Tell-tale signs of bright yellow paint helped to identify this Lightweight, affectionately known as Henry, as a former Royal Air Force Glider School vehicle. Now painted in green and black camouflage and fitted with Clansman radio equipment, the current owner Gordon is undecided as to whether or not it should be returned to its original role as when in use by the RAF.
Originally bought with two distinct uses in mind, this Lightweight (LWT) has undergone many changes during the four years with its current owner. One of the uses, would be for off-roading, as Gordon’s 110 CSW, TD5 Defender was just too new and too nice to risk being damaged. The other use, as it would be impossible to keep the Defender as well, would be the duties of daily driver on the 20 mile commute to work.
When looking to buy a suitable vehicle, Gordon had just two stipulations. Firstly, as it would be a replacement for the Defender, condition was of utmost importance and secondly, it had to be ready to use on a daily basis immediately so a project was out of the question. The LWT, a 1983, Series 3, 12 volt GS was bought from PRB services in Leeds, following several months of searching for the right vehicle. Gordon chose a LWT as he has fond memories of them from his days in the Army and because, apart from the 101FC, thinks they are the best looking Land Rover produced.
Collecting the vehicle and driving it for the first time was not as Gordon remembered them. It was slow, particularly in hilly Yorkshire, and the forthcoming commute through Bradford was going to prove difficult in modern traffic. To make the LWT more useable, and also to increase the poor fuel consumption, a 200TDi from a land Rover Discovery was fitted almost immediately, along with an overdrive and Range Rover differentials. These changes would also be an improvement when off-roading. Parabolic springs were fitted to help improve the ride and axle articulation, and to complete the off-road list a snorkel and under-body protection was added.
Immediately after the modifications were completed, the Defender was sold and a weekend trip to the Lake District for a bit of off-roading organised. The LWT performed superbly on the motorway to the Lakes and would go places off-road where many others on the trip couldn’t. The following weekend, Gordon took the LWT to Driffield, where he met with members of the Lightweight land Rover Club, and it was whilst he was there, that apart from a little gentle green laning, he wouldn’t take it off-roading again as it was just far too nice to damage.
The LWT, continued to be used for the daily commute, but was fitted with many pieces of original period military equipment, re-sprayed in camouflage colours and now forms part of a Helicopter Support display which can be seen at many of the shows throughout the year. With the exception of the engine and running gear, all of the other parts are either being removed or replaced with original items. The condition of the vehicle is very good, but it would benefit from another respray and application of some protective treatment on the chassis.