1972 Land Rover With Classic Styling & Modern Drivetrain for Best of Both Worlds

Confession: Off-roading is not a rational pastime. Building a rig is an investment in happiness, but don’t expect big financial returns. For some, the love for Toyotas was fostered by playing the Ivan Stewart video game Super Off Road, but Luke Howard became a Land Rover fan after taking the family LR3 out on the trail years ago. It transitioned from daily driver to trail rig, but the independent suspension and electronic controls limited just how far he could push the vehicle. Luke was in search of something more analog.

Enter this 1972 Land Rover 109 Series 3. It doesn’t get much more analog than that! Luke worked with Tim Scully at Scully Offroad to graft the classic aluminum body onto a modern Discovery chassis with a fuel-injected V-8 engine and coil suspension. The frame was stretched 10 inches, and Dana 44 axles were slung underneath. While this is anathema to Land Rover purists, it was a practical decision. “Rover axles were an option but cost prohibitive,” Luke explains. “We opted for Wagoneer axles for the offset rear, gear selection options, and less expensive locker options.”

Rover axles or no, this right-hand drive Frankenrover is as unique as they come.

The Series 3 front end was given a more modern look with a KBX Defender grille and Liteway LED headlights. The EAG bumper is actually intended for a Jeep Wrangler but looks right at home on the front of the Rover. The bumper holds a 13,000 pound winch from Boar Off-Road.

The 1972 body was slung over a 1997 Discovery frame that was lengthened 10 inches by Scully Offroad. Terrafirma fender flares cover the 37-inch Nitto Mud Grappler tires and keep owner Luke Howard legal.

Power comes from a 4.0L Rover V-8 engine that was in the donor Discovery. It is backed by the factory four-speed automatic transmission and legendary LT230 transfer case that boasts a 3.32:1 low range and 1.2:1 high range. This engine is all aluminum and based on the Buick V-8s of old.

The British-market steering box is on what is typically considered the passenger side since the vehicle is right-hand drive. Scully Offroad built a heavy-duty drag link and tie rod to steer the Dana 44 front axle that uses 4.88 Yukon gears, an ARB Air Locker, Yukon chromoly axleshafts, and Yukon Super Joints.

The rear suspension was custom built by Scully Offroad with heavy-duty lower control arms and Terrafirma 3-inch lift coil springs, and Pro Comp shocks. 4×4 Outlet cut out the truss on the rear axle that affixes the upper control arms, then Scully Offroad installed it.

The rear axle is an offset Dana 44 out of a Wagoneer that was equipped with a Quadratrac transfer case. It also lines up with the Rover transfer case. The axle is filled with 4.88 Yukon gears and a Detroit Locker under the Ruff Stuff Specialties cover, along with chromoly axleshafts and disc brakes.

The aluminum body and top of the Land Rover don’t rust, but paint still falls off. This makes for unique (and awesome) patina. Inside, the Series Rover has been updated with an LR4 interior.

Tech Specs

1972 Land Rover 109
Engine: 4.0L V-8
Transmission: ZF 4HP22 4-speed automatic
Transfer Case: Range Rover LT230
Axles: Dana 44 with 4.88 Yukon gears and ARB Air Locker (front and rear)
Springs & Such: 3-link with 2-inch Terrafirma coils and Terrafirma shocks (front); triangulated 3-link with 3-inch Terrafirma coils and Pro Comp shocks (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 37×13.5R18 Nitto Mud Grapplers on 18×9 Spyderlock beadlocks
Steering: Discovery power steering, Scully Offroad heavy-duty tie rod and drag link
Lighting: Liteway 75W 7-inch-round black LED headlights with DRL high/low beams
Other Stuff: 97 Discovery chassis, right-hand drive, LR4 interior, custom Scully Offroad rock sliders, EAG front bumper, Boar Off Road winch

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