1961 Land Rover Series IIa Hardtop

Launched at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show, the soon-to-be legendary Land Rover was Britain’s homegrown alternative to the hordes of surplus American-built military Jeeps remaining after WW II. Offering the ability to pull farm implements, in addition to providing surefooted on- and off-road transportation, the Land Rover was designed and built with   durability and ruggedness foremost. It also offered outstanding agility with a short 80-inch wheelbase length and soon proved its many capabilities in some of the most forbidding conditions worldwide. Typical of Britain’s response to postwar economic austerity, Land Rovers were soon exported to North America, first shown here at the April 1950 British Automobile and Motorcycle Show.

Land Rovers were carefully developed, improved, and progressed through several variations, with the wheelbase lengthened to 86 inches by Autumn 1953 and then in 1956, a longer variant on a 107-inch wheelbase chassis was developed. The first Land Rovers were retrospectively known as ‘Series I’ when the substantially improved Series II Land Rover arrived by 1958.  Essentially a larger vehicle with more power output, Series II models also delivered additional storage room and somewhat improved creature comforts. The Land Rover was a massive success story and it was no surprise, then, that by November 1959, the 250,000th Land Rover left the assembly line.

Evolution progressed to the Series IIa Land Rover offered from 1961 through 1971, which marked the transition from the Series II and later Series III models. While difficult to differentiate from the Series II at first glance, Series IIa models featured many subtle updates and collectively, they defined everything good in an early Land Rover. Body styles included a short-wheelbase, soft-top to the range-topping 5-door station wagon. The 2.25-liter Type ADO 23 inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine soldiered on, supplemented by a newly available diesel ‘four’ of the same displacement and by 1969, a larger 2.6-liter gasoline engine was offered. Drivetrains included high and low ranges and a part-time 4×4 drive system allowing drivers to engage or disengage the front axle from inside the passenger cabin.

This Series IIa example from 1961, designated “88” for its 88-inch wheelbase length, benefits handsomely from a fresh restoration to OEM or better standards, performed by an exacting Land Rover enthusiast. Featuring outstanding body-panel fit and shut lines, the Land Rover sports excellent overall paintwork and rides on a galvanized chassis for exceptional durability. Iconic grille-mounted headlamps are protected by chrome gravel guards, as are the signal lamps front and rear. A folding windscreen, pop-up air vents, and choice accessories enhance the user experience, including a 9,500-pound Smittybilt electric winch up front, heavy-duty polished checker plate atop the front fenders, twin front-fender mirrors, an aluminum roof rack, ivory painted steel wheels, all-terrain tires, and fully mounted rear spare wheel/tire combination. Fully restored to ‘as-new’ OEM specification and appearance, the interior features supportive vinyl-clad seats for up to three occupants up front, along with four jump seats – two per side – at the rear. Door panels are fully restored to factory appearance. A factory-correct “Banjo” style steering wheel and proper factory-correct instruments and controls enhance the vintage feel of this iconic Land Rover. Shoulder belts up front provide heightened safety and security and folding step plates underneath each side door provide ease of entry and exit.

Power is delivered by the high-torque Land Rover ‘four’, displacing 2.25 liters and delivering a deceptively capable 77-horsepower factory rating. Detailing of the engine compartment and the engine itself is exceptional and show-quality throughout, including correct finishes, colors, and components. A correct 4-speed manual gearbox, dual-range transfer case, and factory-correct axles and underpinnings deliver the power to the road and trail with equal authority.

Looking great throughout and equipped with nearly too many features and accessories to fully list, this 1961 Land Rover 88 is simply a fabulous example on all counts, exemplifying the first model year of the definitive Series IIa Land Rover generation. A highly compelling legend and one rarely seen in such exceptional restored condition, it also offers a fabulous alternative to the far more commonly seen Jeeps and Land Cruisers in today’s collector-car marketplace. While certainly ready to show, it also offers a virtual trip back to the early 1960s with incomparable looks and legendary capability – on and off the road!


Offers welcome and trades considered

Sorry this car has been sold. Are you looking to buy or sell a car like this? Contact a representative

For immediate assistance please call us at +1-314-524-6000 or please fill out the following form and a member of our team will contact you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.