Members & their Rovers     John Johnston, McAlester, OK

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. 1957, Series I, 88"

Supposed to be green, 2.0L, canvas top, still in the "refurbishment" stage. The truck is not currently running but it is oh so close! I have been working on it for about 2 years now. I can hardly wait to here it start up.

Why Land Rover:
Because I like the "mystique."

Restoration Update
. I have been interested in Rovers since I was a teenager (a long time ago). Movies like Hatari (not sure if there was a LR actually in the movie) and documentaries on Africa always stirred my interest. Every time I would see one the interest meter would peg. I can remember seeing them for sale in the Army PX catalogue when I was overseas (1970-71). Unfortunately I had just purchased a new 1970 Dodge Dart. My interest rocked along until 1996 when my brother called me one night and asked if I was interested in buying a 1957 Series I...I bought it. It took me two years to get it to OK and I've been working on it for 3 and a half years. I don't have a shop, so I have to work outside. Interestingly, my Landie made a big circle from Muskogee to McAlester through Redding CA and San Diego CA (where my brother lives). He spotted the Landie in San Diego.

I contacted Land Rover for any history they might have and was provided with a portion of the factory ledger that recorded its completion date and shipping date. It arrived in Houston, TX in Aug 1957 and was delivered to a J. A. Sparks, Esq.

The Landie is about 99% original from what I can tell. Over the years it lost its original fuel pump and canvas top (a PO attached a sheet metal top to the bows with screws). I have both original keys for it and the original owners manual. The thermostat is stamped "6-47" and still works. I have no idea what the mileage is because the speedometer cable was broken and detached. There is still black paint on most of the frame.

Well, enough of my rambling.


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We look forward to more photos John, as the restoration progresses.


. . . . Progress Continues
I bought a new Lucas ignition switch that turned out to be defective (still the Prince of Darkness). The key tumbler would not lock in place and there was a broken piece inside. I know these things because I took the switch apart. I figured that since it was mine, I could do what I wanted to with it, so I tried to fix it. When I removed the cover I discovered that the sleeve the lock tumbler fits into was installed 180 degrees off. There was a nylon piece inside the sleeve the tumbler went in. This nylon piece is what rotates to make the ignition connection. As I was removing the tumbler sleeve, a part of the nylon piece fell out into my hand. (I had noticed earlier that when I would turn that piece with a screwdriver or with the tumbler it was very "sticky" and didn't turn a full 90 degrees) To make a long story short, I ended up making one good switch out of two broken ones. I used the insides (nylon piece) of my old switch and the tumbler sleeve, inner pieces (contacts and spring, etc) and the cover from the new switch to make one that works. I also used a new tumbler and key.

Next I set about trying to figure out why I was not getting a consistent electrical flow through the system. I began to remove connections at the dash and clean them with emery cloth. I also removed the ammeter and GENTLY moved and repositioned the needle (it was touching the face of the gauge). This is just what the system needed. In my hurry to get things back together, I had not taken time to properly clean all the connections and some of them were not making contact. After connecting everything back together I connected the battery and turned the switch. The dash and fuel pump came to life. EVEN THE AMMETER WORKED!

By now, I was really excited. I was close to starting the engine for the first time since 1999 or 2000. I don't remember when I removed the old wiring. I turned the ignition on and pushed the starter button and the engine coughed. That was the sweetest sound I had heard in a long time. I poured a little gas down the carb and tried again. This time, the engine tried to start. By now, I was ecstatic! I poured more gas in the carb and tried again. This time it actually ran a few seconds before running out of gas. It won't continue to run because of the old gas in the tank and fuel pump.

Unfortunately I had to quit working on it for the day because I had to make my weekly trek from McAlester OK to Wichita KS. I will get back to it hopefully on Aug 24th - 25th and again during the Labor Day weekend. Soon the old Rover will have some new tires and fresh gas and will be on(off) the road again. I can hardly wait.

More Progress - December 26, 2002
The Landie is off the trailer and on the ground for the first time in three and a half years. I have actually driven it a few yards.

The engine now starts and runs without hesitation. However, it does have the exhaust valve on cylinder 3 stuck open. I guess that is my next major project. I have all the parts to repair it, I just need about two days of warm weather (March or April?) That adventure will be reported on in a future update.

Last time, I said the ammeter worked. Well, turns out I was only partially right. The ammeter does flicker when the engine is started or when the lights are turned on, but it does not show a charge or drain. I guess there is still some work to do on the charging system. Iím not really sure that the generator is producing electricity.

The fuel gauge works, but the float arm is stiff and doesnít ride up and down with the level of gasoline. At least that should be an easy fix.

The lights work well. The dimmer switch is a bit inconsistent, but that is to be expected for what I suspect is the original one. When I tried the brake lights, they were very dim. I suspect some of the problem was the low state of battery charge.

The transmission is another problem that will have to be fixed. I can only get it into two forward gears, which I think are third and fourth. I believe them to be the two higher gears because I can barely get the Landie moving when I put it in gear. In order to get it moving around in the yard, I had to put it in low range. Reverse gear works fine. I am hoping that some minor adjustments are all that is needed to fix the transmission, but, the way other problems have gone, I doubt if it will be that simple.

The clutch seems to be fine. There is no slipping, shuddering or jerking so far.

That wraps up this report. When the weather warms up (or I get a new house with a garage or shop)(and I am not recalled to active duty again for a war with Iraq) I will start working on it again. Thanks for your interest in my old Land Rover. Hints, stories, comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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