To be kind to the engineers in the Solihull, UK, the endeavor is pretty much like taking a large garden tractor and setting it free on public roads. These vehicles were slow, even downhill with a tail wind, hard on the spine and electronically, the Lucas wiring has commonly been referred to as the “Prince of Darkness” by all who have ever seen themselves on the side of the road at 11:00 PM.
Many find this rugged exterior attractive and its boxy shape is often copied by the likes of a Blazer, Scout, or a Bronco and of course Jeep. The Land Rover was one of the first and has a religious following around the world.
Our client wanted to keep the classic exterior of the Land Rover even down to the weathered looking appearance on the outside zinc plated trim. The big changes we made focused on the driveline and the functional parts that allow for ease of driving. In this case we added heated and cooled front seats, all new custom gauges with modern electronics to make sure the new motor was able to communicate with the driver safely and acurately.
Of course a modern heating and a powerful A/C was manditory for the driver. Humidity while on patrol in the middle of down town traffic was a must.
The real heart and soul of this project aims squarely at putting a modern, powerful, dependable, internal combustion engine in place of the four banger that Rover put in all these trucks. In Rovers defense engineering has progressed considerably since 1971 and we planned on taking full advantage of this.
The 2.0 L (1998 cc) turbocharged direct injection version of the gen III Ecotec was available in the 2013 Cadillac ATS and Chevrolet Malibu. This engine produces 272 HP and 295 ft. lbs. of torque. Bore and stroke are both 86.0 millimeters (3.39 in), compression is 9.5:1. The engine uses twin-scroll turbocharger with electronically controlled wastegate/bypass valve, air-to-air intercooler, stainless steel dual-scroll (1–4, 2–3) exhaust manifold designed to withstand 980 °C (1,800 °F) turbine temperature, and rotacast aluminum alloy (A356T6) cylinder head with sodium-filled exhaust valves. Maximum engine speed is listed at 7000 RPM. This was a far cry from anything Land Rover made in the 70’s.
The transmission was upgraded to a Tremec T56 6-speed manual transmission. Which has been further coupled to a Forbyn Brothers 2:1 Hi, 1:1 Lo transfer case. The axles are original Land Rover Salisbury Military – 4.11 Gears w/ Detroit TrueTrac. All this new horsepower is brought to a stop with a Forbyn Brothers 4-Wheel Disc brake system. Not your average driveline for 1971.
All in all, this old Land Rover has taken on an entirely new existence, it will be used with the simple turn of key, without any needed preamble or prayer that the old lump will start. On those blazing hot summer days or freezing winter mornings, the driver can rest assured the motor will fire up with ease and get the rider home, safe and sound.