design - Land Rover section



American series Land Rover owners tend to think of Land Rovers as extremely well engineered vehicles carefully designed to last virtually forever. There is a large very vocal school who believe this careful design should not be modified at all and any tampering with the drive train will take away from the well engineered design and make it something other than a" Land Rover"

The rest of the world's position tends to be: That the Land Rover is an excellent platform which if desired can easily be redesigned and modified to meet an individual's needs. And that there is nothing "sacred" about the drive train bits that came from the factory.

There was a very long e-mail list (LRO) thread about the importance of keeping a Land Rover with a stock drive train verses modifying it to meet the needs of the owner.

From the discussion:

> I'm sure that in 1948 Maurice remarked, "You know, this vehicle is a heap
> of crap and, quite honestly, I'm ashamed of it. My conscience is also
> bothering me: these things are going to have a high selling price and they
> are so flawed and irregular--simply trash. Though that's okay. We
> designed them so that the people who buy them will be able to make their
> own modifications and change them 'round. Nevertheless, it still seems a
> pity to ask such a high price for the things and then expect people to be
> forced to go out and have to purchase another engine to replace these
> worthless lumps we're installing. Alas, I'm certain that 20 year old kids
> in the year 2001 will understand that we so poorly engineered these things
> that they have to be rebuilt by their owners to be any good." Of course,
> Maurice Wilkes didn't say that and if the factory-stock Land-Rover had been
> as bad as some people make them out to be, Rover wouldn't have ever sold a
> single unit. For that matter, Rover, much less Land-Rover, would probably
> have never survived.


Reply by Frank Elson:

According to Tom 'Mr. Land Rover' Barton, who was around at the time and who I have actually spoken to, the thought was:

'We have to get a vehicle out into the boonies to sell and bring a few pounds in. This old Jeep I'm running around on Anglesey seems OK, it is very good on the farm. If we make a copy of it, we'll have to use aluminum for the body 'cos the government won't give us any steel, and make the chassis up out of the few off-cuts of steel we can get hold of, and use this old Rover car engine COs we've got the tooling for it.

Note from TeriAnn: The gearbox they chose was an off the shelf one used in Rover cars since 1932.

We might sell a few to farmers, like me, and get a few quid into the coffers while we sort out what to do with the cars.'

(Not a perfect quote, but the gist of what he said)

Note from TeriAnn: A story I heard told is that the "designers" went around to a bunch of farms in the Scottish country side to measure the width of farm gates and made the width of the Land Rover body to fit inside the Scottish farm gates. There may or may not be any real truth to this story but I pass it on as it was passed too me by Jim 'Scotty' Howat. On the other hand it could have just been governed by the width of current jeep axles.

The fact that a company called Land Rover might ever see the light of day was totally incomprehensible in those days of 1947. They didn't even see the thing lasting more than a couple of years.

> All this engine swapping nonsense shows a complete lack of understanding of
> Rover's history and how the Land-Rover came about

See above. Nobody even considered in their wildest dreams that they would build a Series II or later version' Land Rover.

> I didn't buy a Land-Rover expecting it to be a perfect vehicle and I
> accepted it for what it was. People accept most other vehicles for what
> they are: why can't they do it with Land-Rovers?

Because the technology exists to improve it.

> The thing that bothers me about these homemade hybrids is that they are not
> being designed by automotive engineers. For that matter, they're not even
> being approached in a very scientific manner at all. Engineering or
> re-engineering a car is not for amateurs.

Gifted amateurs, without stockholders to answer to, can often do a better job than the professionals. No financial bottom line y'see. I've seen Land Rovers, and other vehicles, made far better than the original that came out of the factory with a stockholder breathing down the neck of the makers.

> I have to seriously question the abilities of some
> of the people currently contemplating re-engineering their Land-Rovers. Do
> these people have the capabilities to perform testing with computer models
> of how all their modifications will work out? I doubt it.

I have to seriously question your ability to comment on some of the people currently contemplating re-engineering their Land-Rovers. How many of them have you met?

Over the years I have met 'amateur' engineers who, because of the unlimited time they have and because the end-cost does not matter - only the result - have totally out-engineered the professionals. Also, the vehicle you seem to like in its original guise was not built with the aid of computers. They didn't have any at Solihull in 1947.

> Obviously, the manufacturer (as well as many others) does
> not recognize the Land-Rover-bodied bastards as being Land-Rovers and why
> should they? They aren't anything more than a Land-Rover bodyshell in the end.

On my many visits to the Land Rover factory I frequently see 'hybrid' vehicles being evaluated. Hell, my own IVECO engined vehicle was given the once over (and the seal of approval as in 'that fits very well') at the factory.

They are interested in anything anyone does to a Land Rover, they just can't invite every altered Land Rover for a look-see and, anyway, they aren't very interested in any Land Rover more than five years old. They only sell new ones you see.

Note from TeriAnn:  I have a picture of a 1967 88 (Owned by Dunsfield) used by the Land Rover factory as a V8 test bed.  Long before Rover purchased tooling for the Buick V8 they stuffed into the Range Rover and Stage I.

> What these Land-Rover engine swappers are doing is creating collections of unrelated
> parts that have no value except to their owners.

So who should your car have a value to, other than yourself? A car thief?

Note from TeriAnn: So far, every Land Rover with an engine conversion made by Timm Cooper that I have seen go up for sale has sold for between 1.5 to 2 times the current value of a corresponding stock Land Rover. Mind you Timm's conversions are well engineered and professionally done. Poorly thought out or executed conversions may sell for way less than the value of a stock rig.

Best Cheers


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