Sometimes it’s easy to get something out of your system, other times it’s a little harder and that’s got to be down to the difference between a whim and being hooked. Steve had hankered after a Lightweight (LWT) Land Rover for a very long time and even bought several other Land Rover products to stifle the urge. In the end though, he finally succumbed to an eBay auction, almost thirty years after driving a LWT for the very first time.
It was whilst serving in the Royal Air Force that Steve had his first brush with a LWT. All of the Squadron’s other Land Rovers were standard series vehicles, but the Wing Commanding Officer had the luxury of a LWT and it was this vehicle that he always tried his hardest to get to drive.
Steve bought his 1974, Series 3, LWT in 2008 after a successful bid on eBay and he still keeps in touch with the previous owner to whom he must thank for his dedication in keeping the vehicle in its present condition. The LWT spent most of its career in Northern Ireland (NI) as a 24 Volt Radio Wagon, fitted with the long since gone Vehicle Protection Kit (VPK), but the mounting holes are still visible in the bodywork. VPK is usually referred to as ‘Makrolon’ armour and is constructed from glass reinforced plastic panels, which give the crew reasonable protection against low velocity small arms fire, as well as blast from claymore type mines, bricks and nail/petrol bombs.
Entering service in July 1974, the LWT was delivered to the Vehicle Storage Depot (N.I.). A year later in July 1975 it served with the 2nd Light Infantry before transferring, in June 1976, to Internal Security Pack Number 83. In October 1977 the LWT moved to Internal Security Pack Number 12, in February 1978 it moved to the Vehicle Storage Depot before returning to Internal Security Pack Number 12 in October of the same year. In February 1980, the LWT served with the 1st Scots Guards, in May 1981 it served with the 1st Royal Regiment of Wales and in June 1984 it was finally posted to the 1st Royal Regiment of Fusiliers before being struck off in November 1984.
The LWT has now been modified to 12 Volt and has an overdrive fitted along with parabolic leaf-springs and Pro-Comp shock absorbers to help with the overall ride. The vehicle has 7.50 x 16 tyres fitted to help with the off-road capability and has Range Rover differentials fitted which together means that the speedometer has no chance of letting Steve know what the true speed is. Thank Gawd for Sat Nav.
Overall Steve says that his LWT is in very good condition and with the exception of the VPK; it is outwardly very original with a few internal improvements for driveability. A small amount of rot on the nearside foot well and hinge panel will be dealt with soon as Steve has new panels ready for fitting.
Steve mainly uses the LWT as a ‘fun to drive’ vehicle and has used it during the winter as an off-road hobby vehicle. In the summer it scrubs up well and it’s off to the Military Shows, fully kitted out with its 352 Clansman radio gear, Army pattern webbing ammo pouches with magazines plus rounds and camo netting. Steve calls his LWT ‘The Truck’, his daughters however have christened it ‘Lizzie’ Lightweight but Steve’s too macho to call it Lizzie.