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.
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 Long-wheelbase Series III production was superseded in March 1983 by the new coil-sprung One Ten model, and short-wheelbase gave way to the Ninety in 1984.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.