Work in Progress: 1983 Series III SWB


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Jonathan's SIII returns to the road : credit: © Jonathan Baker
Jonathan Baker, a Gaming Digital Project Manager, takes us through his current project...

Tell us about yourself and this project:

I’ve owned over 20 vehicles, but the Series III has been with me the longest time – ten years. I’ve only just put it on the road again. I found it on eBay in late April 2012. It was ex-farm owned and quite scruffy but had a solid chassis and overdrive.

What’s the story so far?

It failed its first MoT so I fitted new parabolic springs, shock absorbers, adjusted a swivel housing and fitted some new ball joints.

In 2017 I decided to repaint it using a gun and a compressor. It was much harder than I expected and there was a lot of filling, sanding and repainting as I was not happy with the first attempt. I also soundproofed the interior and painted it, too. I also made my own vinyl trim panels using 6mm ply. I wish I’d bought pre-made trim panels, but where’s the fun in that? The bonnet has also had soundproofing added.

Wood-rimmed steering wheel adds some refinement

What else have you done?

The rear ladder and swing-away wheel carrier were added last year. Storing the wheel on the internal bulkhead is a pain, especially with 235 tyres.

For the MoT I had the brakes completely rebuilt and LED indicators/side/brake/tail lights fitted. Earlier this year it also had a new clutch fitted along with a new radiator, hoses, water pump and rebuilt handbrake.

How is the engine running? Are you planning on replacing it?

It’s the original 2.25 diesel. It’s not a refined power unit. However, it had new glow plugs fitted along with a larger battery. It will cough into life even after a couple of months of not being started. The long-term plan is to replace the engine with either a 300Tdi or Rover V8.

List some of the new bits not yet mentioned.

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New seats, carpeted box arches, boot floor and both sides of internal bulkhead, Wolf steels painted in sandstone with Radar AT5 235-section tyres, drums, pads, springs
all-round including rebuild of handbrake drum, radiator, water pump, thermostat, syncro gearboxes quick-shift kit, alternator, aux fuse box, load bay LED light and front cab light, 12V/USB2 outlet front and rear, Superlite wood-rimmed steering wheel, Bluetooth amp speakers, headlining using four-way stretch carpet applied over 5mm sound insulation and door tops.

Queue balls are a nice touch

What is the hardest part of the project?

Finding the time. I have two young children, work full-time and don’t have the garage space that I once did to do all the work that I want to do.

When will it be finished?

Some would argue that a Series Land Rover will never be finished. Phase 1 was completing the interior electrics including the stereo. Phase 2 would be the V8 and then it will be as close to finished as I can get, but things will always need fixing along the way.

Who is helping you with the project?

My Dad has helped me a lot. I’ve had a few wobbles over the last 18 months about whether to keep it but now that it is on the road they have gone away.

Any other projects on the go?

I used to have a 2005 Discovery 3 HSE, but one Land Rover is enough!