Not the American synonym for a beginner’s class, the Land Rover 101 is far from an entry-level model.
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 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 (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’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 (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.
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 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 (picture from Wikipedia)
The 101 refused to roll over though, they even made it into film history!
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?
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
www.mcdonaldlandrover.co.uk or see me on Google+
This article was written by Rupert Astbury