This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

To maintain the Land-Rover's market-leading position, it needed an update. This came in 1958 when the Land Rover Series II was launched, with new body styling and new engine options, although the first 1500 or so series II 88 inch models retained the 52 bhp 2 litre Rover IoE petrol engine from the Series I.

Land Rover Series II

Series II Land Rover  - Leafers at t' pit 2008 - Pic by Dave Neeson.

The new petrol engine was based on the recently introduced Rover 2.0 litre diesel engine. The engine's capacity was bored out to 2.25 litres, and since it was based on a diesel engine design, it proved to be a reliable unit since the petrol version was much less stressed. The extra power produced from the 2.25 was enough to keep the slightly heavier Series II at reasonable speeds when on-road. The new gearbox was similar to the Series I gearbox, but incorporated synchromesh on the 3rd and 4th gear. Rear wheel movement was improved by moving the rear springs, and the turning circle was reduced by improving the steering lock. The new body styling was still conservative, but added rounded corners and sills to the Land-Rover design. Window Perspex was replaced with glass.

Available in 88 inch (2235 mm) and 109 inch (2769 mm) wheelbases, the Series II sold well, with 28,000 being sold in its first full year, and 34,000 in the year after. In 1961, the diesel engine was bored out from 2 litres to 2.25 litres to match the petrol engine. Although the change in diesel option was the only significant change, the Series II was renamed the IIa. The 2.25 litre petrol and diesel engines became the standard Land-Rover units until the mid-1980s, with the end of Series production and the advent of more powerful diesel engines.

The first 12-seat station wagon was introduced in 1962. Twelve adults would have been a tight squeeze, but it allowed the vehicle to be classed as a bus and therefore avoid purchase tax. The cheaper price hit sales of the more expensive 10-seat 107 inch station wagon in the UK market, and the 107 inch was finally dropped from the product range.

The Buick designed Rover V8 3.5 litre engine was first tested in 1965 in a short wheelbase Series IIa, but this was merely as part of the development of the upcoming Range Rover, which was launched in 1970. Indeed the V8 was not seen in a production Series Land-Rover until 1979, and then only in the Series III 109 inch V8 'Stage 1' model.

The next major change for the IIa occurred with the introduction of a 2.6 litre 6-cylinder petrol engine option on the 109 inch models in 1966. This engine had been developed for the Rover P4 and P5 cars, but was introduced into the Land-Rover range to supply extra power for the heavy Forward Control IIb. The dashboard was re-designed in 1967.

Export models had their headlamps moved from the grille area to the wings in 1968. This change was reflected in domestic models in February 1969.

Another change in 1968 was the introduction of the "One-ton" Land-Rover. Externally, this looked virtually identical to the standard Series IIa 109 inch (3/4 ton) Land-Rover, but was upgraded in a number of areas to handle heavier loads and towing. The most notable upgrade was the use of heavy duty transmission components from the Forward Control models. The larger wheels were also carried over from the FC model. Overall gear ratios were lowered to aid with towing.

As with the Series I a decade earlier, by the late 1960s it was clear that changes were required if Land Rover was to keep its sales edge. Hence in 1971, the Series IIa was replaced by the Series III.

Series II 88 inch
Production: 1958-1961
Overall Length: 142.4 inches (3617mm)
Overall Width: 66 inches (1676mm)
Wheelbase: 88 inches (2235mm)
Track: 51.5 inches (1310mm)
Engine: Rover 2.0 IoE (1958 only) Rover 2.0 diesel (1958-1961) Rover 2.25 Petrol (1958-1961)
Transmission: 9 inch coil spring clutch or  9.5 inch diaphragm clutch,  4-speed main gearbox, 2-speed transfer box,  selectable with standard rear wheel drive or 4WD.
Suspension: Live axles with semi-eliptic leaf springs and hydraulic telescopic dampers.
Steering: Recirculating ball. worm-and-nut.
Braking: Drums all around, mechanical parking brake on the transmission output shaft.

Series II 109 inch
Production: 1958-1961
Overall Length: 175 inches (4445mm)
Overall Width: 66 inches (1676mm)
Wheelbase: 109 inches (2769mm)
Track: 51.5 inches (1310mm)
Engine: Rover 2.0 diesel (1958-1961) Rover 2.25 Petrol (1958-1961)
Transmission: 9 inch coil spring clutch or  9.5 inch diaphragm clutch,  4-speed main gearbox, 2-speed transfer box,  selectable with standard rear wheel drive or 4WD.
Suspension: Live axles with semi-eliptic leaf springs and hydraulic telescopic dampers.
Steering: Recirculating ball. worm-and-nut.
Braking: Drums all around, mechanical parking brake on the transmission output shaft.

Series IIa 88 inch
Production: 1961-1971
Overall Length: 142.4 inches (3617mm)
Overall Width: 66 inches (1676mm)
Wheelbase: 88 inches (2235mm)
Track: 51.5 inches (1310mm)
Engine: Rover 2.25 Diesel (1961-1971) Rover 2.25 Petrol (1961-1971)
Transmission: 9 inch coil spring clutch or  9.5 inch diaphragm clutch,  4-speed main gearbox, 2-speed transfer box,  selectable with standard rear wheel drive or 4WD.
Suspension: Live axles with semi-eliptic leaf springs and hydraulic telescopic dampers.
Steering: Recirculating ball. worm-and-nut.
Braking: Drums all around, mechanical parking brake on the transmission output shaft.

Series IIa 109 inch
Production: 1961-1971
Overall Length: 175 inches (4445mm)
Overall Width: 66 inches (1676mm)
Wheelbase: 109 inches (2769mm)
Track: 51.5 inches (1310mm)
Engine: Rover 2.25 Diesel (1961-1971) Rover 2.25 Petrol (1961-1971) Rover 2.6 Petrol (1966-1971)
Transmission: 9 inch coil spring clutch or  9.5 inch diaphragm clutch,  4-speed main gearbox, 2-speed transfer box,  selectable with standard rear wheel drive or 4WD.
Suspension: Live axles with semi-eliptic leaf springs and hydraulic telescopic dampers.
Steering: Recirculating ball. worm-and-nut.
Braking: Drums all around, mechanical parking brake on the transmission output shaft.

Series II/IIa pictures

Series IIa Ceremonial Vehicle
1962 Series IIa Ceremonial Vehicle at Dunsfold 2009 - Pic by Dave Neeson.

Land Rover Series IIa
Series IIa  - Leafers at t' pit 2008 - Pic by Dave Neeson.

demobbed Series Ambulance
Demobbed Series Ambulance - pic by Matthew Carey.

Bomb Disposal Land Rover

Bomb Disposal Land-Rover - Picture by Geoffrey Powell

Club Link: Land-Rover Series Two Club

If you can help out with more information about Series II Land-Rovers, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

   
© www.lr-mad.co.uk