The Best Part of Building a Land Rover Series 1

The best part of building a Land Rover Series 1 107 is fitting the body. Well sort of, that’s excluding the first drive of course which I also did recently. When you fit the body you feel and see real progress coming quickly. After spending 5 years on a restoration project this is a big milestone.

Fitting 107 Rear Body

I’d had the tub back for a while and it was literally hanging around in the garage above the rolling chassis waiting for me to start building a Land Rover Series 1. It was ready to be fitted but I still had to fix a few things first. I had sent it off for repair and painting and got it back but without the floor being straightened. So I had to get that sorted out. Some of the rivets were missing on the bracing supports underneath and some of them were bent. This was causing the dip in the floor. So I removed the supports, straightened them and the floor, and then refitted them. This made a big difference and the floor looked much better. Not perfect but good enough to tell the story of this vehicle’s past hard life.

I also put new rubber buffers on replacing the old disintegrating buffers.

Refitting the tub went quite well. All the bolts went in nicely and they fitted well except for the front left hand side where I struggled a bit. I just couldn’t get it aligned. I tried with a screwdriver but I only managed to get one bolt in. Then I had to come up with another plan. I got a ratchet strap and pulled it down and that seemed to work. The holes lined up and I got the rest of the bolts in.

It was great to get the tub out of the way and fit it back onto the vehicle. I was really happy with the way that fitted and it looked great. It also gave me a chance to pull the vehicle out again and clean up where I’d been working. Driving this vehicle again was great. This was just the second time that I’d actually given it a little bit of a drive.

Fitting Lower Cab Section

Next part of building a Land Rover Series 1 was the lower cab section. I had debated with myself as to whether I should put the cab section together first or put the tub on first. But I decided to put the tub on. It had all those bolts in the front which would be easier to assemble without the lower cab section on. This was the right decision in the end. But when I put the cab section on I did struggle a bit with one of the special hidden bolts on the driver’s side.

There is this special bolt that fits the cab section to the chassis. I struggled to get this in despite it being specially made with a little handle on it so that you can get it. But I just couldn’t get it to go through the holes and get it onto the chassis. I tried this way and that way and I couldn’t fit my hands in and it was getting quite frustrating after a while I tried all sorts of ways. Eventually, I decided to just locate the left-hand side first. With that was in the right position, maybe it would be a little bit easier to get the right hand side

I struggled some more until I realized that the lower supporting bracket was taking away some of the space that I could work with. When I took that off then suddenly I had a little bit more space and I could see more easily. I got the two bolts through the hole and then it went on easily.

It was just as well that I took off these brackets because they had been fitted with the incorrect bolts with spire nuts. They are supposed to be fitted with special 1/4″ nuts and bolts. I still had the original bolts so I just removed the wrong ones that were used and I refitted it with the original bolts I had.

Fitting the Seatbox

With the lower cab fitted, I could get the seat box out and fit that. But that too turned out to be a little bit more tricky. Once you fit the seat box and start putting all this together you need to check that you’ve got the right alignment building a Land Rover Series 1. It looked like there was a problem on the left hand side where there was too much of a gap and the height was not quite right. So I decided to get the doors together and put those on or at least fit them temporarily so that I can see what the gap looks like. The lower cab needed to move back a little bit. I used some spacers to move it back and once I had done that the fit was perfect.

I used the thin 5mm foam sealing strip on the bottom of seat box and fitted it.

The brackets for the seat backs were a very tight fit. I thought this 1955 engineering if definitely not precision engineering. It’s more like squeeze and bend it in engineering.

Finishing off Tub Loadstrips

In all the excitement of putting all these body parts together, I’d forgotten to fit the load strips in the tub. I thought let me just rather work more systematically and finish that off first. I pop riveted the galvanised load strips back in. It was a fun job using the pneumatic pop rivet gun. It’s so easy and it’s very satisfying pulling the trigger as it just pops those pop rivets in so easily. So much easier than a hand pop riveter. I don’t think my hands would have lasted more than one of these strips.

Then I was back onto the seat box and fitted the hinges for the lids and the buckles to hold it down.

Brand New Tailgate

I’d also received my brand new tailgate. The original vehicle that I got was missing a tailgate. I had managed to get all the metal fittings a few years back and had them all galvanised. But the tailgate itself had to be remanufactured. Luckily I knew Sharl who had repaired my chassis and bulkhead a capable of building a Land Rover Series 1 from scratch. He did an excellent job making a brand new one. I did a quick check just to see if everything fitted and if I had all the right parts. Everything fitted together and looked perfect. I could now get this last lot of body parts painted.

To finish off the lower cab area there were just the brackets for the door striking plates. Then I also fitted the stoppers for the seat backs and put the rear handles or steps back on the chassis at the back.

Fitting the old style vent rubbers was a bit tricky because they are made up of 4 pieces and not one single section like later versions. They have to be glued in place. With these in I could fit the vents.

I still had to finish off some of the electrics before I could carry on with the rest of the body parts. I cover that and the front body panels in the next article.

You can watch the full video here on my channelĀ The Overland Legend

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