Not the American synonym for a beginner’s class, the Land Rover 101 is far from an entry-level model.
Originally developed from the 109″ model chassis, Land Rover’s 1962 Series 2A was a cab-forward design aimed at the commercial market.
Cab-forward refers to the placement of the cabin area over the front wheels, and the Series 2A launched with a forward-engined layout.
Originally equipped with the under-powered 2.25l 4 cylinder petrol engine, later and export models received the 2.6l engine and a much-needed power boost. Less than 2500 were made, and few had an easy life.
To quote the boss;
Series 2 forward control? Rare as rocking horse [apples]
1966 saw an up-date, with the 2.6l engine becoming standard and the 2.25l Diesel engine available for export models.
Discontinued for public sale in 1974, this design became the basis for the 101 military model. As the motor is placed centrally in the chassis, gains in weight distribution are off-set by the need to empty the load-bay for servicing and repair, but as the majority of vehicles were designed to be gun tractors for the L118 light field gun this was less of a compromise.
Land Rover’s modular design ethos lent itself to easily adapting one chassis for many military uses (MOD-ification if you will) and the 101 saw use as a Rapier Anti Aircraft Surface to Air Missile platform (not so popular for the UK, but a major use for the Australians), a radio body for field communications, a rare Vampire Electronic Warfare platform and the more numerous ambulance version.
The ambulance models, whose conversion bodies were produced by the same Marshall’s of Cambridge responsible for outfitting the original 109″ Station Wagons, are really quite popular for extreme overland touring vehicles.
When we’ve got the time and the filthy lucre, we’ll probably do one too…
Decommissioned by the MOD in the early 1990s, the 101s were replaced in the main by Defenders and (previous Land Rover Proprietor) BAE Systems‘ Pinzgauer models. Familiar shape to them, don’t you think?
Land Rover had developed a small batch of prototype replacements for the 101, called the Llama, but the contract was unsuccessful and the Land Rover Llama failed to take off. Shame, as that cab looks a lot roomier and more comfortable!
The 101 refused to roll over though, they even made it into film history!
Some thirty models were converted into the finished article, although only a handful remain in working condition. Ain’t she a beauty?
- Land Rover Unveils First Range Rover Hybrids (inhabitat.com)
- Land Rover To Unveil First Hybrid SUV (thempreport.com.au)
- Range Rover Sport to make mad dash through New York (reviews.cnet.com)
- Land Rover + 2014 Range Rover Hybrids (thescoutlife.com)
- How Many Land Rovers Are Left (mcdonaldlandrover4x4.wordpress.com)
- Jaguar Land Rover global sales up 35% in October (news.in.msn.com)
- Video: British-made Land Rover too strong for US Dodge Ram (coventrytelegraph.net)
- Jaguar Land Rover breaks £1bn profit barrier (telegraph.co.uk)
This article was written by Rupert Astbury