/leaks must only be pinhole size and may be repairable....... . By the time I was all done it was 1am.
Slow progress lately as I have had other things take away time on the Lightweight but I have continued the strip down and had some nice surprises. Classic LWT rot trap under the unique removable vent panel was solid with just surface corrosion and the outriggers under the floor still had shiny paint under the 1/4" of gumbo the Army spayed on. It is a pain to strip that undercoating but it really works.
Yeah, I have seen quite a few Ex-MOD units in the UK that suffered this problem with the undercoating helping rust out the chassis. Plenty on damp, salty air and some wet mud that never fully drys out and the chassis day's are numbered.
My particular Lightweight has spent most of it's life in the super dry (and salt free) climate of southern Alberta. First at the BATUS training area near Medicine Hat then the next twenty five years + with it's only other owner in Lethbridge. That probably has more to do with it's preservation than the Army undercoating.