1965 Land Rover Series-IIA 109
1965 Land Rover Series-IIA 109
Manufactured: Solihull, England
Imported: Barcelos, Portugal
Engine: 2..25 L four-cylinder gas
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
Finding a spot to photograph this restored Series-IIA Land Rover was a challenging proposition. It’s agricultural yet refined; spartan yet polished. It’s probably not the first vehicle someone wanting to say ‘look at me’ might leap towards. And so, I headed out early on a crisp June morning, crossed the railroad tracks, slipped around the old Country Store, and climbed a backroad until a solid but unmarked gate appeared: RdV Vineyards. The Land Rover trundled onto the grounds and just like that, I had arrived.
This 1965 Land Rover Series-IIA 109 is one I helped import from Portugal back in 2016. The truck hailed from a beautiful estate, where it had been with the same owner for over 30 years. Built in March, 1965, it left the Solihull factory a Bronze Green and made it’s way to a dealer in Lisbon. At some point in the late 1990’s the owner had dismantled and restored the truck; it was at that time he changed it to the Grasmere Green it currently wears today. After spending 51 years just a few hours from its original dealership in Lisbon, the truck made its way to the United States, and for the past few years has made its home in the foothills of Chattanooga, TN.
RdV Vineyards is the brainchild of Rutger de Vink. His passion for creating an uncompromised wine in Virginia is evident throughout the RdV grounds, from the vines and buildings you see and explore, to the terroir he spent years searching for, designing, and building to realize his vision. The 16 acres of vines sit on a steep, stony hillside, above a massive granite slab they carved into for their underground storage and celebrate for how it helps their plants grow the best fruit they can. A walk around the vineyard’s main building is to walk inside the mind of someone who knows, thinks, and lives wine. Their core samples into the granite are mounted on the wall; a proud testament to the terroir Rutger sought for so many years. The caves aging the barrels and bottles help maintain temperatures year-round, and the building itself is hidden treasure among the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But like the Rover, there is no ‘look at me’ aspect to the RdV team. They are proud of their wine, and for good reason. There are no big signs marking the way to the vineyard. Those who manage to find them are rewarded for doing so.
The Land Rover crawled up and around the vineyard throughout the morning as I tried to pick which of the innumerous views would best highlight and frame the Rover. The gas engine is quiet and smooth on the highway, while the vintage Fairey components, from the capstan winch to the locking hubs, hint at the truck’s true capabilities. It’s hard to sit down at a computer after driving a Land Rover around a vineyard at dawn, but such is life. If you’re in the area, I’d recommend you pay them a visit. But call ahead – tours and tastings are by appointment only. It’s well worth the visit.
Driveline. The 2.25 L four-cylinder gas motor starts easily and pulls the truck beautifully. The original Solex carb was replaced with a Zenith unit in 2016. The truck can do about 55mph on a flat stretch of highway. Engine is mated to the original four-speed transmission, which shifts without issue. Truck has high and low range transfer case, as well as both 2WD and 4WD. Has Fairey locking hubs installed on the front. All five Carmac 700-16 tires were installed in 2016. The transmission and differential fluids were replaced at the same time, as well as new brakes in all four corners.
Exterior. The Grasmere Green paint presents beautifully under an Alaskan White roof. Body panels are about as straight as they get for an old Land Rover, and the truck is free of dents and scratches. The galvanized trim is exposed, and common rust areas such as the bulkhead, floors, crossmembers, and doors are all dry and straight.
Interior. The interior is finished in a black vinyl. The truck is currently configured to seat ten, including the rear-opposed facing jump seats. Gauges and lights are functional. Floors are clean and rust-free; the interior was painted along with the exterior and presents nicely. Doors shut firm and latches engage as they should. Truck has a safari roof which helps channel air into the cabin with the ceiling-mounted vents. And that windshield – it’s the world’s best picture frame. Put yourself behind the seat and stand in awe as the world unfolds and comes alive through that front glass. You pick the spot. The Rover will do the rest.
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