The Registry Of Ex-Military Land-Rovers Au, NZ, etc Australian Military Land-Rover Series 3 Info Collection


Introduction of the Series 3 Land-Rover

The Australian military Land-Rover fleet was "freshened up" with an estimated 2300 new Series 3 vehicles in the period April 1977 to March 1981. The supply contract was signed in mid-1976 some five years after the late Series 2A Land-Rovers were purchased. The suitability testing of the contending vehicles was probably carried out during 1975.

At this stage the earliest dated Series 3 ¾ ton unit in the registry is May 1977 and the latest dated unit in the registry is March 1981. (There is a single unit in the registry dated a full year earlier, April 1976, and it is inexplicable at this stage). Also a bit of a mystery is change of style as regards the chassis number of these Series 3 units. The typical Series 3 unit has a chassis number such as "94323984C" which is similar to all the other Series Land-Rovers. These units were supplied by the Leyland Australia Pty Ltd company it seems. The later Series 3 units have a chassis number such as "LBCAP1AF509794" and were supplied by British Leyland Cars Ltd, a wholly British owned company.

The range of new variants supplied appears to be limited to the basic body types such as the LWB ¾ ton GS, FFR and the Workshop trucks. The more expensive variants such as Ambulances, Fire Tenders and Station Wagons were not updated. Some of these more expensive-to-replace Series 2A variants stayed 'in-service' through to the 1990's. There is however, a story about a single Series 3 Ambulance being constructed and tested before being dismantled for ADE examination. There were no Series 3 SWB ¼ ton units purchased either and in fact this variant was being dropped from the fleet (see footnote). In general the basic Series 2A ¾ ton as well as the ¾ ton variants were being 'pensioned off' when they were damaged or in need of expensive repairs.

The Australian Army's Land-Rover Series 3 ¾ ton mechanical specification was in most respects different to the Series 2A; the mechanical drivetrain was completely "updated". The drivetrain change reflected a perceived need for more roadspeed and towing power. The other marques of four wheel drives had been selling well for some years and the majority of them had strong 6 cylinder engines. The drivetrain change meant that the good ol' Rover 2¼ litre 4 cylinder donk, time proven low ratio non-synchro gearbox and drivetrain was deleted. The engine was updated to the Rover 6 cylinder 2.6 litre petrol engine that Australian civilian buyers had been buying as an option since late 1973. The 2.6 engine included an oil cooler and (in Australia) this engine really needed it. The gearbox was updated to the all-synchro 4 speed box which had been fitted across the Land-Rover range since the introduction of the Series 3 models. There was a single much larger fuel tank fitted instead of twin 10 gallon tanks.

In hindsight however, the most significant and best improvement was to the rear diff. The decades old Rover design was gone and in its place was newly engineered Salisbury design. The Leyland Australia company (then the Australian Land-Rover importer/distributor) made hay out of the fact that the Army had once again chosen Land-Rovers (advert example here) but the new diff design wasn't mentioned. I don't understand why. And why hadn't the Series 3 models been sold into the Australian military some four or five years earlier when they were released in Australia? Did the government take its time to buy Series 3's because it wanted to wait until the Series 3 design was well sorted out? Did feedback from British Army experiences cause the delay in going over to the Series 3 models? Did they wait for the Salisbury diff improvement to prove itself? Was the Aussie government procrastinating because it was interested in taking up the Series 3 ½ ton Lightweight? Hmmm.

The Series 3 ¾ ton models have distinctive canvases since the "ribbing" on the edges of the canvas is a different coloured material (I'm not a canvas maker and I don't know the correct term), maybe ripstop nylon. The Cargo canvas has no side windows and extra 3 inches of rear wrap around. The canvas itself is a lightweight/thinner one and is ribbed with a light green colour ripstop. The GS canvas has side windows and is similar if not identical to the Series 2A ¾ ton canvas though it does have the light green "ribbing" as well. (Note that some Series 3 private owners/enthusiasts have fitted 110" Auscam semi-vinyl "canvas" tops from the Perentie simply by shortening or folding the top by an inch.)

Other more trivial differences noticable on the Series 3 variants included the new location of the Nomenclature, MOD record and Warranty ID plates to the face of the LH or passenger seatbox. This location had first been used on the late Series 2A units of 1971.

 A series 3 ambulance was built for evaluation by RAEME along with a couple of otehr vehicles, however it appears that they were dismantled when the trials had concluded. There is photos of a series 3 ambulance circulating the internet. The vehicle is now in the hands of a REMLR member, and is a series 2a ambulance body transplanted onto a series 3 chassis and running gear.

If you can add any in-depth information or correct our guide you are welcome to email REMLR.

Series 3 Land-Rover Parts
The series 3 was for the most part a civilian Land Rover with a few specific modifications. One major difference being the 6 cylinder engine that was not commonly found in civilian vehicles. While the motor was noted as being very smooth, it was also commented as being as thirsty as a v8 while being as powerfull as the four cylinder. Some parts are different though, and at one stage a manual nmoting the different parts for Army vehicles was set up and sent to dealers to help identify Army specific parts. Below is some information on some specific bits and pieces.

  • Mirrors and Arms: The series 3 was generally fitted with a long arm on the LHS, and a short arm on the RHS. THe mirrors themselves were rectangular with rounded edges.

    RH was a PMC P/No. 11226001 this equates to Wibroc 4691 (BRITAX were the suppliers)

    LH was a Leyland P/No. HYG1229 and this equates to Wibroc 4792 with a reference on the drawing to the arm being 4793.

    In both cases 4691 and 4793 were mirror and arm assemblies.

REMLR Australian Military Series 3 Land-Rover pages


Footnote: the Series 2/2A ¼ ton GS Land-Rovers in the Australian Army fleet had begun to be 'pensioned off' before the Series 3 ¾ ton GS variant was introduced. This process was ongoing since even the youngest examples of the ¼ ton (not to mention the Series 2) had seen over a dozen years 'in-service' by 1977 when the Australian Series 3 variants first emerged from the factory. As an example of this, Castrol, a 1964 ¼ ton unit, was auctioned off and first privately road registered in NSW in 1976. At our local Army Reserve depot Open day in 1978 I photographed my brother in a ¼ ton unit. It was the last time I saw one 'in-service' (other than the Gunbuggy variant which was part of the fleet until the late-1990's.)


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