Series 2A (JFK 893C) – Part 1 (Meeting Harry)


At work meetings, I’d noticed people drew the same sorts of things over and over. One person drew horse heads, another geometric shapes, one did only angry spiky triangles!  I drew Land Rovers. As a teenager, my bedroom wall was odd in that it didn’t feature “Glamour” style pinups, rather cutouts from Land Rover and other 4×4 magazines. I’d supressed that as I’d gotten older, but in 2018 I had some upset at work that led to a fairly dark time in my life as I dealt with depression and anxiety.  As my job had spread itself into most aspects of my private life too, I wanted something constructive to occupy my time and one night it occured to me – why not buy an old land rover that needs some love and fix it up?

I talked it over with my wife and she was supportive (even when she learned it would involve building a car port in front of the house!) and I started looking.

JFK 893C

I saw a beautiful Series 2a on the original 1965 registration plates advertised on Ebay and “Locked on”. I checked with the wife to ensure that my thinking wasn’t too off-par. One of the side effects of depression is of course that it undermines your confidence in every way – and especially that you’re making good decisions. She told me that if I wanted it, I should have it!

So a phone call later and I was at a nice property 40 minutes away. The chap seemed to like the idea of owning a land rover, but wasn’t too pleased with the reality. He struggled to get behind the wheel (I did notice the seats were deeper than the original) and he had a poorly hip, so preferred to use his Porsche 4×4. I took a good look around and liked what I saw and promptly offered the full asking price if he had it delivered. Things were pointed out like the “Wiring needs fixing up” (Turned out to need a front-end rewire), Chassis is okay (it wasn’t bad and didn’t need any work) and that the Bulkhead had been replaced.

Lessons from this were:

  • When the oil is clean and the battery is flat so it can’t be started, be suspicious. It turned out the head gasket was blown and the first time I ran it the oil turned to milk. Quite naughty, that.
  • The staining under the Landy turned out to be a leaking fuel tank.
  • “Finishing the wiring is a five minute job”. Of course it wasn’t. If it was, wouldn’t the owner have done it before trying to sell?

Of course, I rationalised the purchase first in that if I was going to learn how to repair vehicles, this was a perfect example. The value of Series Land Rovers is appreciating quickly and I was hoping not to lose money as I learned. Truthfully, this was an emotional decision. Now this project is nearly complete, I don’t regret a moment of it. Even though I eventually left my job after 22 years, being able to switch off from it and focus on the Land Rover undoubtedly helped my recovery. It’s also taught me some very useful skills and given me the confidence with Vehicles to repair my Toyota Yaris as well as the Wife’s Shogun, saving many hundreds of pounds of labour.

Next: The Head