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Rogered Rover - Part 1 - March 2004

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In October 2002 I bought a 1976 Range Rover V8 with a short M.O.T. with the intention of using it off-road for a year & then building a Hybrid with it.

The brakes & clutch needed attention, & when after several months I had not touched it, I decided that rather than running it I would go straight into building a Hybrid.

Originally, I was going to buy a Designa chassis, but at a Pub meet John said “if it’s got a good chassis, why not use it & save a grand?”

This got me thinking, why not build a 100 inch Hybrid.

The seeds were sown, & when Dave H. happened to mention at the Happisburgh beer festival that he had an ex military LWB for sale, I foolishly showed interest!

Having lumbered myself with 2 vehicles, I thought I had better make a start.

I sold most of the cosmetic panels of the Rangie, & then winter was near, so I decided to buy some sort of temporary structure so I could work on it in the winter – this was my third foolish purchase!

The thing I purchased was a glorified Gazeebo that I was assured “was more than substantial to withstand a hard winter”

To cut a long story short, 10 weeks later, 2 having been trashed by wind & frost, I ended up with a new one & a damaged one for spares.(which I have managed to repair)

Having accepted the limitations of this structure (I’ll put it up soon when the likely hood of gales has passed), I managed to strip the Rangie down to a rolling chassis, refurbished the upper rear tailgate to fit my other Rangie, & swapped the Landie hard top for a truck cab.

RR rolling chassis

I have since removed the seats, seat base & floor from the Landie & am currently removing the rear tub – this will be done by cutting it off just behind the truck cab as I will ultimately have to remove about 9 inches from it to fit the RR wheelbase.

In parallel with this I was looking at the practicalities of fitting the Landie body.

Measuring the relative position of the front of the engine to the centre line of the axle on both vehicles, I reckon that the V8 will fit under the bonnet less water pump & with no room for the Rad.

It would be easy to fit a 90 front, but I particularly want to keep the series look.

Dave H. kindly loaned me some LRWs featuring their project ‘Rolling Thunder’.

Although this contained a lot of useful info, they used the Landie engine & box.

My problem was how was I going to get the V8 to fit inside the series bonnet.

Dave B. told me that some one had used a 101 bell housing, which was shorter than the RR one & effectively moved the engine back several inches.

I had also noticed that the series wheels are positioned towards the front of the arches, as when the axle moves upwards it move backwards, as the springs are fixed at the front. The RR suspension works in the opposite way, so I should be able to gain a couple of inches by moving the body forward relative to the axle.

Posting the question about the 101 bell housing on a couple of internet forums resulted in dozens of replies telling me to move the engine & box back & swap or shorten/lengthen the props, but this was all for ultimate weight distribution for trials & racing. Although I will go off road, I want a ‘sensible’ vehicle.

Eventually I got a response from some one who had used a 101 bell housing & currently this is the way I intend to go.

Why? Because it requires the minimum of change to the chassis & apart from the bell housing everything will be standard RR.

When I have removed the rear tub, I will position the front half of the Landie body over the RR chassis & see how it looks.

The beauty of ending up with 2 gazeebos is that I can have the 2 vehicles side by side under cover, making it easier to compare/measure chassis when I start on the tricky bit.

Time scales – hopefully sort out the fitting of the body to the chassis & coupling up steering etc. by the autumn, strip down & move inside to build up rolling chassis over winter, refit body in summer & finish off the following winter.

Alternatively, gallon of diesel & box of matches

Any constructive criticisms/ suggestions will be gratefully received


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