LAND-ROVER 109" NADA Station Wagon. Project completed!
of Build: 10 June 1966.
Date of Dispatch: 28 June 1966
Destination: Rover Motor Company of North
America, San Francisco.
(2.6L six cylinder).
NADA = North American Dollar Area
This same 109"
NADA LAND-ROVER, began life as a company car; Richard F. Green
being the driver
(he was then Service Manager and Product Development Engineer for the Rover Motor
Company of N.A. Ltd; South San Francisco, CA).
This is the same Land Rover
that WCB owner, Michael Green, drove at
age-9 near Lake Tahoe in 1967. In late 1969 Richard was to lose his 109"
company car. It seems that the NY office wanted it "off the books". With that said,
and knowing that BL was only going to import the 88" Deluxe Hardtop from '69
onwards, it was purchased
by the Green Family. Mrs. Green drove it daily back & forth to
work, for shopping and hauling boy scouts. Other duties included carrying
the family to Disneyland, towing Aston Martin's and hauling house trailers.
In mid 1971 the 109" was sold to Paul Felton
(then Rover dealer in San Francisco, for his
personal use). A new Rover
3500S sedan replaced it... and the 109" soon vanished, but not from memory.
Sometime in the early 1990's it was seen near Stockton at a gas station
where Michael left a note under the wiper. There was no reply. After
that the 109" was not seen again until it arrived on a trailer at West Coast
British in January of 2001.
When it arrived in January it was still recognizable as the "Family Car",
since it still sported the White over Blue paint scheme that Richard had put
on it, and its original
California license # of 641ATW.
Under the bonnet we found a nasty
engine conversion, a tired and
ice cracked Chevy 250 6-cylinder engine and tons of cobwebs, the result of sitting
in a field for some years. Other than that, the 109" was in surprisingly
good condition. No rust was found anywhere; long live Land Rover's in
West Coast British purchased the car in spring of 2001. Before long the
cracked engine was tossed into the dumpster. Michael Green, along
with John Wolf and John Gulliford, made numerous measurements and even
fitted a number of different engine & gearbox combinations into the 109"
chassis, one being a hot 4.6L Rover V8 (with both ZF auto and the original
gearbox). Sadly, we were unable to fit the V8 due to clearance problems
with the engine verse firewall (bulkhead). The V8 would require major
modification's to the chassis and
use of a 4-cylinder firewall, and this was something we wanted to
avoid. With that said, the engine would have to be an inline. Since we're
not diesel fans, the TDi was vetoed. Two choices came to light; a) an Aston
Martin six of 4.3L type, or b) a GM 4.9 litre six. The GM was chosen because
of its price and availability of parts (it should be noted
that GM has since stopped production on this engine). The Aston would have
been fun, but cost prohibitive.
With the new GM engine now in hand, fitting work would commence. The front
cross-member would be moved 4" forward to facilitate the large custom
radiator and 17" flex-fan. The grill panel (radiator support) was dully
modified to accept the huge radiator, but was left in its original location.
No modifications were required on the firewall. Once the engine and cooling
system were completed, the whole car was disassembled to the very last nut and
The chassis, along with the axle casings, brake plates, firewall, etc., were
sent to MAAS Bros., Powder Coating in Livermore, California. The chassis and
related items were all cleaned, blasted then coated in gloss black, whereas
the firewall and other body parts and wheels were done in blue and/or
white... the entire body has since been powder coated, there is no paint on this
vehicle. At the same time all nuts, bolts, brackets, etc., were cleaned and
dressed then sent to the plating shop where they was re-cadmium plated.
Slowly the chassis was reassembled: New TCI parabolic road springs
with adjustable Koni shocks replaced the original units. The axles retained
the standard 4.7:1 ratio, ARB Air Locking diff's were added front & rear, the
rear now sporting 24-spline axle shafts. All new genuine brake components
were fitted, followed by the fabrication and fitment of new brake pipes. A
Series-III dual-piston master with a vacuum booster replaced the old CB
brake master cylinder with hydraulic servo booster, while the CV clutch
master was also replaced with a Series-III type. The hubs were also
up-dated, using the later Series-III units with the large studs/nuts.
The engine, having already been stripped, inspected and modified, was swung
into place. A 9.5” clutch was fitted and the original gearbox, having
already been rebuilt, was bolted up. The transfer however would be modified
using an Ashcroft (UK) High-Ratio gear set, with No overdrive
be fitted with the Ashcroft gear set).
4.9 litre (292 cu in.) Six
Hi-Performance Crane camshaft.
Crane Chromemolly pushrods.
Cloyes timing gear set.
Mallory Dual-point distributor w/vacuum advance.
LUCAS hi-output Coil.
Holley 470 4-bbl carb, truck master off-road.
K&N 14” x 3" air filter.
Special alloy 4-bbl intake manifold w/water pre-heater.
Special Twin 3-1 headers.
All alloy water pump.
Custom high capacity radiator.
Twin electric fans (replaced the flex fan).
Click picture for larger view.
Standard 4-speed gearbox.
9.5” diaphragm B/W clutch.
Ashcroft High-Ratio (high range) Transfer conversion, 2-speed.
4.7:1 axle ratio.
ARB Air locking diff; 10-spline front, 24-spline rear.
TCI Parabolic leaf springs.
Koni 3-way adjustable shocks.
11” Dual leading shoe (3” wdt), front brakes.
11” Dual piston rear brakes.
Dual piston Brake master cylinder w/vacuum booster.
16” x 7” Dunlop steel wheel x6.
7.50R16 Dunlop Radial Rover R/T x6.
Next in line was the fitment of the fuel
tanks, a new standard wagon tank in the rear, plus an additional 12-gallon tank under
the right/front seat. Each tank would have it’s own electric fuel pump.
With the drive train and
tanks fitted, the firewall and rear body section were next on the list. Not
being too keen on the stock dash layout, a custom one was fabricated from
aluminum and Auto-Meter gauges were fitted. All the switches were re-located
closer to the drivers side. All dash panels would be powder coated in
hammer-black. A new wiring harness from British Wiring
was fitted, along with custom sections for the new gauges and fog/driving
lights (to be installed at a later date).
From this point onwards time would be spent assembling the body; fitting
doors, glass, roof, etc. All panels were the originals, the exception being
the rear door. Once again there would be a change in the paint scheme. When
new it was Marine Blue, only the wheels and the tropical panel being white.
When Richard had Cal-Auto re-spray it prior to purchasing, it was Marine Blue with
White from the middle of the doors up. This time around it would be all
Blue, the exception being the roof itself and the wheels, which were done in
Bright White powder coat. The galvanized body cappings were also powder
coated, these done in Hammer Silver.
A1 Auto Upholstery of Dublin (CA.) re-covered the seats and headliner, while
the door panels, long since rotten, were custom made at WCB from 6160
aluminum and powder coated to match the dash. Later we'd replace the front
seats with Exmoor Trim (UK) Defender type units; Best thing we ever did to
improve driveability! D110NAS rear carpets now covered
what was once only covered by a rubber mat, or worse yet, bare painted aluminum. A
Defender center console with AM/FM/Cassette w/4 speakers (two in the custom
alloy over-head that also carries a Cobra CB radio and map light) replaced
the original British Leyland AM radio Richard had once fitted (and we still
have!). In the late 1960’s, when new Federal regulations would require side
reflectors (and later lights), Richard fitted them to the 109” as a company
project. Later 3500S side marker lamps would also be fitted, and it was here
we ran into trouble, as the US Spec lamps were unobtainable, Hella units
were substituted. Note the six lamps on the rear and the special cappings.
In addition we’ve fitted a Hella reversing lamp to replace the original
Lucas unit. It should be noted that the rear mud-flaps and the modified
trailer hitch are the same ones Richard had fitted when the 109” was new!
As of this writing, August 26, 2003, we have covered 750 miles. At a recent
car show in Danville, California the 109” was a huge hit, it’s also huge hit
wherever it goes, even more so at home with the Green boys. After covering
the break-in mileage, we replaced the presently fitted
camshaft & variable rate lifters with something a bit less viscous… as it
eats fuel like no tomorrow. Try 8 to 8.5 mpg! On road performance is
impressive however. Ever done 100+ mph in a 109”? In a top gear roll on from
50 mph on the freeway one evening, and using a light foot (for once) on the
throttle, 100 mph came up quite quickly, and it was still pulling! All in
all, the performance is far superior than when it was new with the 2.6L, the
brakes have been improved, as has ride quality and wheel travel. As for
things like A/C… we don’t need it, Mum and Dad coped without. What with the
tropical roof and vents open, plus the front flaps, one can get quite a
breeze going through the 109”.
April 2004; The 109"
took a trip around
the state of Nevada. Crossing over the Sierra's via Highway 88, then up
Highway 395, we headed east along Nevada "Loneliest Road in America",
Highway 50. In Austin we were stopped by the local Sheriff, who said,
"can I take a few pictures of your 109?" From there is was off to
Eureka. The next day the 109" did record mileage of 14.49-mpg at a steady
75-mph from Eureka to Ely! Ok, we admit, we did have a slight tale-wind.
Ely was once the home of Pete Gamboa Motors (a Land-Rover dealer from the
1950s - 1974). From Ely we
turned north and stopped at Cherry Creek; where the Thomas Flyer stopped in 1908
during the New York to Paris Race). Then it was onto Wendover, NV for
the night. From
Wendover we headed for Elko, where we had the best dinner of our trip,
that being at "The Star". While in Elko we stopped in at
Dick Wright Motors, another long time Land-Rover dealer from days gone by,
sadly he was away. From Elko we headed for a few ghost towns
and some neat railroad views. Later that day we found "Maiden's Grave",
something worth seeing. Coming out of Elko we'd be bucking a nasty head-wind
all the way to Winnemucca, where we would spend the night. That said, the
109" maintained 75-mph over Emigrant Pass and still did nearly 12-mpg. Next
stop was Imlay, the original "Lassen Cutoff" for the road to Lassen's
Ranch (& California) and Oregon Trail. Here we followed the Applegate-Lassen
Trail to Gerlach, where we refueled. Now thinking of home, we headed north
to Cedarville, then west to Redding. On the run from Redding to Dublin we
maintained a stead 75-mph and did 12.49-mph... Not bad for a 109" that
is shaped like a brick! During our trip we covered 1671 miles.
week later the 109 was off to Nevada Trophy 2004 in Lovelock, NV. With
all the equipment, 2 full-size & 2-small dirt bikes on the trailer, and the
3 boys inside, the 109" had no trouble keeping 75-mph up to Blue Canyon on
I-80. At present the 109 has covered 6448 miles. In June 2004 we
bought & modified a 390 Holley to "Truck Master" specification, then
customized a carb spacer to suit... the results are impressive to say the
least! No more flat spots, 100% drivability... how's 3rd gear at 500-rpm?
During April 2005 we again took the 109" on a tour through Nevada. From
Dublin to Bridgeport, CA, then onto Lone Pine where we found a dirt road
across the top of Death Valley to Scotty's Castle, some 80+ miles. Next stop
Las Vegas. The 109 cruised at 80+ all the way, even
exceeding 100 mph while over taking a semi on two occasions!
now over 10,000 miles on the clock... In October 2005 we finally
removed the TIC springs and fitted Genuine LR springs and Old Man Emu
shocks... it now acts like a Land Rover 109". A new
Holley 470 Truckmaster carb has since replaced the 390 version, and so far
we love the results! Stay tuned for more on the 109.
We hope that next time you are in the area, that you’ll stop by and see the
109”… or maybe the Rover V8 powered all Yellow 88”, or the 1973 88" we’re working on now.
Spring 1970, San Simian, CA. Richard Green with "his" NADA 109" Wagon. On the way home the old 109" would have a constant misfire, Richard would make a gallant attempt to find it one night in the hotel.
A burnt valve was found to be the cause.
Chassis # 34300284A
CA Lic# 641ATW
||Left: May 1969, Incline Village, Nevada.
Still with the Rover Motor Co Dealer plate fitted... 518.
Michael Green and sister Kerry prepare for a "summer outing" in Tahoe. This is the same '67 NADA 109" Wagon
as the one shown above. When Richard Green bought it from the company
it was re-painted two-tone, and licensed "641ATW".
Below: in 1970; Here the '67 NADA Land Rover 6-cylinder
hauls Aston Martin DB3S/113 Coupe (Earl Kelton's) back from
the paint shop to Alameda, CA.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM