Para Recce Lightweight

Rob’s first Land Rover was an 88”, Series III, which he converted from the standard 2.25 diesel to a 200TDi. Although he was pleased with the Series III, he always looked on in envy at his next door neighbours Lightweight (LWT). After going to a couple of shows with his neighbour, Rob decided that he wanted an ‘ex-military’ vehicle and that it too had to be a LWT. Rob thinks that they look ‘absolutely fantastic’, so much better than the standard Series vehicles. Once he had made the decision that it had to be a LWT, he also planned that he would take the vehicle to shows and display it as it may have been used when ‘in-service’.

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Rob bought his LWT, a 1972 early Series III, from someone in Peterborough in 2010. The LWT had no tax or MOT, but it appeared to be very sound. After a quick trip to his local test station, Rob was very pleased to leave with a current MOT and just one advisory to replace a front prop-shaft UJ, which he did the same weekend. Once on the road, Rob set about thinking how he would display the vehicle at shows. Rob soon decided that he would recreate a ‘Para Recce’ LWT, as nobody in his Club had one and it would look great on the Club stand.

A few weeks later at the 2010 Peterborough LRO show, Rob managed to secure a deal on a rear GPMG mount from Graham Holding. Graham also had part of a front GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun). mount, but Rob was concerned about the cost of this as it was incomplete. However, he disappeared ‘a beer-or-two later’ and came back to the stand with a huge grin on his face carrying the front mount. Now all he needed was a pair of GPMGs.

Rob knew that he would have to fabricate the ‘Para Recce’ unique parts, which consist of a bonnet basket, side carriers for the four Bergens, fuel and water canister holders and an ‘A-panel’ spare wheel carrier, over the coming winter months. Rob would also have to fabricate the missing pieces of the front GPMG mount. Rob’s aim was to have the LWT ready for the Driffield LRO show in May 2011.

Rob also began compiling a list of equipment that the vehicle and occupants may have carried/worn when using the LWT during active service. Over time, the list grew longer and longer, but Rob managed to acquire most things on the list by using eBay, going to Anchor Supplies and sourcing missing components, for the LWT, from friends in the Club. Having no garage, Rob had to complete all of the fabrication outdoors and the parts look fantastic despite his ‘unorthodox welding technique’.

Once the parts were fabricated, Rob began to prepare the LWT for a complete respray, again outdoors. Like most other ex-service vehicles, Rob’s LWT had many coats of paint and much of this was sanded back rather than using paint-stripper. A former keeper had fitted a defender roll-hoop, but these always stick out at the sides so Rob removed a small section, before ‘sleeving’ and re-welding the cut hoop. The roll-hoop would be ideal for the ‘Para-Recce’ recreation and would be covered in camo-netting when on display. Rob also fitted dexion rails to the roll-hoop for mounting a PRC 321 manpack radio. After a full weeks work, with the help of friends from the Club, the respray was completed the week before Driffield.

When purchased, the MOD plates were not with the LWT, so as yet Rob has not traced the vehicles past, but he is in the process of researching the LWT’s history. With the exception of the roll-hoop, the LWT is almost standard, but Rob would like to fit a 200TDi and overdrive in the near future. Rob describes the condition of his vehicle as ‘great for its age’, with a really sound chassis, but he feels that the electrics may need some work in the future.

Rob uses the LWT for shows and it attracts lots of keen interest from the public and other Land Rover owners alike. Rob’s next job, prior to the 2012 show season is to make a ‘mannequin’ to bring the vehicle ‘to life’ when on display.