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Reliable, Insurance and Pick up -> hard top?

Max 110

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Hello, I am looking to buy a series 3 as a first car due to the low insurance and the fact I love old land rovers! (They are one of the cheapest to insure!)

I am looking at this currently: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/LAND-ROVER-88-BLACK-1972-DIESEL-/290515552582?pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item43a4138946#ht_556wt_1141

All looks good just need to check on the engine change for insurance, does anyone know if a non-standard engine fit would push the price of insurance up?

Also as it will be my first car how reliable would one of these beasties be? I am quite mechanical (I have rebuilt engines and worked on some cars before) so I would be able to fix minor issues myself.

I would like to have a hard top on the landy can it be easily changed and seats fitted in the rear? Or is this not possible?

If anyone could help me out it would be most kind.

Merry Christmas!

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I'm going to assume you are about 17 or 18 as you've not mentioned your age.

The non-standard engine could prove to be a problem in getting insurance. Some insurance companies may be okay with it, others are not. I'm with Footman James and they have a restriction of a 25% power increase over stock for 21-25 year old drivers. I do not know if it applies to 17-21 as well.

Reliability of a Series is entirely down to its condition. They are all very old now, and most were used in a commercial environment for years. This means many are fecked or have been put back together badly (e.g. poor workmanship or quality of parts). But even in a very tired and worn out state they are generally okay providing you are happy to work on it as and when needed. That may mean for the first year of ownership you could be working on it every week to keep it going, with it gradually getting better as you fix all the previous owner bodges and parts that have expired - or you could have a trouble free year of motoring with mild maintenance if you're fortunate.

You can change body types as you wish too. So you can fit a hard top as you would like, and you can fit bench seats with relative ease.

In my own opinion the vehicle you've linked to on Ebay looks pretty horrid on the surface, but I guess if that's your thing. :lol:

Oh and don't get drawn into the shiney paintwork and bling - there are lots and lots of Land Rovers that have been tarted up but are still a turd.

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insurance is going to be the biggest problem.

quite a few companies will insure a 17/18 year old on an old series landrover providing its standard.

when i started out with my lightweight as standard with a 2.25 petrol it was about £1500 fully comp, own policy. as soon as i put the v8 in it shot up to about £2400 (that was a hell of a chunk out of my wages each month!) now im 19 with a bit of no claims bonus its down to just under £1700 (and it'll be an extra 10% if i want to increase the engine from a 3.5 to a 3.9)

im insured by nfu for a number of reasons, the price seems competitive enough (look how much it costs to get insurance on a 1.2 corsa for example using all the price comparison sites). i have an nfu office less than a mile down the road so contact is always prompt and its nice being able to talk to someone face to face. they dont mind modifications and apart from the engine change none of my other mods put the insurance up.

reliability - use genuine/oem parts and it'll end up just a case of basic maintenance.

that vehicle looks nice and shiney, i dont like the arches. but more importantly theres no pictures of any of the important bits like engine and chassis

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The non-standard (and non-LR) engine may cause a problem, NFU and Adrian Flux are most open to that sort of thing (I had a 3.9 V8 in my 109 at 20 insured by flux) but most normal insurers are jumpy anough about young folk without mentioning modifications.

The one on eBay looks a bit too shiny, although the galv chassis is a good thing. I'd be more interested in what sort of lash-up the engine conversion is and how good the mechanicals are under it all.

Reliability is entirely down to individual vehicles, and condition rather than age/miles. Series are very basic, easy to fix and if maintained properly will last several lifetimes. But maintenance is the key, they are not a modern car and require more regular attention than most people bother with. You need a good grease gun and a set of spanners, but there is nothing on it you can't fix yourself.

Going rag-top is easy enough, as is fitting seats - just don't expect your mates to be queuing up for the bench seat in the back. That said, you can have a party in the back of a 109 ;)

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Thanks for the replies guys!

I dont think I will be going for the one in my origional post.

I am looking at another 88 truck cab - £1800 with a 200tdi engine, all the off roading stuff aswell. Just hasnt got the galvanised chassis that I was looking for, it also has quite alot of bodywork damage from off roading, do you think that thats a reasonable price?

Thanks Max

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It's difficult to say without seeing the Land Rover. But from your vague description, the asking price seems a little on the steep side if it's been bashed about. I'd like to make you aware that the 200TDi will possibly make it uninsurable if you are a young driver. When I enquired about the fitting of a TDi, insurance companies just laughed and turned me away or came out with a stupidly high quotation.

I think you would be best to set out with a stock motor. That way you will have no insurance problems and can adapt it as you please as time goes by. It would also give the greatest chances of a reliable vehicle too.

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I would be looking at a 2.25 petrol Series II or Series III. Personally I think a Series with a 200Tdi conversion might be very sensible and logical in terms of economy and performance, but it just doesn't have the same character as the petrol, with it's burbly exhaust and lovely simple systems.

They cost a lot to run MPG-wise though (as they are, at least) so I would say if you can afford it get a 2.25 petrol, if not then a 200Tdi may be the sensible choice. It will incur extra costs due to the modification though, as Rich highlights above.

A nice non fiddled with Series is a rarer thing since everyone started re-building them and putting 200Tdis and what not in, I toyed with the idea when I did mine but decided to stay with the stock (38-year-old) engine and I'm very glad I did :)

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Can any give me an idea whae sort of MPH a 2.25 petrol will give on average?

Thank you,

MPH or MPG? :P

MPH: I can get about 55-60mph out of mine on a good run (downhill :P), that's with an overdrive and 7.50s. Don't know if it's accurate as never checked with a GPS, but that's what's indicated.

MPG: I've never worked mine out. Generally accepted figure is around 15-20 mpg I believe, but if I'm honest I'd rather not know! Mine's a toy so fuel consumption doesn't matter to much. If I were using it every day I'd either do some work to make it a bit more efficient (been toying with EFI-ing it anyway, but that would help) or cave in and fit a diesel.

What is annoying is that even the worst pig of a 3.5l V8 on carbs will have far more power for the same (or possibly even better) MPG than the 2.25 petrol, so it kind of makes any work on it logically pointless. But if one is following logic they'd just go out and buy a eurobox like everyone else :lol:

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The 2.25 petrol with o/d should manage 70mph if you're prepared to get it there.

I wouldn't be put off by a 200tdi/other LR engine, Flux were fine with my 200tdi (all be it in 90!) and I was 19 :)

The fact that it is in a 90 can make all the difference! They were fitted to 90s, if not at the time yours was built. They were never fitted to a Series from factory, and that can make a big difference.

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Hi all,

In answer to a few questions...

I've had my S3 from the age of 16 and insurance wasn't too bad while she was standard, I think I paid £1200 TPFT for the first few years, with my Dad as a named driver.

MPH wise, I can crack 80 on the flat with the overdrive engaged. That's with a rebuilt 2.25 Petrol, Unleaded head and 235/75 R16's. That's a GPS checked 80MPH as well!

MPG wise, last time I drove to Wales I managed a consistent 22MPG. This was with a cruising speed of 60ish.

My old girls had a few upgrades now, with disc fronts, parabolics, LPG, Overdrive and rock sliders. BUT, most importantly, I can go everywhere my Dad goes in his V8 90 with a 2" lift, and in some cases further!

Get a S3 2.25 petrol...you'll love every second of driving it, I know I do


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Im 23 And Iv just got my modified lightweight with a 200tdi insured for just under a grand fully comp with footman and James, Which were the ONLY company to give me a quote out of the 9 big names I tried, Classic car policy.

I Did unfortunately smash up my disco in December so that doesn't help :(

But my 200tdi is totally reliable, maintenance free, and does 30mpg so over a year I save around £500 in fuel :)

Pro's n cons

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