1980 lanD ROVER SANTANA 88 (SERIES III)
AT A GLANCE
ENGINE: 2.25L Rover diesel
TRANSMISSION: Four-speed manual with two-speed 4WD transfer case
MILEAGE: 108.413 km (67,836 miles)
EXTERIOR: Marine Blue with Tan canvas roof and Limestone wheels
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Still lovely from an older restoration, this Series III 88 is rust free, beautiful from every angle and needs nothing.
Exterior and interior were stripped and repainted approximately three years ago in the original Marine Blue color, then reassembled using original parts when excellent and new parts when necessary. Bodywork is straight and free of filler, and the paintwork is of a good standard. All doors close and latch correctly and new weatherseal is in place where appropriate. The removable canvas roof is new with galvanized hoops, and the original galvanized beltline trim is in original and excellent condition. The Limestone wheels wear recent tires and the spare wheel - repainted recently - can be mounted in the rear cargo compartment or hood mounted as desired.
Inside, new "deluxe" three-abreast seats are perfect and foams are firm. The rest of the interior is as spartan and utilitarian as a Series III gets, but with everything charmingly original and functioning as it should. There are currently no rear jump seats fitted, but two folding 2-person benches can be installed before shipping at very slight additional cost.
The frame is entirely straight and rust free, with no dents or signs of previous off roading. There is no rust in the longitudinals, cross members, pickup points, floors, doors, or bulkheads.
Inside and out, top and bottom, it has wonderful curb appeal and looks as good as you are likely to find in an 88 of this vintage. A wonderful example of a desirable 88, in a classic color combination, and is ready for any use you care to put it to. The canvas roof can be kept down for weather protection, the sides rolled up for more airflow, or it can be removed entirely in minutes for full open motoring.
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
With minimal warming the glow plugs required, the rugged little Rover two-and-a-quarter diesel fires easily and settles into a comfy idle with only (normal) minor initial smoke which disappears quickly as the engine warms and never returns. Select first, engage the clutch and off you go.
Torquey and responsive to the throttle, the 88 leaps off the line and revs eagerly through the gears all the way up to its gearing-limited top cruising speed of about 80 kph. The steering, typically heavy at parking speeds, immediately lightens up underway and is direct with no slop, the clutch travel is perfect, the gearchange snicks from cog to cog with the precision of a rifle bolt, and the brakes stop powerfully with a firm and easily-modulated pedal. It's an easy Landy to drive, and feels great on road or off, with performance adequate for keeping up with modern traffic on all but the fastest roadways.
All gauges, lights and switches work as intended, and the vehicle has recently passed the rigorous Spanish safety inspection without issue.
It is a lovely driver. Simple to own, simple to operate, and simple to maintain. These 88's are eminently maneuverable on road or off, and with the legendary Land Rover agility in tough terrain, this Series III would make a fantastic adventure vehicle for reaching that remote fishing hole, surf break, camp site, or rustic English pub across town.