Unusual Land Rovers

Since Land Rovers have been around since 1948, here at JGS4x4 we’ve decided to take a look at the most unusual Land Rovers to have existed in the manufacturer’s history…

Built by Bertam Mills Circus in the late 1950’s, this yellow painted vehicle is undoubtedly the front taken from a Series 1. An unusual driver to say the least, it was made to look like an elephant is driving while the actual driver had been relocated to the rear end of this vehicle, as the elephant sits up front. With an extended chassis and converted controls rearranged to a left hand drive, this enabled the driver to see past the gigantic elephant.




Photo A – Vickers Armstrong built the ‘Hover Rover’ in 1962 by using a Series 2a Land Rover. By building an air skirt round the vehicle yet had the wheel’s remain, it led us to question its true eligibility of a Hovercraft, seeming more like a cushion craft. Also meaning the vehicle’s payload on the ground was greatly reduced.


Photo B – With modified front wings and a completely changed rear tub in order to accommodate these tractor type 25 x 70 cm / 10 x 28 inch wheels to the 109 inch wheelbase, is the ‘Forest Rover’. The name says it all, this Series 2a was built by the Hounslow company Roadless in 1964. The 350mm wider track at the front, gave it a turning point of 12 metres – impressive! This vehicle comes about due to the difficulties the Forestry Commission were having at the time with your standard Land Rover.


Photo C – This weapon of a vehicle is known as the ‘Shortland Armoured Patrol Car’ from 1966. Built by the Short Brothers for the Royal Ulster Constabulary and based on a Series 2a 109. The vehicle consists of a revolving turret, 3 Browning machine guns, and then armored with a fold down screen visor.



Photo D – The movement of 4x4 to 4×6 happened here in 1974, named the Range Rover, done by Carmichael and delivered to Switzerland in order for a custom body to be made by Hess and was ultimately used as an emergency service vehicle. For UK fire and rescue, Carmichael also made another 6×4 Range Rover, which was able to carry 200 gallons of water and 12 gallons of foam.


Photo E – The ‘Beaver Bullet’, a 1985 record breaker, was the Range Rover Turbo Diesel. Making a breakthrough of being the first ever diesel powered car to maintain a constant speed of 100mph for 24 hours.


The Llama built in 1985. This model was build with 110 inch chassis with standard axles, which are wider with a limited slip differential to the rear. By having the fiberglass cab tilt forward, this provides access for maintenance, however after having MOD trials of the two ton 4×4 ,the project was unfortunately cancelled.



Photo FIn 1989 there was a Discovery vehicle with an unusual capability, so much so a press launch V8 which was made amphibious. However, anticlimactically it didn’t make it to the water due to the V8 being swapped for the diesel 200 TDI engine. But with flotation aids, a few glued-up doors and an outboard motor the vehicle was ready for Cowes week and it performed fantastically.


Photo G – This is the Challenger prototype, made in 1991. The chassis and cab that have been used are based on the Discovery 1. On this vehicle, it was made into a pickup which meant with it only being a prototype, that the sills were only wood.


Photo H – This looks just like your standard soft top 109 Series 3, yet it’s not. This 1993 Electric Drive Series 3 109 has had eleven aviation type sealed batteries added to it by Dera Land Systems in order to produce 216V also a electric motor driving a PTO point on the gearbox. Impressively the original engine is still in place.


This car has a seriously split personality, the Discovery 300 Tdi known as the ‘Schizo Disco’ of 1994. To you it may look like a 300 Tdi on the outside it has been converted into a 200 Tdi. The right half of this car is camel trophy however leaves the left half as an ES 300 style Discovery, it is true what they say about the split personality.



Photos I – A vehicle needed, tough enough to endure life in a mega city, in Danny Cannon’s eyes he went to Land Rover as he strongly believed they would be the only manufacturer left in the future that was actually capable of building the vehicle he had in mind. This is the 1995 Forward Control 101, the vehicle used as the Judge Dredd Taxi, unlike the yellow versions used in the film, the prototype was actually silver.



Photo J – This was used in the Harbour Lights TV series through James Bond as M’s staff car, leading to it being displayed at a Motor Show in the Middle East. Known as the Range Rover P38 Stretch Limo in 1995.


Photo K – After being on display around the world, the 50th Anniversary Defender of 1998 still has 0 miles on the clock. What started off simply as a production line vehicle led to the body panels being changed to unpainted panels and then glued on as the spot welds would spoil the highly polished finish.


Photo L – Intended as an off the shelf vehicle from Land Rover’s special vehicle operation, weighing around 3.5 tonnes this vehicle is known as the 2000 Defender Taurus prototype Armoured 110 TD5. Fully supplied with air conditioning due to the windows being solid, Run flat tyres, armoured engine bay and underside of the bonnet.



Two Enthusiasts Thomas Bell and Holger Kavelage from Germany, decided that they wanted to build a special Land Rover. By establishing they wanted to combine a series 2 Land Rover and the styling of a 2 seat Jaguar. This became known as the 2008 Bell Aurens Longnose . Retailing at the price of $155,000, with seating for two was over the rear axle, the long nose they provided hosed the Rover V8 engine however had the exhaust manifolds visible for it to look a bit like the Tiger Shark.


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