1974 Land rover santana 109 pickup (SERIES IIA)
at a glance
ENGINE: 2.25L Rover Diesel
TRANSMISSION: 4-speed manual with 2-speed 4WD transfer case
MILEAGE: 95.318 km (59,097 miles)
EXTERIOR: Pastel Green
INTERIOR: Black with red headliner
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
The Series IIA Santana, arguably the toughest and most respected "Series" Land Rover of them all, ended in 1973 and production of the Series III took off in earnest. Very early in 1974, however, this truck, one of the last Series IIA pickups ever built, was commissioned at the factory in Linares, Spain as a bespoke project for a Spanish motorcycle racing team. With a special bed and tailgate designed specifically to accommodate the loading and transportation of small displacement racing bikes, it is a unique bit of Land Rover history and has always been kept in beautiful original condition. The bodywork is straight and free of filler, the paint is holding up very well (following a full respray about five years ago), panel gaps are excellent, and all doors and latches works as intended. The removable pickup cab is finished in Limestone as are the wheels, which wear slightly oversized tires.
Inside, the three-across front seats are original and beautiful, with the simple, classic style of all original Series IIA models. Uniquely, a custom headliner is fitted, in a quilted red velvet and a wire-framed map tray above the windshield, the combination of which provides a marvelously vintage and comfortable feel to the cockpit. The one-off bed, freed of the long, box-section inner tubs that characterize all standard 109's, has simple tubs for the rear tires which incorporate heavy-duty tie-down eyelets, and equally heavy-duty bolts to fit tire rails. The extra-wide rear tailgate is devoid of a rear handle and opens fully by releasing two extremely stout catches inside the bed itself. When open, it folds down to nearly a 170 degree angle, allowing easy access, with ramps or without.
Underneath, the chassis is entirely free of structural rust, with no perforation anywhere. Not in the frame, bulkheads, cross members, suspension pickup points, floors or doors.
You won't find another one of these (because there isn't another one of these). Perfect for a Land Rover enthusiast looking for something a little different, or, better still, for a vintage Land Rover enthusiast who actually owns and uses motorbikes regularly. Either way, it looks beautiful from every angle, operates perfectly, and needs nothing to be used and enjoyed.
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Series IIA's are a trip to drive. Agricultural, tough, involving... you can't go anywhere in a Series IIA without it feeling like an adventure. With extremely low miles and excellent compression, plus the addition of a push-button glow plug warming button, this example fires instantly in all weather and idles smoothly with no smoke or clatter. The gear lever snicks from cog to cog with the notchy, positive feel it's supposed to have, and the clutch takes up easily at the correct height.
Underway, the 2.25L Rover diesel is lusty and flexible, and with relatively short original gearing acceleration is quite brisk, so keeping up with modern traffic is a breeze on all but the fastest motorways. Steering is excellent, with a tight, direct feel through the original wheel and no slop or vagueness in the steering box. The brakes are robust and healthy and stop the truck quickly with no pulling, noise or vibration. All gauges and lights work correctly, and the 4WD transfer case engages and disengages easily, allowing you to enjoy the legendary Land Rover off-tarmac prowess as you see fit.
It needs nothing, this Series IIA, so go ahead and use it as it was intended to be used. Load it with motorcycles and take it racing. Or load it with mountain bicycles and head for the hills. Or fill it with surfboards and find the breaks that only the locals know about. Take it camping. Or just run it around town and enjoy the conversations it inevitably starts. Whatever you do with it, it's a wonderfully unique bit of Land Rover history and a fantastic classic that can be driven every day without worry.