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
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