Monday, 28 November 2016

Conversions. Cuthbertson Tracked Land Rover

I took a visit with the South Wales Land Rover Club to the Gaydon British Car Museum recently and as it's Cold and Dark and often it's Wet when I get home, I am spending a little time reading a few more things about some of the Land Rovers I saw on that visit.

One of the more unusual vehicles in terms of drive train is the Cuthbertson Tracked Land Rover 

James A Cuthbertson Ltd of Biggar, Lanarkshire Scotland were an early manufacturer of rubber tracks, dating back to World War II. They took a standard Land Rover and fitted removable tracks to it to create the Cuthbertson Land Rover. This greatly lowered the ground pressure, to 1.9 lbs/sq in (0.2Nm), and allowed the Land Rover to traverse snow or swampy ground.

The Land Rover wheel is replaced with a sprocket which drives the rubber track around lower rubber wheels which are attached to a subframe which takes the pressure off the normal Land Rover running gear.

From information on-line it seems that around 15 were made which range in age from apparently a Series 1 version in the late 1950's (see Cuthbertson website link above) through Series II and Series III vehicles (of which there are many pictures on-line) with both short and long wheelbases used.

From various video's and on-line resources it seems the tracks are not good on road and very noisy on hard surfaces and are not good at "steps" where there is a high rock or ridge to climb, so not a perfect vehicle for all terrains, but they do seem to deal with the soft stuff very well.

There are a number of interesting pictures and some information on their use by the bomb disposal team here

The excellent Remlr site has a set of pictures of an Australian trial Cuthbertson

Here's a video of one in action in some very muddy conditions and it does not miss a beat in progression

And there is an excellently old fashioned Pathe News film where one can be seen at about 34 seconds

I've enjoyed reading about them, but I don't think I want one which is quite good news as I don't think one will fit on the drive.

I have to admit that a vehicle that claims to be demountable, but seems like you need a second vehicle to carry the accessory items seems not practical, but it seems the idea has not been lost because Sir Ranulph Feinnes had 110 Land Rovers fitted with Mattrack tracks for an expedition. They were successful in the prototype runs, but the expedition was cancelled

You can read about that here: -

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Land Rover Reborn

November being cold and wet (and boy was it wet yesterday with the aftermath of Storm Angus wreaking havoc across much of Southern Britain) it was a good day (apart from the driving) to head off to Solihull again with the SWLRC to take a look at the new Land Rover Reborn Tour run by the  Land Rover Experience Team at Solihull

This new tour features the work of the Classic Workshop team who are taking old, but generally structurally sound vehicles from generally dry parts of the world and restoring them to the state that they would have left the factory.

Some may consider that this removes the history and patina of age, but it does result in a wonderful vehicle and it is according to the team there generating a number of side benefits in the way that the history and heritage is being rediscovered, documented and practised by the current generation of JLR people.

Well that's the sales pitch from JLR, and from the comments and attitude of the couple of people we were able to speak to on the line it really seemed that they were living this attitude not just saying it.

Key things I took from the visit (leaving our an awful lot that our hosts told us but I do not want to spoil the adventure for anyone planning a visit)
  1. They look for good quality vehicles to start with, that generally means ones from dry climates although there was discussion about one may have come from Wales and we all know that's not a dry climate
  2. The rebuild is based on what the car had originally with only very minor upgrades possible (lap straps and heaters were mentioned)
  3. If it can be repaired it will be, otherwise original parts or age correct parts will be used
  4. Original paint colours for the specific vehicle are being researched from the records and matched. 
  5. You can get an age related plate even if its an imported ones so no nasty yellow reflective plates on your Series 1
I have to say that the workmanship on the vehicles looked absolutely superb!

Like I said land Rover can do most of their own advertising and of course they do, so if you do want to follow up, take a look at their website and these couple of nice video's

Sorry no pictures of the actual rebuilds, but we were able to take some pictures of the club visit to the Land Rover heritage displays which is housed in the Reborn workshops

That's a clean chassis

And a nice car to look at 

You can find a victim to re-create a classic Land Rover historical picture

Health and Safety prevent the full test as was done in the early days ...

They have created a homage vehicle for the First Overland vehicles. I had to check the number plate from the book when I got home but when you look it is part one set of colours and part another, with accessories in G4 orange. It was used in a re-creation of part of a "sort of" repeat journey when it joined some modern vehicles on their way to China as far as Munich

With so few wires in the loom Dave was a bit puzzled what went where... 

And finally a team shot around the series

At the end we were privileged to meet up with Mike Bishop who runs this section for JLR and was instrumental in its founding and success. So we had another team picture...

Thanks to all at JLR for the nice visit. even if we didn't yet see the new Defender, maybe next time :-)

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Katy's Winter Put Away

November is a cold time of year, it's not a good time for workong on vehicles outdoors and there are no car shows to visit either so its the time of year for putting things away and making things ready for winter.

In Katy's case this means taking out the soft furnishings and anything else that can be damaged if it gets damp through any water ingress or simply condensation build up. It means making sure she goes for a run now and again to charge the battery and if I can't manage that plugging in the intelligent battery charger I bought.

These next generation battery charging devices are becoming more common and from the reviews I have read do a much better job than the old ones.

From initial use on both Katy and our classic mini the initial summary is that the device is a lot more informative about the state of the battery, the state of the charge and the status of the recharge. There are multiple devices in this market place. The one I purchased has won a "best buy" award from a Land Rover magazine, but to be honest it was the one available in our local auto spares shop when I went in so little more thinking than that

I've not used all the features, but so far so good and I hope to have a more reliable start whenever I need a vehicle this winter, andI don't want to rely on my previous best buy in this area the "Instant start charger".

It gets you going, but with the mains start it means you have not been looking after your battery and it's a sledgehammer approach to this problem. Hopefully  by the spring my review will be as positive as others I have seen. I will also be using it on the leisure battery as I do not think that the Solar panel we have is effective at keeping that charged. it was fitted in 2001 so there have been a lot of developments in that area and it is one I will need to investigate across the winter looking at a possible upgrade

Friday, 14 October 2016

Feeling deflated ... and reflated

2 tyes with faulty valves in 1 month... time for some action as that leaves no working spare tyres

Me with a bad arm so not capable of dealing with it

Many thanks to Pete from SWLRC and Steve from Dscount Tyres Cardiff for their prompt and efficient help and we are back to the full set of working wheels

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Margam Again

A lovely day out with the SWLRC at a classic British location 

Here we are lined up with some friends on our club stand 

Katy looking good with the blue lights flashing and her original number plate, both for show use only of course

At the end of the day we took all the vehicles up to the front of the castle for a group shot 

And as I was faffing around more than everyone else we had a personal shot to finish the day back in her on road configuration and ready for off 

Now if you want to watch the video click on the picture below 

Saturday, 20 August 2016


A few weeks ago I took the unusual step of posting a picture I did not own in the hope of finding out where it was taken as it had katy in it.

Some suggestions were made on line and via email, but finally I had to write an actual letter. A few days later I got this wonderful response from Major Hunter officer commanding the 4th Scots
Good afternoon Andy ,

The photo of Katy was taken in Bourlon Barracks Catterick , I currently command HQ Coy 4 SCOTS who now occupy the Barracks and can see the image minus Katy from my window.

I don’t see why we cannot organise a visit for you to take a similar photo of Katy in the same position, let me know if this is something you would like to do and I will try my best to facilitate.
So we took him up on his offer, sadly he was not there to meet in person, but the guards on the gate were very helpful and we were able to get in as promised.  First we drove around to find roughly the right place

Then we dressed her with her original number plate we have for display use.

And were able to re-create the original picture minus of course all the civilian ambulances in the background

We all had a wonderful visit with the guard team having a good look around (I think they were more checking the quality of the bedding than the security aspects, but we all know soldiers have a hard life at times)

If any of the team read this all we can say is the same we said on the day - Many thanks!

I would like to visit the remaining places she was stationed some time, Manston is non operational but is the home of the Spitfire Museum so that is as good a reason as any, Croatia is possible, but I think at the moment Rwanda is not possible

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Not a Bodge job

The Exhaust had an annoying rattle and I had looked about 5 times and decided the only way forward was some steel cable ties to damp down some movement in the exhaust

The 6th time when I went to do it, having invested my whole £3.00, I instantly spotted the loose nut and tightened it up - rattle gone

I don't know whether to be pleased I sorted it or annoyed at myself 

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Out and about in the Sunshine

Rhian's Classic Mini has "caught rust", OK you can't catch rust, but it is an occupational hazard of classic vehicles so Rhian had to use Katy to get to work the other day.

It was the girls first time out together unsupervised and by all reports of being waved at by other Land Rover owners and smiles from Rhian it went very well.

The reversing camera was used to full effect getting Katy neatly in the white lines and right back close into the plants - good parking girls!

The next weekend we headed off to Cheddar to do some fun caving with Robin Gray the famous cave artist and the rest of our ISSA friends and stopped off on the way back for a wonderful picnic in the gorge

And tonight we are celebrating a 50th birthday which is exactly what a portable bed (camper) is useful for

Monday, 23 May 2016

Cardiff Classic Show 2016

The clouds were threatening and the skies were grey, but there was a bit of sun in the sky as well so it was not long before we were going to see a rainbow. 

Of course when you park most old Land Rovers on some wet ground that is the inevitable result.

But it was not long before the sun came out and we could start admiring the new blue covers for the spotlights that I have on Katy to reflect how she would have been in service. 

I tried not to be too antisocial using the siren, but I have to say that the spotlight covers from look absolutely wonderful, they are just the right colour to give the impression of proper blue lights and are easy to fit and remove so the police won't get upset with me on the open roads (as long as I do remember to take them off)

If you are looking for spotlight covers in colours then I can fully recommend the service from Ashely at The delivery service from half way around the world was better than some UK companies can give!

Of course we were there with the South Wales Land Rover Club and the team did their normal excellent job of getting the marquee up and getting the kettle on so we could offer a real sense of hospitality to those who came along and maybe even persuade some of the Land Rover Owners to join us,

Talking of which I was really pleased to see my first Carmichael TACR Range Rover which parked up alongside the club stand and we made every effort to feel welcome  

TACR stands for Truck Aircraft Crash rescue and you can read all about them on the TACR register web site 

It really is a beast of a Range Rover with the extra pair of wheels and truly visibly outstanding with its brand new red paint job

Like Katy it had fully functional blue lights and sirens. It pleases the child in me if not everyone else 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Katy in Green

This is a very clean and new looking Katy taken alongside a set of civilian ambulances on what looks like a parade ground. It has been suggested this could have been during an ambulance drivers strike in 1989-1990

If you recognise the place or the event and know where or when it was taken I would love to hear from you via either the comments form or the email contact form on the right of the blog

I do not normally post pictures that I am not sure about the provenance of, but I am doing this in the hope that someone may see it and be able to help me, and I am very willing to remove it from this post if the owner does find it and is not happy for me to show it in this context

You can read an update to this post here

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

This is the BBC calling...

Whoever fitted the centre console cubby box did me no favours.

The radio aerial wasn't connected and the bolt holding it down were underneath part of the box frame

After about an hour cutting and felting I was able to plug it in..

Now after all those years the BBC can be heard

(in terms of impartiality I should point out that other radio stations are available)

Friday, 6 May 2016

New Roof, New MOT, New start

Old metal rusts...

I'd spotted a small hole and some rust patches on the floor of Katy and so did the MOT tester. so 2 new patches and she's right as rain and ready to go.

Talking of rain ...

We had some right disasters with the roof last year with the leak at the start of the year meaning a complete rebuild and then it leaked again, and then again...

So I stripped it out again and then with both of us working a lot at the moment and not getting time to play we decided the best thing was to take Katy to an expert and therefore she has just come back from Newport Caravans where she has had a new skylight fitted and a new inner roof

Hopefully that's it sorted properly now and we can be off to have a lot of fun!

Friday, 18 March 2016

"Blue Light" Adventures

My friend Dave helped me again with some work on the electrics today

It was quite a successful day before it stated getting cold so we decided to halt and do a test of the new features. The reversing camera cables were run underneath the vehicle and in through an existing gromit in the battery bx and then up to the plate I had fitted to hold the screen. A switch was added as we used a feed from the leisure battery rather than messing with wiring to the ignition

The reversing camera works just as expected ..

The connections to the leisure battery and camera were all tidied up ..

The Fog lights work  just as expected ..

The Spotlights however have been wired into a spare switch on the dashboard and when we turned them on this was the result (Click the picture or the link below)

Blue Lights Video

That will be great for car shows, but we will need to make an adjustment before they are useful at other times. 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Patrick and Jenny's Barn Find

Howdy folk... 

Travelling in the US you never know what you will find, and as I sat inside Uncle Viniie's Clam Bar in Raritan NJ I was pleased to see this little beauty pulling up outside.

The owners seemed pleased to see a kindred spirit so we spent a few moments exchanging information about our shared passion for Land Rovers before we all went back into what is reputed to be one of the best places in town to go and eat. 

Well folk, It looks a "mighty fine soft top" and well suited to the warm evening we were sharing

One of the really nice things about Land Rovers is when you find someone in a strange place the people driving it are almost certainly nice people 

I hope you had a nice meal folk....

Friday, 4 March 2016

Do Land Rovers Dream of Electric Sheep Part 1

It was a bright sunny morning today which was excellent news because I had taken up a friends offer of help. Last year at the Margam car show Dave Kilburn kindly offered to help me sort out the electrics I wanted to do on Katy.

Dave had been an Auto Electrics instructor in the RAF so was the absolutely perfect person to help with this sort out.

To set the scene Katy has three sets of Electrics

  1. Normal Land Rover Electrics
  2. Military Electrics
  3. Camper Electrics
The problem is that some were disconnected when she came out of service and some were cross linked when she was converted to a camper. back when we first had her the lights were so unreliable I had to spend quite a bit to get the basic Land Rover lighting sorted out 

Since then we decided in the Alps that we needed more lights as a backup as one failed on us but then was working again - spots and fogs are not strictly needed at the speed we go, but are valuable backup to the main lights. The trouble was which switch works which ? 

there were cables at the front from previously fitted lamps, but no power in the wires so Dave and I started our investigations and quickly identified that without power to the military fuse box none of the yellow (military) wires worked

Once we did it we were able to take a close look at the switches and identify what switch worked which wires

Soon they were labelled up and ready to go

Then whilst I drilled and ran a proper cable to that fuse box, Dave made a start sorting out the mess behind the passenger seat put in as a prior project and removes about half of the rats nest in the following picture 

And all of this mess

One downside - it seems the large Solar Panel is not working which needs to be investigated as the leisure battery will run down as it's not connected to the main battery any more 

So we decided to end the day on a high and Dave kindly wired up one of the spots and one of the fogs whilst I drilled some holes and prepared cables with spiral wrap and he connected them up and we were able to finish with 2 working new lights 

A really successful day and I could not have done it without his expertise 

BTW the power to the Military box has one very non subtle addition... Nee Naww,, Nee Naw.. strictly for use at shows only of course

Thanks Dave !

Saturday, 2 January 2016

2015 summary

It's been a quiet year in the Land Rover Katy world as my work has taken me all over the world and has left little time for Land Rover fun, Even when I have been here the weather has been awful

Back in January I bemoaned that Katy was going Green because of algae growing on her poor paintwork - well, it's as bad as ever and given the state of the year we have had even our white house looks like it needs a full Jetwash.

Then in February I pondered and was answered on the question of whether Katy went to Rwanda

We hit the press twice last year as I had an article in March when our Alps adventures were published in Total Off Road, and again in the Landy magazine in may

In June I had the pleasure of being able to share pictures of Katy in Croatia on this blog

In preparation for the SWLRC Road run in September we had declas made of her original markings and we showed these off again on the club stand at the Margam Classic Car Show

Refurbishments were in the main fixing things I had done badly with a leaking roof and a non working window to be sorted out, but there are plans in place for some more refurbishments and improvements in 2016

As a point in trivia I exported this blog and the Ambulances research page into MS Word format and given some reformatting they come out at 362 and 171 A4 pages each and at 54422 and 18216 words respectively which means I have written 533 pages and 72638 words in total.

I only stated it as something for me to be able to remember the work I had done and somewhere to share some information with a few friends. When I did this review at the start of the year the page reads on this blog were just 44,000, now they stand at just below 60,000. I really do hope that people have found this blog useful, from the comments and emails I have received I do think that is the case, but if you have any comments or feedback I would appreciate hearing from you via the comments options at the bottom of every post or page, or failing that via the email link on the right hand side of the blog

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