“1973 Land Rover 101 Forward Control, 1.5L 3B diesel with AXT turbocharger; 5 speed gearbox. ARB diff lockers front and rear; electric 10,000 lb. winch; custom free-wheeling hubs. Six Michelin tires. Very low mileage for its age. Comes with brand new canvas (not shown). For appointment to view, contact Jay 604-760-5350. Currently in storage.”
When it comes to awesome vehicles, the Land Rover 101″ Forward Control is right near the top of the list. A little known variant of the brand’s all-conquering Series IIA and Series III trucks, the forward control fulfilled the British military’s need for an air-transportable 1-tonne utility truck, and did so in much the same manner as did Volvo’s Laplander and Steyr-Puch’s Pinzgauer. Produced in a variety of formats for the military alone (there were no civilian forward controls manufactured), the forward control could be had in radio car, ambulance, and truck layouts, with varying body styles and widths befitting their specific roles; radio trucks typically possess an enclosed shell that is no wider than the front end, while ambulances bulge outward to allow additional room for stretchers and medical equipment. Trucks, such as the one pictured here, feature your standard issue, military-style folding bed sides and typically benefit from the fitment of a hoop set and canvas roof.
Although this blog may be called “Cars You Should Buy,” I fear this first entry after the holiday season breaks with tradition and brings you a car you most certainly should not, regardless of how cool it may appear. Having had the unfortunate fortune of undergoing an engine and transmission swap at some point, the truck has lost one of its best features; the ability to use a huge amount of standard Land Rover parts. Whilst Laplanders, Pinzgauers, and even Unimogs are specific vehicles with very little parts sharing with their stablemates, the 101 utilized much of the same running gear as the regular Land Rover Series IIA and III trucks, which means that any current owner can take advantage of a huge parts supply network. Of course, that pedestrian design also makes it a bit less capable than the similarly-sized, portal-axle-equipped forward control trucks from Steyr, Volvo, and Mercedes, and the prices typically reflect that. It also doesn’t help that due to their relatively awkward looks, punishing ride, and niche status, they simply don’t command much of a market. Readily available in the UK for around nine grand in restored condition, and typically carrying a $2,500 shipping cost, this truck’s $25,000 price tag is absolutely ridiculous. But, if nothing else, it does serve as a great excuse to search eBay Motors UK for a better one. As always, interested parties can click the blue text alongside the topmost picture to navigate to the seller’s Craigslist ad… but I wouldn’t recommend it.