1966 Land Rover Series 2A- The Landy with 9 Lives

Oh how I will miss the glimmer and gleam, hop and pop, rattle and squeak, and purr and bubble of my now departed 1966 Land Rover Series 2A 88″ , the Brown Bolt. The Brown Bolt was so named because of the exceptionally high speeds obtained not only on slight down hills but also on long steep downhills.

More than a Land Rover

We spent a total of 15 years together. Joined at the arms and legs we were an integral part of each others lives. I couldn’t go anywhere without BB and BB couldn’t go anywhere without me, so we ended up going everywhere together. BB was my alter ego, my inner strength together we were invincible, well almost anyway.

On the cool humid mornings in Richards Bay we certainly were not invincible. BB had a weakness for water. Large amounts of water were no problem, rivers, dams, ponds and puddles posed no real threat, in one side and out the other side, no problem. But it was that elusive cool morning humidity that seemed to penetrate a different electrical connection every time. So only after I had tried all the shortcuts, postulated and disproved every other theory possible and then finally and laboriously cleaned every electrical connection, would BB, as if nothing were ever wrong, spring to life. Other than completely losing it the only other thing I could do was smile.

Epic Trips

Invincible we certainly were on our numerous windsurfing trips. With 6 or 7 boards on the roof or behind on the trailer, kit and supplies for a week and a bunch of highly spirited mates (as many as could fit in) we were untouchable. Not even third gear and 40km per hour up hills, or the ‘as far as the eye could see’ train of cars behind us, or the variety of gestures made by irate motorists could get us down.

Love and hate it definitely was. I loved to drive BB both on the road and especially off road, but I hated the fixing and repairs. After weeks of prolonged trial and error repair and maintenance, I would be cursing, moaning and losing faith. But then after only a few minutes behind the wheel and on the road, all was forgotten, only the good remembered.

All was not love and roses, we had our close calls. Like the time we were in Mozambique on route home after two weeks of sun, beach and sea at Bara. With the roads as bad as they used to be it was shake rattle ‘n roll through the potholes and hop, skip and jump between potholes. All this excitement and activity worked the fixings for the hooter loose. The next thing it was as if we had been tear-gassed and the cab was full of smoke. A quick reaction and a handy fire extinguisher resulted in only a few burned-out wires. The hooter had come loose and caused a short circuit resulting in a small meltdown. We were lucky and counted our lucky stars, it could all have ended right there and then.

Life Time of Service

The Brown Bolt had a long and illustrious career as the vehicle in which I practiced to get my license; a participant and victor of numerous rallies at the Land Rover Owners Club; a return to the military in 1987-1988 during national service; daily transport to and from WITS as well as a year long stint in Cape Town at UCT; and many memorable sailing expeditions to Sterkies, Richards Bay and other destinations.

The most memorable journey in terms of bonding was a two day solo trek from Johannesburg to Cape Town. For two days it was just the two of us cruising along. Twenty one odd hours of changing scenery, passing cars, the humming of a perfect 4cyl engine and the agony of uphills and euphoria of down hills. Any normal person will tell you that travelling is merely a transition phase going from A to B using a car, but its not the same in a Land Rover. In a Landy its an experience, it is a concerted effort to get the Landy and all of its contents to the destination. It was like that in BB, we traveled together.

Changing Owners

But alas with times and priorities changing, the time had come to part and go our separate ways. In the latter years BB had become more of an ornament and less of a working vehicle, spending most of the time sitting quietly under the car port. But the story has a happy ending because BB found a new home, with a dedicated and caring owner Sean. As I reminisce Brown Bolt is dutifully committed to yet another owner, not unlike the many owners before and the many owners to come.

The Twist in the Tale 20 Years Later

It was to my surprise that one of my best friends called me one day to tell me that he was going to buy Brown Bolt. Well actually he asked me if it would be alright if he bought it. Of course, I said yes and he became the new owner of BB.

Dave and his brother Chris then had BB rebuilt and changed the colour and it now looks magnificent. Virtually nothing was done mechanically as the vehicle is still in excellent running condition and it was mainly a cosmetic update. It has been restored to resemble its original military spec and condition where it started its life. So this Landy has now moved onto another whole new life and a fresh lease of life. The Landy is now called Bolt.

My 1966 Land Rover Series 2A SWB History

The Brown Bolt is a 1966 Land Rover Series 2A 88″ soft top. The vehicle is original with the only modifications being a weber carburetor and SIII radiator and a custom upholstered interior. It also has duel fuel tanks.

I got the vehicle from the military in about 1985, where it had belonged to a mechanic, evident because it had a little spanner painted on the wing. This was a good sign because it usually meant that the vehicle had been well serviced and looked after.

Other than cosmetic changes and a few minor mechanical repairs the vehicle was on the road in no time. Once on the road the performance was not as good as it should have been. So I sourced another 2.25l petrol engine from a Forward Control which had done less than 500km. The engine was cleaned up, the head taken off to skim, to increase the compression slightly and then replaced.

Since then the vehicle has performed very well with only routine maintenance required, and has been very reliable. In 1998 the gearbox finally gave in, and was then re-built, and a new clutch put in. In the interim the vehicle has undergone a few spruce ups including a new canopy and inside paint job, to keep it in tip-top shape.

The specifications are as follows:

Model1966 Land Rover Series 2A 88″ soft top
Engine2.25l 4cyl petrol
GearboxSII suffix C
AxlesRover – strengthened
Tyres750×16 India Safari

1966 Land Rover Series 2A Video – The Landy with 9 Lives

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