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Last Updated 6/16/07
Series II Land Rovers in the USA - a Brief History
'Beula' before restoration: Visit Jim Stewart's website via the archives section for an update.
The Rover Company launched the Series 2 Land Rover in the UK in April 1958. In order to promote sales of the new model in the USA and Canada, the Rover Company of North America was set up, with headquarters in Toronto and then expanded to New York.
The 88in and 109in Series 2 Land Rovers shipped to N.America had either the 2.25 litre gasoline engine or the 2 litre diesel engine. The body options available were truck cab, hardtop, soft top and station wagon. The 88in Series 2 station wagon had 7 seats whilst the 109in version had 10 seats fitted.
Colours available for these Land Rovers were Bronze Green, Light Green, Sand, Limestone, Dark Grey, Mid-Grey and Marine Blue. In addition, for the US market, the additional body colour options of Highway Yellow and Red were available.
Series 2 Land Rovers for the Canadian market were fitted with one piece doors as an improved weather sealing measure: vehicle with this modifaction had a 'C' added to their chassis numbers.
The Series 2 Land Rover was also marketed as a vehicle that could be equipped for pumping, spraying, fire fighting, plowing snow, winching or powering a variety of belt-driven machinery. For Land Rover's Canadian promotion, an unpainted 88in Series 2 hardtop was displayed to emphsise the connection between the aluminium bodywork and the Canadian aluminium industry.
The Martin Walter converted Dormobile Land Rover with cooking and sleeping facilities was popular and the 12 seater stationwagon also sold fairly well.
By the late 60's accessories were being made in the US by US companies specifically for the Series Land Rover e.g. snowploughs and winches.
Later Series 2's were fitted with the more powerful Canadian built Kodiak heater.
In 1966, the 6 cylinder engine was upgraded specifically for the North American market with the Weslake cylinder head; 123bhp at 5000 rpm and 142 lb ft of torque at 3000 rpm. However, the engine soon developed a reputation for being unreliable and, when the new emissions controls regulations came into effect in 1968, the decision was taken not to try to make this engine meet the reguirements. It was withdrawn as an option.
Despite the efforts of the Rover Company of North America, sales of the Series 2 Land Rovers were slow to take off. The situation worsened when, in 1968, new US emission controls regulations meant that the neccessarily modified 2.25 litre gasoline engine was now under powered for the 109 Series 2 and so it was withdrawn from the North American market.
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The 3/4 ton Series II,IIa & III was available as an ambulance and used by all 3 British armed services plus the Dutch military.
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