1976 land rover santana 88 (series iii)
AT A GLANCE
ENGINE: 2.25L Rover diesel
TRANSMISSION: 4-speed manual with 2-speed transfer case
MILEAGE: 132.796 km (82,333 miles)
EXTERIOR: Sage Green with Limestone wheels and Tan canvas roof
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Entirely rust free and recently refurbished to a very good standard, this Series III 88 is an extremely appealing soft-top example in a wonderfully classic color combination.
With low original miles, this truck hails from arguably the most arid region in all of Spain, and is as rust free as you will ever see a classic Land Rover. The bodywork is straight and free of filler, and the paintwork is recently applied to a good standard. Panel gaps are typical of the age and all doors, latches and locks close securely and work as original. The silver grille and black belt-line trim set the Limestone wheels off nicely, and the tan canvas roof is new with a new galvanized frame, allowing open-air motoring whenever the mood strikes.
Inside the three-abreast front seats are new "deluxe" models with new foams and upholstery, the dashboard is in very good original condition, and the original center console carpeting is intact and in very good shape. All the gauges and lights and switches work as original, and everything has a lovely combination of original patina and refreshed details.
Underneath, and the frame is as straight and clean as you'll find. No dents or scratches to the longitudinals, and no rust anywhere. Not in the frame, crossmembers, pickup points, bulkheads, floors or doors.
Clean and classic, it has fantastic curb appeal and looks good from every angle.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
A soft top 88 is not a bad way to travel. Roll up the sides and back of the top, and you have as much air flow as any convertible ever made. Or, remove the top entirely, the door windows, and fold the windscreen down, and you have more airflow than any convertible ever made. Driving a Land Rover fully open is one of life's great joys, and with a canvas roof you can go from enclosed and weather protected to fully open and carefree in just minutes. It doesn't get much better than that.
With excellent compression the trusty Rover 2.25L diesel in this example fires quickly with very little warming of the glow plugs needed, and idles as smoothly and calmly as it did brand new. With a broad swell or torque and standard gearing, it's spritely off the line and has no difficulty keeping up with modern traffic on all but the fastest roadways. The gearchange is notchy and positive, as it should be, and the clutch is strong with correct engagement. Off road, 4WD engages with a simple push of the plunger, and low-range in the 2-speed transfer case engages with similar ease, allowing the type of tough-terrain capability that made the Land Rover name famous in the harshest environments on the planet. In a world of modern 4-wheelers with huge tires and expensive modifications, it's truly surprising how capable a comparatively simple and unassuming little "Series" Land Rover still is. Take it where you want to - to the mountains, into the sand, through the mud - it'll get you there and back again., Just as Land Rovers always have.
The brakes work perfectly with good feel and no noise, vibration or pulling, and the steering is light and direct with no undue free play.
Mechanically excellent, low mileage and a fantastic driver, it is a perfect 88 to drive and enjoy every day, on road or off.