1979 Land rover santana 88 OVERDRIVE (SERIES III)
at a glance
ENGINE: 2.25L Rover Diesel
TRANSMISSION: 4-speed manual with 2-speed 4WD transfer case and locking front hubs
MILEAGE: 115.943 km (71,884 miles)
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Recently refurbished from an extremely low-milage, original and structurally-rust free 88, this Series III shows very well and has been finished to an excellent driver standard. The bodywork is straight and free of filler, panel gaps are typical of the age, and all doors and latches works as intended. The color matched removable hard top is finished in matching Limestone as original and features twin oval windows. Wheels are color matched as well, and the very classic uniform Limestone finish is set off by the original black grille and black belt-line trim.
Inside, the three-across front seats are new "deluxe" models, with new foams and upholstery. New rear jump seats can be fitted to the rear of the vehicle for an additional $300, allowing occasional seating for four more adults. The dashboard shows typical wear and cracking at the top, but the gauges and lights are clear and functional, and the entire feel inside is one of honest, natural patina.
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.
As will all hard top Series III's, everything from the belt-line trim up can be removed. The door windows, the hard top, the glass portion of the rear door... everything, which allows you to drive the truck fully open if you wish. The windshield can even be folded down if you're feeling randy.
It looks very honest from every angle and needs nothing to be used and enjoyed. The obsessive owner could restore it easily to show quality, but it's such a great driver and has such classic patina, we think it's better to just use it and enjoy it as it is.
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Driving is where this 88 really shines. With outstanding compression in all four cylinders the trusty Rover diesel fires quickly and idles smoothly with no undue smoke or clatter. The clutch is strong and engages at the correct height, the gearchange is light and direct, and the steering is confidence inspiring and entirely free of on-center play.
Overdrive is a wonderful thing. Even if you don't intend to use your 88 at higher speeds, it makes for more relaxed, longer-legged cruising around town, and many people simply leave the overdrive engaged at all times on tarmac. But when the going gets tough, the shorter standard gearing gives legendary pull. When the going gets tougher still, you can drop down into low range with the 2-speed transfer case and muscle your way through (or over) pretty much anything you are ever likely to encounter.
It's a simply fantastic driver, this truck. It does everything so smoothly and precisely it feels like a much more modern vehicle when you're behind the wheel, and is remarkably comfortable to use. Everything works. Every light, every gauge. Everything.
It is mechanically excellent throughout, drives perfectly, needs nothing, and is ready for new adventures.