Phil’s Lightweight Land Rover (Air‑Portable) site

aka — Truck Utility, General Service, 1/2 Ton, 4x4, Rover Series 3


My first Lightweight (early series 3)






my first Land Rover Lightweight

my old lightweight

These 2 pictures were taken in May 1993 at Rickmansworth canal festival, I’d recently got the Lightweight at auction, direct release from the RAF where it had probably been used for glider recovery. They painted them high‑vis yellow so plane/glider pilots would see them from the air. It also had a clear plastic ‘sun roof’ panel set in the canvas over the cab so the crew could see the planes. This looks pretty much as it did when I bought it except for new rear bench seats, re‑sprayed wheels shod with Colway 205 r16s, some foam pipe insulation as a steering wheel glove (stops your fingers going numb from vibration at 70 mph) and a civi’ tow ball on a drop plate that I’d transferred along with the registration number, Webber carb and Kenlowe fan from the 1962 series 2A that had been my first Land Rover. It even had that clever drop‑down hinged number plate carrier so it was legal to drive with the tailgate down, but like almost everyone else I moved the plate and light to the left hand rear panel the first time I took off the tailgate to fit a hard top and ‘safari’ rear door.

my old lightweight2

Camping in Aquitaine July 1993

In retrospect the ‘Mk3 Cortina’ green may have been a bit of a mistake.
camping in Aquitaine camping in Aquitaine
The only hitch in the 2,000 mile round trip was a failed dipped beam in the left hand headlamp. They don’t use sealed beam units on french cars (too American) but I found one, with help from the AA, at a Mini specialist. I had the right headlamp dipping to the left and the left one dipping to the right for a while, not exactly legal but it worked well both sides of the channel. Remarkably consistent 17.5 MpG, so switching over to the second tank when it started to chug got me nearly 350 miles between fill‑ups.
camping in Aquitaine

Wedding charriot for my sister-in-law (Dewsbury July 1995)

lightweight as wedding car

Every autumn for 5 years I fitted the old 2A hardtop to the Lightweight (you can see the lower back door hinge on the ‘wedding’ photo above) and then the following April I took it off and re‑fitted the sticks and canvas. I’d covered between 10 and 12 thousand road miles a year, occasionally towing a caravan or a 3 ton boat trailer and done a bit of green laning. It had ‘eaten’ two re‑con gearboxes and I eventually couldn’t afford the repairs it needed (chassis, gearbox & engine). I 'donated' it to Nene Overland about 1998 and replaced it with a 1989 V8 110 CSW. I don't know if Nene rebuilt it or scrapped it, the registration number was probably worth more than the car.