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SPECIAL LAND ROVER buying guides


by Ed Evans, 26th May 2016

From military behemoths to bespoke coachbuilds, there are some rarities out there

Across all of the models we have seen in the guide are the numerous special versions and adaptations. Some were built by Land Rover specifically for military use, others were converted for a vast range of commercial uses, and many were created into bespoke luxury vehicles or highly tuned performance editions. Regardless of their condition, all of these Land Rovers have a huge interest factor and most will have a historical importance, either now, or in the future. Basket case examples are usually worth preserving and their restoration can be a fascinating project. Others whose condition is anywhere between running and mint, deserve preservation. Prices of these rarer vehicles are difficult to predict and they depend much on supply and demand, and sometimes on the right person being there for the right vehicle at the right time. So our price guides give an indication, but talk to the clubs before buying. There simply isn’t space to list all the special models in this guide, but here is a taster.


101 Forward Control
Sold only to armed forces, the 101 (officially the One Tonne) was produced in General Service (GS) form with a full canvas tilt, with conversions to ambulance and 24-volt radio vehicles. The 101 sits on leaf-sprung beam axles and the high, forward driving position offers an exciting and controllable drive. It is powered by the 3.5-litre Rover V8 carburettor engine, driving through an LT95 transmission in common with Series III Stage 1 and early Range Rover. Built to haul powered ammunition trailers off-road, its four-wheel drive ability is awesome. Original tyres and body parts are becoming rare, but the owners’ club (www.101club.org) offers re-manufactured parts to members. Rarer but every bit as desirable are the earlier Series IIA and IIB Forward Controls.
Another ex-military vehicle based on the Series IIA and III and designed for air transportation, the Lightweight is officially known as the Half Tonne, and also as the Air Portable. It’s mechanically similar to the Series IIA and III, but powered only by the four-cylinder petrol engine, though you might come across a Dutch armed forces diesel version. Many were transplanted with V6 and V8 engines, and modified both mechanically and bodily, including grafting the Series hardtop on. But originality is now the theme. As with the 101, there was a General Service tilt model and a Fitted For Radio (FFR) version with 24-volt electrics. Buying checks are the same as for civilian Series IIA and III, but military authenticity is an important consideration, and bear in mind that body panels are peculiar to the vehicle and are rare.
Other Military Vehicles
There are military derivatives of most Land Rover types, including the Series vehicles, Ninety, One Ten and Defender, Range Rover and Discovery. Many are otherwise standard vehicles and the basic buying checks align with those for the civilian versions, but small details, especially in bodywork and equipment, needs careful checks for condition and originality. Buying and keeping any ex-military Land Rover involves a responsibility to correctly and authentically maintain and preserve it as a historic vehicle. Owners will receive good advice by joining the appropriate club, and the Ex-Military Land Rover Association can advise on questions of authenticity and even military service record.
Other Civilian Vehicles
Most of the Land Rover range has, at some point, been adopted by coachbuilders and convertors to produce bespoke versions. They are well worth maintaining and preserving if you find one. Of more historic interest are the prototype and early production models which occasionally appear for sale.  Some command higher prices.  Such vehicles are always welcome in the appropriate owners clubs, and parts and knowledge are usually more easily available for post-production specialist conversions.


• 101 Forward Control Club and 
Register at www.101club.org 
• Military Lightweight Club at 
• Lightweight Land Rover Club at 
• Ex-Military Land Rover Association at www.emlra.org

101 Forward Control • 3.5-litre V8 petrol, 128 bhp, • 185 lb-ft torque. Four-speed • LT95 gearbox with permanent • four-wheel drive
Lightweight • 2.25-litre four-cylinder petrol • 77 bhp, 124 lb-ft torque • Selectable 4WD


101 Forward Control
Project: £5000 – £6000
Average: £6000 – £9000
Good: £9000 – £12000
Excellent: £12000 – £15,000
Poor: 1,000 – 2,000
Average: £2,000 – £3,5000
Good: £3,500 – £6,000
Excellent: £6000 – £14,000


  • Configuration:
  • Aspiration:
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Military Lightweight Classifieds

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