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4x4 Sherpa


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Haven't seen a Sherpa 4x4 for years.

Used to be a few around here operated by Ferranti (as was).

My brother in law used to work at Freight Rover and, if I recall correctly, the 4wd system had something to do with Massey Ferguson.

I think the nato paint is a red (green?) herring. I don't think they saw military service. Definitely not squaddie proof.

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I used to work for an LDV/DAF main dealer. We used to get a 4x4 Convoy in for local demo's for time to time, although the vehicle in the picture pre-dates my time with LDV and is the much older 'Freight Rover' type model.

The conversion on the larger Convoy model wasn't done by LDV but by a third party engineering outfit who's name I can't remember for the life of me. It definitely wasn't Ferguson or County but used some LR content. It was crude, noisy and not very reliable. Bit like an LDV really!

Funnily enough, the last demo we had, the front prop came adrift in the outside lane of the M1 on its way back to the factory. The dealership and the 4x4 converters were still arguing about responisbility 6-months after the event when I left the company.


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Our armed forces bought some. Also the USAF bought quite a few Sherpa variants - both van and light pick-ups - for UK base use in the 1980s as part of Industrial Offset purchases, so it could be one of theirs.

Could be one of Marshall's Special Vehicles conversions, but more likely to have come out of Washwood Heath. Model is a K2. I think a number of Sherpas used the Series 3 wing air intake.

By the way, just to show how penny pinching our motor industry was, the rear part of a Sherpa [and the current Pilot] has exactly the same body pressings as the Austin J4, which dates from the early 1960's!! Other parts eminated from the Morris Oxford/Austin Cambridge, and from Land Rover. Standard gearbox came from the MGC.

Vehicle below built as a protype in 1984 for the Gas Board. Electricity Board almost certainly had some. They were built with a 4 speed box - the part time 4WD points towards the Series 3 front axle. Freight Rover used the 2.5 NA and TD engines, but this particular vehicle was built with a 2 litre O series engine derived from the Morris Marina.

The vehicle shown above definitely has Series front axle; also appears to have a TDi intercooler [but it could be a late conversion to a 200 TDi]. Could have been built for Harrier support for RAF [but I would have expected LHD for duty in Germany] or for Army communications - look at the roof platform.




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  • 2 years later...

I know this is a Very old post but my Sister has A301WOF Which is a 4x4 sherpa minibus with the princess 2.0litre engine. Ex Balmoral Castle i went up there and there was a picture of it in the museum bit... :D i'll try to get some piccie's it's in serious need of love and affection...

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I have had the dubius pleasure of looking after an LDV Boxvan and a mini bus that had factory? 4x4 conversions, they are both still in use but we converted them to 2 wd.

Bolts on the king pins were alway coming loose and the mini bus was set up so the 2nd row passangers could play with the transfer leaver while you were driving.

The only part of the conversion I liked was the styr remote transfer box. This would be ideal for dropping any engine gear box combination into a defender.

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To add more confusion or interest depnding on your point of view....a mate has one, ex-forestry, in a similar colour to bronze green it came with a petrol 2 litre I think but now has a perkins prima...... he was told on purchase some time ago that the gearbox or transfer box is from a triumph..?? He hasn't broken it so hasn't had to find out.....yet..! The axles do look Rover type but not exact and I don't know what they are.

My 2p...can find out more if anyone really wants to know.


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I used to have a J**p CJ5.

I wanted a Dana 300 transfer box and bought one off a chap who was breaking a Sherpa 4x4.

Seems they used Dana / Jeep axles front & rear with Dana transfer box with an adapter that allowed connection of the orignal gearbox via a prop shaft approx 12" long.

Paul Humphries

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  • 3 years later...

nerdily , the B series (as used in Morris Oxford/MGBs/Marinas etc) was put into Sherpas first, and they also made a diesel version using the same block.

The B was upgraded to become the O series, which was mated up to an LT77 for SD1's, sherpas etc.

O series became M series for Rover 800's, and the T series T16 twin cam jobbies they put in Rover Tomcats - and the non turbo version went in the Disco!

So you should be able to drop a 200bhp engine into a Morris Oxford without much trouble...

Actually a vapour resto of mine is to drop a T16/R380 into a new MGB shell, been done quite a few times and you could do some proper donuts in that :D

Some more Austin Rover & Sherpa minutae on this site, which by the way is an awesome site if you have a few hours to kill or it's a wet lunchtime..AR Online

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Used to work for a Conveyor belt company and we had a 4x4 Sherpa that had Torsen diffs. Was a nasty vindictive machine. Mind you we also had a V8 specimen that went like stink, power sliding a twin rear wheel 35CWT van round roundabouts was an absolute hoot. Not that I would do such a thing....

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  • 5 months later...

After talking to the brother in law the axels are standard sherpa the front is a back with extended and reduced axle tubes the swivels are land rover related same bearings etc.... the conversion was done by newton abbot motors??

On the 4wd sherpa Im referbing at the moment, I found the letters N.A.M on the cast aluminium transferbox carrier.

I tried to find out what these letters stood for. Like MOWOG being a BMC term, I looked on the Austin Rover web site, etc. without success.

Returned back to this thread and saw 'NEWTON ABBOT MOTORS'. Sounds like THE ANSWER.. Thanks for that.

I wonder if they're still around?

The axels are not Land Rover, though the front swivels Im glad to say use the Ralco bush, tapper roller bearings as used on the landrover. Also the Swivel oil seals are the larger series 3 type. Shims, kings pins etc are also easily sourced Land rover items. The front axels use CV jointed halfshafts, so steering lock is very good.

The Dana 300 transfer box used has a good reputation. It was used in 70's/ 80's jeeps, International scouts, etc and has a repution as a strong box. A huge choice of parts and aftermarket upgrades are available. The stock 2.6:1 low ratio, while quite reasonable for most, can be upgraded to 4:1 using a 'Tera low' aftermarket gearset. I'd love such an option available for the Land rover.

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The axels are stamped MOWOG. The diff and banjo are Sherpa. So the front axel is a narrowed rear case with flanges for the swivel housings to bolt to. The actual swivels themselves could well be Dana items, they're not land Rover, although some vital land rover parts fit.

The Salisbury axels fitted to some landrovers are again Dana Items. Dana Salisbury. The American Dana 60 axel is very similar to the Salisbury axel. Diffs are the same/similar, which is why American Detroit Lockers can be fitted to Salisbury axels.

Salisbury/Dana axels were used for a number of British cars during the 50s/60's, Jaguars, etc used. So Dana could well have been supplying axels to BMC.

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