Been ages since I've used a series other than road testing customer cars, but as I had to break the 110 I keep in Africa and as Defender prices have gone through the roof there, I thought I'd try my hand at a spot of retro overlanding and picked up a nice S2a 109 safari station wagon as a temporary stopgap - sight unseen, and had it delivered to a mates.
Apart from a couple of offensive additions (laminate floorboard dash, quickly ripped out & brown velvet Toyota cressida front seats) I hit lucky and it's remarkably original with barely a dent and almost no rust. New rad, water pump, engine tune up and an oil change later and ran it up to Mozambique waiting for the first round of spanner time.... which never came!
Absolutely love the 2.6 six cylinder engine - torque not far off a tdi, silky smooth and got over 22mpg overall - not bad for a 50s engine and 80p/litre for petrol it doesn't matter too much. Compared to the old 2.25 petrol or diesel it was a pleasure to drive - no slowing down on hills! Great through soft sand as well, at one point I helped tow a speedboat through very deep coastal sand tracks, passing a brand new Range Rover that was bogged to the floorpan.
Well after making it to Moz without a breakdown we chanced a trip through Kruger (the wuffly engine was great for game viewing, rattly tdis & td5s scare the animals off) and Swaziland - whole trip I never had to fix anything, don't think I ever had that with a defender 😏 but did miss a bit of tool time. Great journey and great to reconnect with some of those early landy features.