Introduced in April 1958, Series II was the first time a Land Rover had been ‘styled’, with a rounded tumblehome (waistline) inward-sloping upper body, modesty skirts beneath the doors, and cross-member ends now hidden behind body side panels. Track width was increased from 50 inches to 51.5 inches. Mechanical changes were modest – pendant pedals and a few other improvements. The big evolution was introduction of a 2.25-litre OHV petrol engine (though short-wheelbase models had to make do with the Series One’s IOE 2-litre unit until production of the new engine was ramped up). The Series One’s wet-liner 2-litre diesel was simply carried over from Series One.
However, smart styling, new upholstery-sprung seats and the new pedal arrangements made for a less agricultural feel. At launch there were just canvas-top, hard-top, and truck-cab models. A short-wheelbase Station Wagon soon followed, but the Series One 107 Station Wagon was in parallel production with Series II for some time, until a Series II 109-inch Station Wagon was developed.
Pre-production versions were running during the latter part of Series One production, though this period is not well researched. 2.25-litre petrol engines were evaluated in Series One vehicles. Components are stamped and identifiable, and Heritage can supply basic information if a chassis number is quoted. Again, company’s-own vehicles and press / show vehicles were typically under a local Midlands registration mark.