The latest episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” features a 1972 Land Rover Series III that was used by the British military. Current owner Alex Grappo, who also owns a Porsche 959, explains that this Land Rover is a genuine “X-MOD” or “ex-Ministry of Defence” Series III. These Land Rovers were used in service along the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. This particular Land Rover was built with a long 109-inch wheelbase and is powered by a 2.6-liter inline-6 engine. Land Rover estimated 70 horsepower and 120 lb-ft of torque, but Grappo believes these figures may be “optimistic.” The power is distributed to all four wheels through a 4-speed manual transmission, and the Series III was the first Land Rover with synchromesh gears.
The Land Rover Series III was the last of the Series Land Rover models, replacing the Series II which had been in production since 1958. The Series I was the original Land Rover Series model that launched the Land Rover brand in 1948. After the Series III, Land Rover briefly switched to 90 and 110 nomenclature for its traditional models before rebranding them as the Defender.
This Land Rover may be a bit slow for modern traffic, but Grappo has taken it to Moab and attests to its off-road capabilities. Although information about its service history is scarce, Grappo believes it was an FFR model used as a radio truck. He confides that the small box on the driver’s side front fender was used as a mounting point for communications equipment. One thing is for sure, Grappo’s Land Rover gets plenty of attention wherever it goes.
The Land Rover Series III has become a classic and is sought after by avid collectors. Its longevity is a testament to its ruggedness and reliability. It was designed to be a utilitarian vehicle that could take on any challenge. Land Rover’s reputation for producing durable, off-road vehicles only adds to the Series III’s allure.
The Land Rover Series III was produced from 1971 to 1985, and during that time it underwent a few changes. The headlights were moved to the wings in 1972, and in 1979 the traditional “barrel side” body was replaced by a more modern “flat-side” design. The Series III also introduced disc brakes and power steering, making it a more comfortable ride than its predecessors.
As a military vehicle, the Land Rover Series III was designed to be easily maintained and repaired. Its parts were interchangeable with other Land Rover models, making it easy to source replacement parts. Its simple mechanical design also made it easy to work on, which is one reason why it remained in service for so many years.
The Land Rover Series III has a long and fascinating history. Its role along the Berlin Wall during the Cold War is a testament to its durability and versatility. It was designed to be a no-frills vehicle that could take on any challenge, whether it was navigating rough terrain, transporting troops, or serving as a radio truck. Its popularity with collectors is a testament to its timeless design and its reputation as a classic off-road vehicle.
In conclusion, the Land Rover Series III is a classic off-road vehicle that has stood the test of time. Its rugged design, reliable performance, and utilitarian nature make it a favorite among collectors and off-road enthusiasts. The Land Rover Series III used by the British military during the Cold War is a real gem, and its appearance on “Jay Leno’s Garage” is sure to spark interest among fans of classic vehicles.