The 1969 Land Rover Series IIa / Photos, Specifications, Model History

Our featured classic vehicle is a beautiful 1969 Land Rover Series IIa. The Land Rover is a British Off-Road vehicle launched in 1948 and in addition to civilian buyers was used extensively by the British military. Among the owners of the Land Rover over the years were BMW (2000), Ford Motor Company (2005), and from 2008 to the present time Land Rover is owned by the Indian company, Tata Motors.

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1969 Land Rover IIa

The Early Land Rover

The Land Rover was introduced during  post World War Two as the British answer to America’s Willys Jeep. The British Land Rover, most would say, was Britain’s reply to the go anywhere U.S Army World War II vehicle fondly called the Jeep. In fact, the British Land Rover adopted most of it’s traits directly from the Jeep. Just like the Jeep, the Land-Rover was built for tough off road work. It was a vehicle that was built to do the tasks other vehicles of the time could not.

While the Willys Jeep was the first of such a vehicle, it actually was the British who carried the concept even further. The first British Land Rover model (see specs below) was very similar to the Jeep. If you didn’t see the nameplate of the first Land Rover model you may have easily mistaken it for a Willys Jeep. While the first Land Rover mimicked the Jeep in so many ways, there were notable differences. These included fully enclosed front wheels, sharper angular fenders, and head lights mounted behind mesh grille guards.

The early Land-Rover was a four wheel drive “go anywhere” vehicle. Series I through III were produced from 1948 to 1980. The Series II which is our featured vehicle was produced from 1968 to 1971. There was a Series IIA which was built beginning in 1961 and is basically a hybride between a Series II and Series III.

Later models of the British Land Rover Series II came with a variety of options. The Series II pretty much represented the classic Land Rover. Two or four wheel drive and gasoline or diesel engines. In 1970, Land-Rover introduced the more rider friendly Range Rover which had a variety of creature comforts not found in the earlier Land-Rovers. The Range Rover meant to be a more luxurious vehicle. Ruggedness and comfort was the aim and the Range Rover was essentially like many of today’s SUV’s.

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The Land Rover Series II and IIa / Engines and Differences

Introduced in 1958, ten years after the Series I, the Land Rover Series II was the model’s first update. Restyling was necessary to make room for the improvements that had been made underneath that sporty aluminum body.

After the Series II which was produced from 1958 to 1961 came the Series IIa. The Land Rover Series IIA was available as a two door, two door pickup, and a four door. Two items of significance regarding the II1 was that the axles were changed and gave the Series IIa a wider track of 4’3½”. Also, the Series IIa had a 2.25 liter diesel engine as opposed to the prior 2.0 liter diesel.

Other changes from the Series II to the Series IIa’s included headlights which were now flush with the grille, and a new air vent lever.

1969 Land Rover Specifications

Power plant is a 139 cubic inch straight four diesel delivering 66 HP.

Gear box is a four speed manual.

Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drums.

Suspension are semi elliptic leaf springs.

Dimensions include 88.0 inch wheelbase, 142.5 inch outside length, 66.0 inch width.

Total Land Rover Series IIa production for 1969 was 50,550 units. These included IIa’s with 88 and 109 and 110 inch wheelbases. The Late Series IIA’s saw Land Rover starting to limit what was available in the U.S. market. The Series IIa is the vast majority of Land Rover models seen today in the U.S.

Related Auto Museum Online articles…

1967 Kaiser Jeepster Commando

1968 Jeepster Convertible

Reference material for this article includes…The Land Rover Story by Giles Chapman…Land Rover : The Story of the Car that Conquered the World by Ben Fogle.

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The Land Rover Collector Car

The Land Rover Series IIA has remained popular with collectors and enthusiasts. While very similar in many ways to the Jeep, the early Land Rover is known for added passenger comfort. Original examples in excellent / showroom restored condition such as the one featured here are rare finds.

This particular model sold recently at auction for $38,500.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)