1976 Land Rover 109 Santana Pickup
1976 Land Rover 109 Santana Pickup
Manufactured: Linares, Spain
Imported: Granada, Spain
Engine: 2.25L Four-Cylinder Diesel
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
I’ve been itching to get my hands on a Land Rover 109 pickup for a long while. There’s something primitive and elegant about them all at once: The iconic front-end design with the powerful straight lines heading off to the rear… they seem to beckon for something unique. When we found this one in Granada, it seemed like the perfect candidate to attempt an idea I’ve had bouncing around for all that time I lusted after a pickup.
Dustin White opened Square & Chamfer in Purcellville, Virginia to more professionally focus on what had been a long-time passion: Wood working. Even the company name drips with wood worker geek: Squaring is the first cut in woodworking that creates a true working surface, while Chamfering is the finishing step used to create an edge that’s soft to the touch. Their shop sits about 40 minutes north of our Marshall shop and is full of warm, inviting, natural wood furniture that exploits every grain and knot of the original piece in the best way possible. Seeing all that, we asked: “Can you put a wood bed in a pickup?” He didn’t blink an eye: “Yup.”
The old Land Rover was dropped off at their shop and Dustin got to work. The bed he installed is Virginia-sourced walnut; a nice hard-wood chosen for its durability and natural weather resistance. The stain brought the walnut’s character, while a marine-grade varnish gave the bed the durability and practicality it would need for an exterior, exposed bed. The satin rails running the length of the bed are clean but simple, letting the wood keep its place as the star of the show.
While Dustin worked his magic, we got some things ready for the cab itself. The black vinyl seats were reupholstered in a cigar-brown leather vinyl, and the steering wheel replaced with a beautiful wood wheel which matches the character of the truck and the bed. A pair of canvas door cards complete the project. The end result is something pretty special; metal and wood working together. Primitive and elegant.
Photos: Special thanks to Brian and the teams at both Green Truck Farm and Hartland Orchard in Markham, Virginia for letting us step into the orchards early in the morning to photograph the Land Rover. The Green family has had multiple generations running the 1,000+ acres of farm and orchards, letting families pick their own fruit almost constantly throughout the growing season with the array of fruits on the grounds. We were able to tuck the truck in among some of the flowering Gala apple trees and bee hives in the morning as tractors tilled the nearby fields.
Driveline. The Land Rover retains it’s original 2.25L Rover 4-cylinder diesel, mated to a four-speed manual transmission. High/Low transfer case engages with ease, and the transmission shifts without grinding or issue. We’ve seen the truck hit about 50/53mph on flat stretches. The truck has five relatively new tires which should be good for years of use.
Exterior. The Grasmere green paint was applied in early 2017. The quality is good for a decent driver, but overspray and runs are noticeable. The body has dents and scratches throughout. White roof and wheels pop against the green paint. Walnut wood bed installed Spring 2018, finished with a marine-grade varnish to provide a worry-free surface for use over the coming years. The truck itself is generally rust-free; floors, bulkheads, and chassis components are sound, though some rust is noticeable at the bottoms of doors and at the bottom of the rear tailgate.
Interior. The cigar-brown interior was reupholstered Spring 2018, when the wood steering wheel and canvas door cards were also added. Truck has all the typical Series-III Land Rover amenities, to include: Heat. That’s pretty much it. They’re fairly spartan. But that’s half the fun. Rear cabin glass slides open for rear access.
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