1972 LAND ROVER santana 109 (series IIA)
AT A GLANCE
ENGINE: 2.25L diesel
TRANSMISSION: Four speed manual with two-speed 4WD transfer case
MILEAGE: 90.510 km (56,116 miles)
EXTERIOR: Marine Blue with White Tropical Roof and Black NATO Wheels
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
How should a Series Land Rover look? Beautifully restored? Or wearing the kind of honest, proper patina that can only be achieved through the kind of use a Land Rover was designed for? If you'd argue for the latter, we have your vehicle.
We purchased this extremely low mileage Series IIA from the son of the original owner, who had been continuing to lightly use it regularly, just as his family had done for more than a generation. Sun bleached and charmingly weathered, it has always been entirely rust free and mechanically perfect, and it is ready for daily use without worry.
Remarkably straight for a 46 year old vehicle, the largely original Marine Blue paint has been sun bleached to a lovely blue/gray, and the bodywork wears the nicks and scuffs and scars of a life properly lived. Free of filler and completely without rust, it is a fantastic looker that gets attention wherever it is parked, and encourages honks of the horn and enthusiastic "thumbs up" from everyone who sees it. The tropical roof is fully removable, and the new NATO wheels carry oversized 235/85-16 "Dakar" tires for increased ground clearance and a muscled-up appearance.
Inside, the three-abreast front seats have been recovered in dark gray with new foams, and the floors are clean and undamaged. All gauges and lights and switches function as normal. Underneath, the chassis is entirely straight and entirely free of rust. There is no rust anywhere - not in the frame longitudinals, cross members, suspension pickup points, bulkheads, floors, door... No rust anywhere.
No leaks, either. Park it in your garage for a month and when you pull it out again, you'll find nothing on the floor underneath. No drips, no nothing. It's a classic, correct and wonderful looking 109.
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
These Series IIA's are a delight. After warming the glow plugs a bit, it fires instantly and idles smoothly, with no undue clatter or smoke. The clutch is typically firm and takes up at the correct height, and the gear change is crisp, positive and notchy, exactly as it should be.
Underway, the legendary two-and-a-quarter liter Rover diesel pulls with lusty determination, and acceleration is perfectly adequate to keep up with modern traffic on anything but interstate highways. Steering, normally heavy at parking lot speeds, is remarkably light in this example, even with the oversized rubber, and is direct and sure underway. The braking, similarly, is is positive and strong, with no wooden feel to the pedal and plenty of progressive feel for modulation. In short, it pulls with typical pluck, shifts beautifully, and goes where you point it with ease, and when it's time to stop, it does so with no noise, vibration or pulling.
The 2WD/4WD transfer case engages with no balkiness, and both low and high range work perfectly with no noise. If you are feeling inclined, you can of course remove the roof (and the top portions of the doors) and run the truck fully open. You can even fold down the windscreen if you're feeling randy. But if you don't, with the front vents open and the "tropical" roof in place, it does a great job of keeping the summer sun at bay and is a remarkably refreshing and airy place to spend time.
Everything works as it should. All gauges, lights and switches work as intended, and the vehicle has recently passed the rigorous Spanish safety inspection without issue. It needs nothing for daily use, on road or off.