In 1953, the 1954 model year Land-Rover 80″ had its wheel-base lengthened to 86″; a 107″ long wheel-base model was also introduced.

The decision to upgrade the original Land Rover took place rather quickly after its introduction. In early 1950 the company had decided to start its upgrade and built 50 pre-production two litre prototypes, (80″) vehicles that ran in a chassis number sequence 07100001 to 07100050, the second number in the chassis number, 7 standing for ‘Test Land Rover’ and never officially released, where the standard Land Rover where identified by the number 6. The 2-litre engine was found to be satisfactory for production and introduced for the 1952 season.

During the 1952 season the plans for what was to become the new model Land Rover were given a good step forward with the production of 9 prototype 86″ Land Rovers. Basically the new model was going to be a full improvement over the quickly slapped into production 80″ Land Rover. The main difference was going to be an improved load space of 9″ for the rear body and a complete redesign of the interior and doors to make the Land Rover much more user friendly as the Land Rover became the standard workhorse in many markets for more people than just the farmers.

The idea of the Land Rover being just a upgraded tractor had now moved on to the Land Rover being ‘The Jack of All Trades’. This called for a full redesign from the bulkhead backwards to improve interior comfort and load space. These 9 prototypes were numbered P86/1 to P86/9, the ‘P86’ standing for Prototype 86″. At a quick look these vehicles look very like a standard early 86″, but many little differences exist. At the same time the plans for the first long wheelbase Land Rover had taken place and 3 prototype 107″ wheel base models were made, P107/1 to P107/3. The success of these 12 prototypes obviously went very well as the pre-production model 86″ was started soon after in 1953 with the sequence 47100001 onwards, the 7 in the sequence standing again, as with the 1950 pre-production Two litre vehicles for ‘Test Land Rover’. Very early versions of parts books for the up and coming 86″ and 107″ models list the sequence for the 1954 models as 46100001, and so on onwards, in line with the last 1953 80″ models which were 36100001 and so on, onwards. However this wasn’t to be the case and in reality the 86″ pre production sequence, 47100001 series continued into production, only the earliest 471 ‘Home’ vehicles being pre-production 86″ Land Rovers.

The standard 86″ and 107″ Land Rover was only in production for 2 years until it made way for the 88″ and 109″ models that introduced Rovers new 2 Litre Diesel engine. The 107″ Station wagon stayed in production not being available with the diesel engine.

Chassis Numbers.

Pre-Production 86″ (1952) P86/1 to P86/9
Pre-production 107″ (1952-53) P107/1 to P107/3
Pre-production 107″ Station Wagon (1954-55) 107/SW/1 and 2, LRSW 107-3 to 6?

1954 Models.

Basic model Home models 47100001 to 47102681
Right hand drive export 47160001 to 47163434
Left hand drive export 47130001 to 47135125
Right hand drive export, (C.K.D) 47660001 to 47663096
Left hand drive export, (C.K.D) 47630001 to 47630564
Basic model Home models 47200001 to 47200441
Right hand drive export 47260001 to 47261674
Left hand drive export 47230001 to 47231245
Right hand drive export, (C.K.D) 47760001 to 47760346
Left hand drive export, (C.K.D) 47730001 to 47730114

Total 1954 86″ model production, 15080 vehicles. Total 1954 107″ model production, 3820 vehicles. Total 1954 production 18900 vehicles.

1955 Models.

Basic model Home models 57100001 to 57108185
Right hand drive export 57160001 to 57163537
Left hand drive export 57130001 to 57135760
Right hand drive export, (C.K.D) 57660001 to 57662250
Left hand drive export, (C.K.D) 57630001 to 57630482
Basic model Home models 57200001 to 57201205
Right hand drive export 57260001 to 57263863
Left hand drive export 57230001 to 57232120
Right hand drive export, (C.K.D) 57760001 to 57761436
Left hand drive export, (C.K.D) 57730001 to 57730066

Total 1955 86″ model production, 20214 vehicles. Total 1955 107″ model production, 8690 vehicles. Total 1955 production 18900 vehicles.

1956 Models.

Basic model Home models 170600001 to 170604807
Right hand drive export 176600001 to 176602441 
Left hand drive export 173600001 to 173604433
Right hand drive export, (C.K.D) 177600001 to 177601367
Left hand drive export, (C.K.D) 174600001 to 174601000

Project Series 1 86″ with Chasis No: 176601900 (1956 Right Hand Drive Export Model – Made in Sulihull, Birmingham, England)

Basic model Home models 270600001 to 270600948
Right hand drive export 276600001 to 276603054
Left hand drive export 273600001 to 273602399
Right hand drive export, (C.K.D) 277600001 to 277601188
Left hand drive export, (C.K.D) 274600001 to 274600246
107″ station Wagon
Basic model Home models 870600001 to 870600066
Right hand drive export 876600001 to 876600550
Left hand drive export 873600001 to 873600632
Right hand drive export, (C.K.D) 877600001 to 877600012
Left hand drive export, (C.K.D) 874600001 to 877600006

C.K.D stands for Completely Knocked Down which means that the vehicle was despatched out to its destination, unassembled and was assembled by the Local main dealer or importer.
Total 1956 86″ model production, 14048 vehicles. 1956 107″ (standard) model production, 7835 vehicles. Total 1956 107″ Station Wagon production 1266 vehicles. Total 1956 production 23149 vehicles.

1957 Models

107″ station Wagon
Basic model Home models 131700001 to 131700053
Right hand drive export 132700001 to 132701024
Right hand drive export (C.K.D) 133700001 to 133700024
Left hand drive export 134700001 to 134701283
Left hand drive export, (C.K.D) 135700001 to 135700036

Total 1957 107″ Station Wagon Production, 2420 vehicles.

1958 Models

107″ station Wagon
Basic model Home models 131800001 to 131800120
Right hand drive export 132800001 to 132801541
Right hand drive export (C.K.D) 133800001 to 133800036
Left hand drive export 134800001 to 134801618
Left hand drive export, (C.K.D) 135800001 onwards (unknown)

Total 1958 107″ Station Wagon Production, 3315 vehicles.

Total Production Figures:

Total 86″ production 49,351 unit vehicles.


Total 107″ (Standard) Pick Up production 20,348 unit vehicles.

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Total 107″ Station wagon production 7,007 unit vehicles.




To the common eye, all series Land Rovers looked the same. Though many people can distinguish the later 90, 110 or latest Defenders from Series by looking at the headlamps and flat FRONT GRILLE PANEL (FGP) , it gets tougher to separate the Series land rovers which were made from 1948 to 1985! That is because of the recessed FGP behind the left and right wings and shorter bonnet which all the Series have in common. Can you tell which Series the picture below is? If you are not sure, then probably a good idea to read on.


Land Rover Series II and early IIA  (1958 to 1960)


To start, the easiest thing to look for is the FGP. If they are headlamps on the FGP, it will be a Land Rover Series I, II, or Early IIA.

If there are no headlamps on the FGP and are on the front of the wings, you are probably looking at a Transitional IIA, Late IIA, Series III, Stage I or Defender. However, if the front grille does not happen to be made of plastic, with the name “Land Rover” moulded into it, it is not a Series III, but a Transitional or Late Series IIA.


Series I:

Early 80″ have the headlamps behind the grille – MARK I


Land Rover Series I 80 in MARK I (1948 to 1951)

Mid 80″ has headlamps surrounded by the grille – MARK II


Land Rover Series I 80 in MARK II (1951 to 1953)

Late 80″ and 86″ have an aluminium FGP with four holes for airflow.


Land Rover Series I 86 in (1953 to 1958)

An 88″ has a steel FGP with one large rectangular hole for airflow.

An 80″ and 88″ have chrome headlamp rings.

An 86″ has body colour painted brass headlamp rings.

Series II and early IIA: A steel FGP with three holes for airflow, chrome headlamp rings, inverted T grille.


Transitional IIA: Steel FGP with three holes for airflow, an almost rectangular grille. (inverted T where narrower top portion is 3 squares high.)

Late Series IIA: Steel FGP with three holes for airflow, a large steel grille shaped like a fat plus sign. (narrower top portion 3 squares high, bottom narrow portion 1 1/2 squares high)


Series III: Steel FGP with three holes for airflow, a large plastic grille.


SIII, Stage One: Grille pushed out to front of wings, wire square mesh.


90, 110 and Defender: Grille pushed out to front of wings. Black slatted



If the doors are flat, it is a Series I. If the door top has a leather piece to open the door from the inside (no exterior handle) it is an early Series I 80 in. If the door top is solid (has an exterior handle) it is a later Series I 86 in. Series 1 doors can be removed easily and comes in upper and lower panels. With the upper section with the sliding windows removed, the doors sit very low.


If the doors are rounded at the waistline, it is a Series II, IIA, III, Stage I or Defender vehicle. (Bulging out by two inches).  Series II vehicles have a one piece doors whereas the Series I has 2 section doors.



Lights on the wings:

If there is no side light, it is an early Series I 80″. (Note: the side light was on the top corner of the bulkhead. Some Early 80″s had windscreen mounted indicator lights.


If there is a single side light, it is a Series I late-80″, 86″, 88″, or 107″. 86 in Series I has wider front windscreen frames and also front windscreen ventilation flaps.


If there are a pair of side lights on each side, horizontally mounted, it is a Series II or IIA vehicle. (if vertically mounted is a military vehicle) Series II or IIAs also have wider bumpers.


Note: Because of traffic laws, many single side light Series I were modified to have a pair of side lights on each side.

Wing itself:

If there is no seam between the top and front piece, it is a Series I 80″ (Note: wings between the 80″ & 86″ & 88″ are different and not interchangeable.)


If the seam between the wing top and front piece is below the curve, it is a Series I 86″ or 88″. On the bottom portion of the side of the wing, behind the front wheel, if there is a bolt about 1″ back from the front, it is an 86″. If the bolt is about 2″ back it is an 88″.

If the seam between the wing top and front piece is above the curve, it is a Series II through Defender.

Series I 86″ through early IIA had wing mounted mirrors. (Mounted towards the front Centrex flat portion of the wing.)

Markers or lights on the side of the wing:

If there is a single marker reflector on the side of the wing, it is a transitional Series IIA or Defender.

If there is a single marker light on the side of the wing, it is a late Series IIA, Series III, or non-NAS Defender.


Land Rover began in 1947 with the Series I and continued until 1985 manufacturing the Series III model. This identification was initiated by Land Rover as a means of identifying major design changes in production.  They did not intend to change them on an annual basis.  The designers felt that they had this “agricultural workhorse” so right from the start, that annual cosmetic styling would only detract from its functional applications.

Land Rover Series I – 1948 into 1958

First production Land Rovers were 1.6 litre petrol 80″ wheel base. 1952 engine displacement was increased to 2.0 litres. 1954 the wheel base was lengthened to 86 inches and the first long wheel base 107″ pickup was introduced. 1956 86″ and 107″ were lengthened to 88″ and 109″ and the 2.0 litre diesel became available as an option.


A very rare Series I 107 in Station Wagon

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Another very rare Series I 107 in Pick Up

Land Rover Series II – 1958 thru 1960

All new body designed by Rover’s styling department. A more powerful 2.25 litre petrol engine is introduced for improved performance. Available in 88″ and 109″ wheel base and a broader range of colours.


Seris II 109 in Station Wagon

Land Rover Series IIA – 1961 into 1971. 88″ and 109″ wheel base

1962 2.25 diesel and the Forward Control model introduced. Positive earth electrics until 1967. Fall of 1967, Land Rover introduces the 2.6 litre, 6-cylinder station wagon and Ser. IIB 110 forward control. Land Rovers are now in negative earth with single wiper motor mounted in dash. 1968 air portable 88″ for military purposes is developed. 1969, headlights are moved from the centre radiator grille to the side wings. 1971, Forward Control production ended.

Land Rover Series III – Fall of 1971 to 1984

Revised fascia with black plastic safety dash. Instruments moved in front of driver, fully synchronized gearbox, and plastic radiator grille. 1972 Land Rover introduces its V8 powered 101″ Forward Control. In 1979 Land Rover introduces its V8 109″ Regular and 109″ Station Wagon models. In 1982 Land Rover introduces its 109″ High Capacity Pickup.

Land Rover Defender – 1983 to present  

All new coil spring suspension with full time 4WD from the Range Rover design is incorporated into the 109 body styles. Available in a 2.5 petrol, 2.5 diesel, V8 petrol carburetted or fuel injected and a 200Tdi turbo diesel. 5 speed manual gearbox is standard. First imported to the USA for the 1993 model year. 1994, improved 300 TDI diesel becomes standard engine with only the V8 offered as optional.

For more info, please visit:

All images are downloaded from the internet and credits to the owners.



Guidelines on The Status of Vintage/Classic Automobiles 

Vintage Cars:

Cars that can be classified as vintage cars are those that have reached the age of 50 years from the day they were produced.

Classic Cars:

Cars that can be classified as classic cars are those that have reached the age of 25 years from the day they were produced, including those referred to as collectors’ items.

Conditions for Application

Only motorcars will be considered for application. Other terms and conditions for the procurement of vintage/classic status for the purpose of reducing the Motor Vehicle License (LKM) fee are:

Only motorcars that have been registered in Malaysia for 25 years qualify for the application process. Vintage/classic cars that were brought from another country only qualify after having been registered in Malaysia for 2 years.

The car must have a high value; befitting its antic status.
The car must be in mint condition, not rusted, with gleaming and spotless paintjob and chrome; or simply put in showroom condition.

The car must be roadworthy and all its systems must function well.

The car, its components and build must be in their original specifications, as produced by its maker.

The only permissible modifications are those on its brake, electrical and fuel injection systems and only then they are for safety purposes.

To be considered for application, an applicant must already possess more than 2 cars that are registered under his/her own name.

The chassis and engine numbers must be legible, and not disturbed or obscured.

Applicants must produce a recommendation letter/certificate from any vintage car owners clubs or other certified clubs that are similar in nature and operation
The motorcar must be put through an inspection by a Technical Officer/Motorcar Inspector of the local JPJ.

Application Process

Inspection of the vintage/classic car can be performed at the Automotive Engineering Department of your state JPJ.

Documents Required

  • Photocopy of the registration card (and the original copy).
  • Photocopies of the registration cards of two other vehicles registered under the applicant’s name (and the original copies).
  • Photocopy of owner/applicant’s Identity Card.
  • At least 4 photographs of the motorcar from the front, rear, the sides and of the steering wheel/dashboard.
  • Recommendation letter/certificate from a certified vintage car owners club.

Vehicle Inspection

For the inspection, the applicant must produce the necessary documents along with the vehicle.  Inspection on vintage/classic motorcars looks at the vehicle’s authenticity..

Inspection specifications:

Inspection of the car’s authenticity, to verify that its chassis and engine numbers have not been changed, and that they are similar to what is stated in the vehicle’s registration card. The authenticity inspection comprises inspections on: the original engine, the original chassis, original body (not modified), original transmission and suspension systems, front and rear axles, registration number and steering (original and not of the ‘sports’ type).

Issuance of the Vintage/Classic Car Status Certificate

All applications and reports on vintage/classis cars made at state JPJ offices must be forwarded to the Automotive Engineering Department of the JPJ headquarters for processing and re-evaluation, before they are forwarded to the Director-General of JPJ.

Successful applicants will be issued a Confirmation Certificate, which is signed by the Director-General of JPJ, for the purpose of reducing the Motor Vehicle License fee; with a 90% reduction for vintage cars and 80% reduction for classic cars.

This certificate must be reissued every 3 years, or when the ownership changes, or when the vehicle registration number is interchanged, whichever comes first. If any of these happen, the owner must re-apply for the status of the car and take all the steps listed above.





The first overland expedition was in 1955, after months of extensive preparation, six students from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, aboard two identical Land Rovers 86-inch Series I, set off on The Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition. Flagging off from Hyde Park in London, headed through Europe, the Middle East and Asia, before arriving in Singapore from Thailand and Malaysia. After six months and six days, the team returned to London in August 1956 having logged over 32,000 miles. This was one of the longest overland journey during that time and no one or no vehicles has ever done it.

Tim Slessor, a member of the expedition, is still alive today to share their amazing stories. He has also published his book and DVD “First Overland – London to Singapore by Land Rover” He also mentioned in recent Land Rover Magazine, my last thought would be when I “move on”, take me off in a Series I please!

Film.13410.den-thuong-de-cung-phai-cuoiseriesi1954560vl.6649My first reminder of the 86-inch Series I is when it appeared in the all-time favourite classic comedy “THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY” where I watched with my parents. The Gods Must Be Crazy is a 1980 South African comedy film. Set in Botswana, it follows the story of Xi, a San of the Kalahari Desert whose tribe has no knowledge of the world beyond, a biologist who analyses manure samples for his PhD dissertation, and a newly hired village school teacher. Xi did some hilarious things with the Series I.

The 86-inch Series I created countless milestones for Land Rover and touched the lifes of many. It is the first vehicle that most of our grandparents and many rural communities around the world have ever seen. After it’s introduction to the the world during the First Overland Expedition in 1955, sales bookings came in immediately from the countries they visited and the Land Rover Company has never looked back since.


Land-rover-069The Land Rover Series I has 2 pre-production and 2 production models. This original Land Rover saved one company and created another. It helped Britain’s auto market back on its feet after the deprivations of WW2. Britain’s manufacturing industry was hampered by shortages of material; even jam was rationed. The government then has rationed limited supplies of steel to those companies that could export their products and the Rover Company was not one of them. Rover needed a salable vehicle with worldwide appeal.

Inspired by the ex-WW2 Jeep, the head of design team Maurice Wilks sketches the first design on sand at a beach and the Series I was born! No steel was available at the time so Rover made use of an abundance of aluminium that was left over from the war and a design minimal tooling was used.

Land-Rover-series-1-prototypeThe first pre-production Series I model was the centre steer with the steering located in the centre so it would appeal to both left and right hand drive market. The idea was shelved due to requirement for a major design to the mounting of the engine. The centre steer Series I was built only as prototype in 1947. The original centre steer, regarded as the Holy Grail of Land Rovers is lost and cannot be traced. Only pictures and replicas are available.

hue166148 units second pre-production Series I model were hand built in 1947 and sent to farmers around Britain for testing. The most famous and desirable Land Rover now is Land Rover Production No.1 with the registration plates HUE 166 placed now at the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire, UK. This unit is the true forefather of the Land Rover Company and Defender which saw the end in production in 2015 ending a 67 years of legacy for this model.

series 1 in sabahThe first production model were the Early 80-inch Series I models. This is where it all began. The original 80-inch Series I Land Rovers were built from 1948 to 1953. From 1948 to 1951, it was fitted with a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine generating 55 Hp and 112 Nm of torque. It has a four speed manual gear box with two-speed transfer box with permanent four-wheel drive (later selectable). Later between 1951 to 1953, it has a new 2 litre engine with 52 Hp and 134 Nm of torque. The distinct difference in this model is the front grille which covers the head lamps and has no external door handles. The front windscreen panel do not have ventilations where it can be opened by the occupants by flipping a level.

series1_scrapThe Early Series I were imported into the island of Borneo during the North Borneo Company’s rule and traces of the Early Series I can still be found in Sabah. You just need to look for them in the small towns in some shed or under a tree which makes a great restoration project!
LandRoverS1_86The second production model, the Later 86-inch Series I Land Rovers were built between 1953 to 1958. The chassis was increased to 86 inches and it has many more refinement than the 80-inch Series I. First off, longer chassis means they are more comfortable to drive and many design flaws of the 80-inch models which were based on the wartime jeep were fixed. The 86 inch was properly redesigned with properly thought-out, sensible, capable vehicle. It still has the same 2 Litre petrol engine and with slab-sided body panels. The 86-inch Series I still have that wonderful 1950s simplicity and appeal, but they drive better, have more load space, weather seals and driving position is not so cramped. Distinctive difference from 80-inch Earlier Series I is the front grille do not cover the head lamps, has external door handles, larger and tougher windscreen frame.


I stumbled upon this 1956 86-Inch Series I last year from a Land Rover parts specialist in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia while looking for parts to convert my Defender 90 pickup to a station wagon. I felt an immediate connection and was inspired to do a restoration project of this 60-year-old Series I Land Rover.

Documenting restoration project for Series I is not new, especially in the UK. However, documenting the first Series I restoration project in Sabah, Borneo is something else. More interestingly is to discover the origins of this Series I bearing registration no B 160 S. Only the 160th car registered in Beaufort, the original and first owner of this car is still alive to tell the stories!


References and further read:


This production was done in 2012. Was a supporting cast in the offroading section and my defender 90 was used in the making of this video. Shots taken in Imbak Canyon and Kota Belud.