Land Rover Series III

Series III long wheelbase Station Wagon

Series III long wheelbase Station Wagon

A package of fairly minor improvements plus a new plastic grille proved to be enough to prompt a new name – Series III, launched in 1971. Most obvious internally was a crash-safe trimmed dashboard with instrumentation ahead of the driver instead of centrally positioned instruments. The apparently-new all-synchromesh gearbox had in fact been introduced on tail-end IIA models. With few changes, Series III would continue in production for fourteen years, racking up a very healthy total of sales and being extensively built CKD – almost one in three Series III’s were not built at Solihull.

Series III Stage One V8 launch vehicle

Series III Stage One V8 launch vehicle

Land Rover Stage One V8 was introduced in 1980, obsoleting the venerable nineteen-thirties-designed Rover six-cylinder. The Stage One’s modern-looking full-length bonnet and non-recessed front grille panel foreshadowed improvements already in preparation for Land Rover coil-sprung utilities. Stage One V8 was long-wheelbase only, though a handful of short-wheelbase versions were actually made. Also extending the range were a High-capacity pickup, and ‘County’ Station Wagons with side-stripes and upgraded interior trim – these appeared at a low-key launch at Blenheim Palace, in 1982. Long-wheelbase Series III production was superseded in March 1983 by the new coil-sprung One Ten model, and short-wheelbase gave way to the Ninety in 1984. The Series III’s final export contracts were finished in 1985.

There seems to be little information on pre-production or press Series III Land Rovers, though at least one of the press-demonstrator short-wheelbase ‘County’ Station Wagons survives. Again, local registrations were typically applied to vehicles registered to the company.