Rev's restore

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20 June 2023
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The team first removed the hardtop : credit: © Eimear Hyland
New mental health and wellbeing project launches with the stripdown of a 1975 Series III

The REVS Restore project brings people together, encouraging community, providing a place of support for times when people are facing challenges in their lives. How many times have you gone to a Land Rover event, spoken to like-minded people and come away with lifted spirits? This is the same idea.

Plenty of enthusiasm shown on the first weekend of the restoration project

The cause was kindly donated a 1975 Series III 109in by Tim Compson, for a group restoration project supporting REVS aims – hence the name: REVS Restore. 

The 109in has a bit of interesting history. It was initially supplied to a UK dealer as a standard Marine Blue truck cab and then converted to a mobile water pump for airport work. Although unclear at what point, it was then exported to the Falklands where it was pressed into airport duties during the 1982 conflict and spent many years over on the island, returning to the UK in the late 1990s. Today it has had the water pump removed, but the PTO, some pipework and identification plaques for the inlets and outlets still exist on the body. At some point during its stay in the Falklands, it gained a hard top with tropical roof and had been running around Norfolk in this configuration until it was SORNed and taken off the road a few years ago.

Rust-crusted fixings were forecast but mainly didn’t materialise

The REVS group was very kindly allowed access to the Heritage Skills Academy workshop, which encourages and trains younger people in the heritage car industry. It’s based on the Bicester Heritage site, so was the ideal base for the first weekend of the restoration. After much planning and generous donations from sponsors including Britpart and Laser Tools, on the weekend of 28 January, the first REVS Restore weekend kicked off.

Adam, Richard, Chloë, Anne, Jon, Mike, Mark, Ralph, Alisdair, Tim, Ian, Adam and myself began by stripping and assessing this ex-Falklands 109in. Having been involved in plenty of Land Rover restorations – for both work and pleasure – I was sure the barrage of sea air from island life would have rusted every nut and bolt solid, but it wasn’t and no one can work out why. I think the Rev’s big boss must have played a part in this…

Not every nut and bolt surrendered without a fight…

​​​​​​To keep the vehicle rolling for storage, we took the decision to take a rather unconventional plan of attack, by starting at the back and working our way forwards. The rear tail door complete with hinges was first removed, followed by the hard top complete with the upper body sides – what the Solihull production line used to affectionately call ‘the Wendy House’. This was put aside, while the rear lights, harness and fittings were removed in readiness for the rear body removal. Although some of the underbody fixings to the chassis put up a fight, by Saturday lunchtime the rear body tub was removed from the chassis, and we celebrated with mugs of tea and large quantities of biscuits and muffins.

The Rev, top left, has a very hands-on approach to the restoration project

As 48 years of dirt was removed from the chassis, we all stood there in disbelief. ‘‘How can it be this good?’’ was repeated several times. It was 100 per cent solid, with no rot whatsoever, and even large areas of the original factory paint that hadn’t seen daylight since 1975 on the Solihull production line were found. The remarkably rot-free fuel tank was removed and the chassis rolled out to the wash bay for a very comprehensive power-wash. It was rolled back into the workshop overnight, and we retired to eat and chat the night away at the very pleasant Wriggly Monkey Brewery, based on the Bicester Heritage site.

Writer Greg King, right, gets stuck in

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​​​​​​Sunday saw a slower start – the site was hosting ‘Japanese January Assembly’, so it was busy from first thing with the noise of turbo wastegates and exhausts popping and banging. A quick shopping trip to buy flap discs and abrasives was needed as we got further into the project than anticipated: meanwhile, harness and brake pipe clips, check straps, springs and dampers were removed or loosened to allow for the preparation of the chassis. The team separated into two work streams – one concentrating on the chassis, the other the rear body – and some great progress was made.

And they’re off! Well almost. There’ll be a few more weekends’ work before this project is done

All too quickly we were packing down and cleaning the Heritage Skills Academy workshop, ready for the apprentices to return on Monday morning.

A great time was had by all and we’re all looking forward to the next working weekend.

 

Meet the Rev himself

Reverend Adam Gompertz, or the Rev, is the chaplain for Bicester Heritage and heads up REVS – a car community that seeks to promote wellbeing for people who love all things with an engine. It was started as a way to engage with people who don’t go to church. The Rev himself is deeply embedded in the automotive world, having worked as a car designer at both MG Rover and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, and has loved cars since childhood.

 

Get involved

Go on, volunteer – you’ll be helping a good cause and there are some incentives…

Regardless of your mechanical or DIY ability, we’d like you to get involved. You can find out more about the project on Facebook – just search for REVS-Limiter on Facebook or @REVSRestore on Instagram. Any help in funding this non-profit community project, and the further work of REVS, would also be greatly welcomed. Donations to this great cause can be made through justgiving.com/crowdfunding/revs-restore.

 

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