Land Rover 101

Not the American synonym for a beginner’s class, the Land Rover 101 is far from an entry-level model.

Land Rover 101

Land Rover 101 (picture from Wikipedia)

Originally developed from the 109″ model chassis, Land Rover’s 1962 Series 2A was a cab-forward design aimed at the commercial market.

LAnd Rover Series 2A

Land Rover Series 2A Recovery Vehicle (picture from Wikipedia)

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.

Land Rover Series 2B Forward Control

Land Rover Series 2B Forward Control (picture from Wikipedia)

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 101 with Field Gun

Land Rover 101 with Field Gun

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.

Land Rover 101 Ambulance

Land Rover 101 Ambulance (picture from Tractor and Construction Wikia)

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.

Land Rover 101 Camper

James Stephenson’s Tigger Land Rover 101 Camper (picture from

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?

BAE Pinzgauer

BAE Systems Pinzgauer (picture from Wikipedia)

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!

Land Rover Llama

Land Rover Llama (picture from Wikipedia)

The 101 refused to roll over though, they even made it into film history!

Judge Dredd Land Rover 101

Judge Dredd’s Land Rover 101! (picture from Wikipedia)

Some thirty models were converted into the finished article, although only a handful remain in working condition. Ain’t she a beauty?

Further Reading;

You Tube 101 Off-road Video 1

You Tube 101 Off-road Video 2

You Tube War & Peace Video 3

Wikipedia: Land Rover Series

Wikipedia: Land Rover 101

Wikipedia: Land Rover Llama

Winwaed’s Land Rover Page

101 Forward Control Club Website or see me on Google+

This article was written by Rupert Astbury


4 thoughts on “Land Rover 101

  1. I’d love a 101 and in fact I’m just in the process of deciding to either convert a 109″ ambulance or a 101 to a camper. The 109″ ambulances are far cheaper and use more standard parts so I guess that is where I’ll probably go but the 101 has a certain draw to it despite people telling me they are awful to drive any distance in (as a driver) 🙂

    By the way, I just stumbled across your blog by accident. You have some nice posts here but they aren’t all visible in the wordpress reader because they don’t appear to be tagged. It might be an idea to add some tags to the posts such as Land Rover, 101, 4×4 etc and then they will appear in wordpress topic searches and potentially will also be used by search engines too. I generally put half a dozen tags against each of my posts.

    • Thank you, Mud4Fun, I’ll look into tagging posts!

      If you need any help or advice about renovations or restorations of either 101s or 109s please email us as we can quote for parts or doing the work. The boss used to be the secretary of Muddy Millers 4X4 club and was involved in the 101 owners club for years. There’s their project 101 ambulance stored here, awaiting just the kind of time and motivation you’re talking about!

      We proudly restored a pair of 101 Forward Control beasts for Great Tew Estates complete with cages for gun dogs and a trailer for the armoury. From rusting hulks to real beauties, we restored and revived them. Brought a tear to the eye to see them go!

      Good luck with your choices, let us know how it goes!


  2. Wow those 101’s you restored look gorgeous, as is the estate they went to work on 🙂
    (I won’t ask how much they cost!)

    I’m nearing completion of my 88″ rebuild which will hopefully be back on the road in spring and after that I’ll be looking at the camper project. Sadly I only get about 6 weeks a year to work on the vehicles so these projects take forever to complete but I enjoy doing the work myself, well as much as I can anyway. I’m a tad too far from you for servicing work (I’m in North Lincolnshire) but I’ll certainly have a look at your website for parts.



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