The Registry Of Ex-Military Land-Rovers Au, NZ, etc Restoring A Land-Rover Series 2A ¼ Ton GS


The following account of the restoration of Chloe was written by Dennis for the members of the Newcastle Land-Rover Owners Club and REMLR. Land-Rover Club magazine editors are welcome to cut and paste the story into their club magazines anywhere in the world. will even translate it into a dozen different languages, if thats what you need. I wonder if it could make it into Japanese?
Chloe ready for ANZAC Day 2000


Chloe as found 1999
...anyway, Land-Rover means more or less the same thing in languages all around the world. If you write up your Aussie Land-Rover restoration job in a similar manner to Dennis' story, you too can be published on-line and enjoy instant world-wide fame and fortune. (On second thought, the instant bit is a tad over the top.)


Lot 359 or something similar had been in the back of my mind for years. After having owned various Land-Rovers spread over 27 years, my attraction to ex-Army Land-Rovers like Lot 359 was rekindled back in 1998 in Cooma, near the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. The occasion was the Australian Land-Rover 50th Anniversary Event.

The Newcastle Land-Rover Owners Club planned on going down to Cooma for "The Big Event", so I decided that the good wife and I would head off and be a part of this celebration with our club. It was at this wall-to-wall Land-Rover event at Cooma that I saw an ex-Army 88" General Service Land-Rover in daily use. There were Land-Rovers in Cooma of every kind, but the Series 2A ex-Army Landys have always had a special attraction for me. It's a case of "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". At the time I remember thinking something like, 'Well, you have well 'n truly missed the boat for one of those...' A few years back they were plentiful, but nowadays they're pretty scarce to get in an unmodified condition. Now there were Land-Rovers at Cooma from every part of Australia so I was happy (or lucky - same thing in my experience) to find out that the ex-Army ¼ ton Landy that I saw in Cooma hailed from Newcastle like us! Later on, as you'll see, I tracked down Ross and his family who counted their ex-Army 88" Landy as one of their dependents.

I bit the bullet and I decided to get an ex-Army ¼ ton myself. Where to look? Farm or forestry areas? Military vehicle clubs? How long would it take... Well, as it turned out, I fluked a bit of luck straight away. A chance conversation with a chap who was looking for a unusual Land-Rover, led me to ask a friend, Graham Dunlop, if he knew of any 88" ex-Army Land-Rovers. Graham owns a dozen or so Land-Rovers, from a new TDi5 to Series 1 wrecks. Graham told me that about 5 years ago he had brought a 88" ex-Army Landy for spares, but he had his doubts that it would still be there where he parked it years ago. I asked Graham to think about taking me to the particular farm where he had "parked" it... and against all odds it was still there and in one piece! Even better than that, the farmer wasn't particularly pleased that it was using up a bit of his real estate at all. So we walked up the hill, and there it was, with tall grass growing through the guards, etc, etc. I lifted the bonnet and turned the fan blade; at least it wasn't seized - a bonus! Next, I looked at the speedo, which was hanging out at an angle, and noticed that it had 3.7 miles on the clock. I remember thinking, 'More like 3.7 million judging by the exterior!'

The farmer, unaware that Graham was going to sell me this Landy if I wanted it, gave Graham and I an ultimatum: 'Two weeks' he said, 'or I'll dig a hole and push it in!'. On our way back home, Graham told me that Lot 359, the Land-Rover in question, had only 43.7 miles on the clock because it had suffered an accident very early in it's military life. According to Graham it had suffered a airlift exercise (parachute) accident; it may have come down hard at an angle, breaking the chassis on the RHS above the rear differential. It didn't have its original rear tub or doors either. It still retained all of the identification plates, i.e., nomenclature and a small plate stating it had 40 miles on the speedo when it was driven through the gates of Eastern Command in July 1963, condition 1A. (R.A.E.M.E. workshops wound speedo's back to zero on arrival).

And there was another problem. While driving home in our County 3.9 Isuzu diesel 10 seater wagon, I was thinking, 'Two weeks is pretty short. How am I going to sweet talk the wife into letting me have it?' I decided not to tell her at first; I would delay my news until I had a chance to see if it would fit in the carport along with the boat and campervan and - most importantly - that it would be out of the weather for the restoration job. As the two week deadline drew closer I had to tell Dianne (the good wife) that I was going to buy this Rover to use as a shooting platform when we go out west, and most importantly it wouldn't cost much to get into going order. I don't really think that she believed me, but she said, 'If you think you can fit it in with all your other interests - go for it.' I lost no time in ringing Graham and finalising the deal for the Landy.

The next problem was to get hold of a vehicle float; the two week deadline was now two days past, and it was May 10th 1999. On the way over to the farm Graham reassured me saying, 'That farmer won't be in a hurry to dig a hole big enough to put a Land-Rover in'. And my other mate, John (Series 3 109" Isuzu Diesel wagon owner), even more reassuringly, agreed and said, 'Anyway, we can dig it out again!'.

When we got to the farm, it had been raining for some days and the ground was pretty soggy under the weight of the 110 wagon and vehicle float, so I couldn't get to the part of the paddock where the Land-Rover was "parked". The farmer suggested that he would drag the Landy over to us with his tractor. Well, it turned out I needn't have worried about him digging a hole and burying the Landy as the tractor wouldn't even start. So we got stuck into it and managed to push, lever, push and roll this Rover about 100 yards through the long grass and mud. With a few attempts we had it lined up and winched up onto the float.

An hour or so later we were back in Cessnock where I live and we had it off the float. That same day we had the rear tub off and the pressure washer did it's level best to rid it of it's arachnoid inhabitants and some accumulated wasp nests. We pushed it into the carport and I started thinking about what I was actually going to do with it. Closer inspection revealed that it was still a very sound proposition suiting restoration - and not just as a shooting platform.

A couple of days later, after checking over the Land-Rover, I decided to start it if I could. And start it did! (Even if it was on pure petrol down the throat of the carburetor). The motor sounded so good, with no rattles or squeaks. There was just a hint of blue smoke from the exhaust; 'Dry valve stem oil seals', I thought. The motor had 50/60 lbs of oil pressure, cold, so I set about thinking logically about the best way to go about restoring Lot 359. I video taped the engine running so it could act as a carrot on a string - some psychological get up and go. I started with the doors, then did the windscreen, and the front guards.

It was at this point that we had a setback. Our little Pomeranian dog had to be put to sleep, and she was named Chloe, so we named Lot 359 after her. That was the 31st of May 1999, and it was difficult to actually do anything for a couple of days. I still miss that dog.

Anyway, next thing I got in touch with Ross, the owner of the Land-Rover GS we had seen down in Cooma, and I paid him a visit. I found him by using the entrants list that was printed in the commemorative souvenir magazine put out by the Cooma 50th event organisers. Ross' first reaction when he saw the Lot 359 photos was: 'You're going to restore that?' He didn't realise just how determined I was to breathe life back into Chloe.

Restoration work recommenced during June 1999; the engine and transmission was removed then a suitable site found under the carport for both parts. The bulkhead had a green goo on it and it looked like a mixture of green paint, compressed chip board, glue, all mixed together and sprayed onto the bulkhead as a sound deadener. Subsequent investigations led me to believe that Chloe was a FFR, as it has 24v windscreen wipers and an earth point on the rear RHS outrigger. The bulkhead looked pretty ordinary after some of this green stuff was chipped off; it had cracked and surface rust was everywhere to be seen. Grit blasting was the order of the day for the bulkhead when the time came. With the bulkhead off the chassis and the wires tucked up out of harms way and covered from the elements, the axles were removed (oil previously dropped and disposed of properly).

Next the diff centers saw light of day for the first time in 37 years, they had a capital T + date which eludes me at present. Next I had to think of a way to mount the chassis so as to facilitate easy access to all areas on the chassis. I thought of a way (and I'm probably not the first person to do this), and I fabricated 2 stands at either ends of the chassis (in the middle) mounted high enough so it could swing through 360 degrees along it's length. It also had to be easy to remove single-handedly, and this solution was successful in that regard too.

The diff's, springs and brake pipes were now removed. 'What a jigsaw puzzle!' was what everyone said. But I just thought of it as a really good Meccano set. Some of the younger generation wasn't sure of what I was talking about. I had started to keep a log as a record of costs only. I never entertained the idea of keeping a time sheet of the job. I've built a live steam model Locomotive in 5" gauge NSWGR 32 class engine 4.6.0 wheel configuration which took years, and it is almost complete: the thing is, 'if you enjoy working on something, time doesn't really matter'.

I brought a needle gun and started removing loose scale wherever it was but I soon realised that I was going to wear out my compressor. So I contacted Dave (another Land-Rover owner) who worked at a local engineering company and I knew that they had a mother of a grit blaster that would more than adequate for the job. We organised an day for the chassis to be grit blasted, and another float was borrowed and the chassis was loaded on it... and wouldn't you know it; rain, rain and more rain. I was beginning to think I was living in England. The rain delayed progress for a few days, but with the grit job finally done, we hurried back home and, once under cover again, etch primed and undercoated the chassis (numerous coats), before topcoating with the good ol' gloss black enamel.

Meanwhile the springs had been away to be reset and were ready to picked up. New bushes were pressed in using my home made press. Hey presto, with springs in situ, with repainted diff housings, with stub axles bolted on, and with 2 bolts, hubs on, 4 wheels on - Chloe was able to be moved in and around the under cover area.

With the axle assemblies rebuilt, and with some new wheel bearings packed with grease it was time to replenish the oil in the swivel housing, and with new seals I wasn't expecting any oil leaks; and there wasn't. The next items, the brake pipes, had to be made up and it was John to the rescue again. He had three double flaring tool kits from his father's garage. This job involved fitting the front guards and radiator support panel to check the radius of the pipe so as it wouldn't foul the underside of the front guard.

The bulkhead sat there looking at the work going on around it; all electrical wires were removed from it and anything that would be possibly destroyed by the grit blasting operation was also removed. When this had been attended to the footwells were revealed as being full of holes. Two new footwell panels were ordered and I set about taking out the old ones by drilling out all of the spot welds and folding back the double panels so as not to destroy the look of the bulkhead from both under the bonnet and from inside the cabin. It took me about 5 days to complete this task and also taking the stiffening panels from both sides of the original footwells and repositioning them on the new ones as they didn't come with them. I also dummied up the LHS so as it looked as though it could be fitted with pedals for left-hand drive.

As for the panel painting, my wife Dianne wanted to have the vehicle painted Deep Bronze Green. I had other ideas; Chloe was going to be Olive Drab in keeping with nearly all of the military Land-Rovers in Australia (up until the introduction of the cam painted Perentie 110 models of the 1990's.)

I wanted to be able to say that I did everything on the vehicle and meet the targeted completion date. I aimed to run it in the next ANZAC Day parade in Cessnock on the 25th of April 2000. The bets were on that you could not do such a task single-handedly in such a short space of time. It was just a tad over 10 months' away...

So the self-imposed pressure was on. Many parts were etch primed and painted. The gearbox, etc, had been fitted along with tail shafts. Body sections were fitted as they were painted, and Chloe was starting to take on a recognisable ex-Army appearance. I had taken measurements of the height of the chassis before I started putting things back into place, and being a military chassis it has the chassis extensions and also the extended shackle plates; so it sits up high as per R.A.E.M.E. specs.

The engine was attended to next. It had been steam cleaned and painted, then the number 718 stenciled back on the LHS of the block. The cylinder head was removed and the valves were given a touch up along with new valve stem oil seals and put back into place. The head was tensioned, and the tappets were set. The electrical harness was repositioned with new grommets and rejoined with their old mates; the generator, fuse box, ignition switch, blackout switch etc. The radiator support panel was in place so the headlights were fitted and connected after cleaning all the bullet connectors and earth points. The battery went onto it's pad, and connected with jumper leads and tested.

Next the hunt was on for the older style bee-hive blinker lens (glass type) and the flat clearance lights, both of these units have 2 screws that secure them to the guards. The guards on Australian Land-Rover military type's (2A's only) were the cutwing type. This feature made it easy to work in and around them fitting up the various things that are in there.

Work steadily progressed on reconnecting all of the electrical bits and when you are working without a wiring diagram, military Land-Rovers are very different from civilian ones. I contacted Stephen Stansfield from Queensland who had restored a 109" 2A ex-Army Ambulance (commonly called a bloodbox by Vietnam veterans) to an unbelievable standard (he won best ex-military at Cooma in 1998). He sent me a photocopy of a section of the wiring diagram that I so desperately needed. All of a sudden it was so easy and in no time I had all the lights including the blackout lights working. It really looks good after dark. Graham also came to the rescue again with all manner of things like gaskets for behind the head lights, and little things like grommets in of all shapes and sizes, new gear knob and many other things too numerous to mention. He had bought them years ago - who knows why - all I can say is I'm glad he did as some of these things are not available now in Australia.

Next it was time to turn my attention to set the body on the chassis permanently. So some more painting of nuts, bolts and washers, and application of "Neversieze" to all the bolts followed and then it was time to tighten them back up. The bulkhead took a little more time so as to be able to gap the doors correctly, as you have to fit the hood bows and the drip rail panel over the top of the doors. Keep your fingers crossed that you end up with a reasonable gap all around. The hinges and mounting points give a reasonable range of movement and it can be a time consuming task.

The brake and clutch master cylinders along with the reservoir were overhauled and despite their 37 years they were still in very good condition. A quick hone, cleaning and re-assembly was in order. The pendants were all painted and then refitted where they belonged. Brake and clutch pipes were reconnected and, after saving for a period of time, I had saved sufficient funds for a complete set of bonded brake linings and wheel cylinders. New brake hoses were then connected, fluid topped up and after some perseverance we had a full brake pedal. The clutch did not take very long to bleed; it's really straightforward.

The fuel tanks had been sitting around since their removal back in May 1999. Both of the tanks had been interfered with in the respect that they had the tank transmitters removed. One was covered and the other didn't fair as well; it was left with no cover at all and subsequently rusted away. Inside the tank looked like the exterior of the Titanic. A replacement was found at Modern Motors of Dungog, where there are a number of older Land-Rovers - some waiting restoration, others resigned to their fate.

The fuel tanks were cleaned inside and out then painted, fitted to the outriggers, the fuel lines and the fuel tap connected. The seatbox assembly was then cleaned and rubbed down ready for painting, but, as usual when you want to do something like paint, it rained. It cleared later, allowing painting to proceed. Nuts, bolts and washers were cleaned on the wire brush. Taps and dies were used on stubborn threads. It was surprising that I only had to 'grind off' 4 bolts, 2 on the splash guard, and 2 that hold the dimmer switch to the floor. The remainder came undone with very little effort; not bad for a vehicle that has been neglected for the best part of its life... just try doing that with the Asian 4x4 imitations. I don't think you would have much left to work with - let alone restore - after a few years of "parking".

The time had come to buy some petrol, and see if it would start once again. It was March 30th and ANZAC Day was less than a month off now. Another check was made to make sure there were no problems, and Sods law applied yet again; a fuel leak was found in the flexible line just before the lift pump. Darn! With a wet rag put in place, only the ignition circuit on, fuel system primed, the starter button was pushed, and Chloe burst into life, and, even better, considering the choke wasn't connected, it immediately settled into a quiet idle. I was ecstatic.

The video camera had been pressed into action as it had been in the past recording all the events as they happened, so I put my left foot on the clutch pedal and slowly eased it off the floor. Chloe was then moving under her own power. What a red-letter day. After all those years of being "parked"... It was a beautiful sunny afternoon; the type of afternoon when our dear dog Chloe would have been lying on the lawn soaking up the afternoon sunshine, barking occasionally at our cats.

I had arranged for various transfers (reverse type) for the tyre pressures to be painted on the guards. I had contacted a Sergeant at 2nd Div HQ in Sydney, for information on Divisional signs and he gave me all the information that I needed to complete the unit/tactical signs - I had to make it look authentic on the day of the parade. It was now only ten days to the big day and I needed somewhere to drive the Land-Rover to see how it steered and braked, etc, and to check if it was going to have any last minute hitches...

And it was just as well we checked! Chloe had a flat spot that wouldn't pull a skin off a rice pudding. Arrangements were made to get Chloe up to Modern Motors early in the coming week as the Easter long weekend was approaching fast, and tagged on the end of Easter this year was ANZAC Day. Bob, one of the mechanics at Modern Motors checked the timing and set the carburetor, it was soon purring like a kitten. The MOT was a mere formality and it passed with ease, which allowed me to apply for a permit to drive an unregistered vehicle on the road for the day.

Everything was now ready! My son Kyle (Series 3 109" Isuzu Diesel wagon) and step-daughter Gabrielle were set to drive the Land-Rover in the parade for me so I could do the camera-work, but unforeseen work commitments put paid to that. So I contacted a long time mate Robert Rigby (101" Land-Rover and Range Rover owner) and he jumped at the chance to drive it in their place... Could there be any more hiccups to the plans before the off?

The morning of the ANZAC Day dawned cold and overcast. Chloe hadn't been out in the rain since April 1999, so I hoped nothing would go wrong, as there were WW2 vet's who were relying on my Land-Rover to ride in the parade. I was getting nervous as Robert drove off to the Parade assembly point in town; we followed behind in the camera car.

Even in the marshalling area people were admiring Chloe with her new canvas top and new paint. I was really happy to have met my self-imposed deadline and proud of this really impressive looking Landy. It all seemed pretty hectic. And where was Ross with the his Land-Rover? It was almost 11am, and out of the crowd came Ross - at the ten minutes to go mark - sans soft top on a very overcast morning. Chloe and Castrol, would be in the parade together as per plan. Now the only thing to worry about was whether the rain would hold off for a couple of hours. The sky down south was pretty dark...

The Marshall called 'PARADE!!' and the pipes & drums began. We were "on parade". I was on "parade cam" and walked at a brisk pace though all the people standing on the footpaths/sidewalks of the street, trying to keep focus. It was difficult to keep up as people who knew about the restoration kept slowing my progress asking questions about the Land-Rovers. And the rain stayed up in the clouds too. The parade went off without a hitch; and an awful lot of photographs were taken of the two 2A 88" ex-Army Land-Rovers. Plenty of people were complementing us on the standard of the vehicles. 'This is good!', I thought. 'Good thing the farmer thought better of digging that hole.'

Chloe is resting now until the next memorial parade on Vietnam Veterans Day in August. The total cost for the restoration of Lot 359 was in excess of $5,000. I did tell the good wife that it wouldn't cost much, so I stretched the truth a little bit... and it isn't everyone who has a Series 2A 88" ex-Army Land-Rover with 54 miles on the clock and looking like new!

Short wheelbase Series 2A General Service Landys are pretty scarce nowadays, so to have a pigeon pair in a parade is a rare thing, given that they are over 36 years old. Ross and I enjoyed the attention bestowed on the Land-Rovers and shot heaps of film off for the photo collections of the Registry of Ex-Military Land-Rovers on-line at


It looks like I'll be seeing Modern Motors again soon because I've just started another restoration: Wee-Wullie which is only 3 months and 179 chassis numbers different from Chloe. I purchased it with a blown head gasket from Hilton Pollard's...


Special Thanks to Owen Rumbel of Modern Motors at Dungog NSW. Owen is always ready to give advice Land-Rover wise: a mine of information and a personal friend for 27 years. Modern Motors, Rumbel's place up in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, THE BEST DARN LANDY DEALER IN AUSTRALIA.


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