Work in progress: 1988 One Ten County SW

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'The Rat' takes shape : credit: © John Bell
John Bell, Fly fishing instructor and net maker from Loch Lomond, Scotland, tells us about his project...

How long have you owned it?

I got ‘The Rat’ – as it’s now called – in March 2023, so not long in the grand scheme of things. It’s called that because we found a dead one inside when we were taking it apart.

What made you want to buy this particular Land Rover?

I was a Ford fanatic in my youth, but liked the appeal of a Land Rover as a project because parts supply is so plentiful and you can get everything you need quickly and easily. Click a couple of buttons and the bits turn up in a few days’ time. You can’t do that with a lot of Ford parts these days.

A labour of love

What’s the story so far?

I’m slowly chipping away at the project, fitting it into any spare time I have, which is thin on the ground at the moment! So far I’ve stripped down the One Ten to a big pile of parts, but the hard work is just beginning.

What has the biggest challenge been?

Finding time to make meaningful progress at the minute. I’m trying to keep things rolling by concentrating on one area at a time and doing little and often, like tackling each of the axles one at a time, ready to go back on. But rebuilding a Land Rover definitely isn’t a five-minute job. Who knew?

John is seeking perfection for the final build

Any other areas that needed a lot of attention?

All of them. I’m trying to rebuild this Land Rover to the very best of my ability and have been known to be a bit of a perfectionist so everything will be either restored or replaced. It’s destined to be a full nut-and-bolt rebuild where no stone is left unturned.

How long has it taken?

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Eight months so far, just to pull it apart. But a chunk of that time was taken up by building a shed to undertake The Rat’s rebuild so eight months is probably a bit inaccurate when it comes to time taken just working on the Land Rover. Having the shed is great though, well worth the extra time spent.

New chassis had to wait for the shed to be built first

What jobs are next on the list?

My goal is to have the rolling chassis built up and sat on four wheels by March 2024, but only time will tell.

What are your plans with it?

To enjoy the project, then use the Land Rover as much as possible to feel the benefit of the hard work. The funny thing is, I am 5ft 11 and not a small guy, and I have never driven a Land Rover like this before. So I will have to wait until it’s finished before I make up my mind about what people say about them. That will be the interesting day, when I take it for its first MoT.

Who has helped with the project?

My young friend Wee Bud has been a great help and he is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable as he is a car nut through and through.

Any advice for anyone doing something similar?

I think projects have always made up a part of my life, so while a Land Rover is different to things I’ve done before, it’s a similar experience. I find I must have some sort of project on the go to keep my brain ticking over; you either have that mind-set built-in or you don’t. In the beginning there is enthusiasm, excitement and adrenaline. The halfway point is where it can all go wrong for different reasons, normally either lack of money, time or dwindling interest. Then for the final push, you must stay strong, keep to your budget (or just don’t tell the wife if you have one). This can be the hardest part, but staying mentally tough to get over the finish line and see the outcome can be very satisfying.

How can readers follow what you’re doing next?

@thelomondangler on Instagram. Look out for The Rat coming!

 

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