1973 Land Rover
By Vern Parker
Rough and tough, go anywhere Land Rovers have been prominently featured in countless motion picture films where the action took place where no other vehicle could go.
Such was also true in real life military actions.
During the 1970s and 1980s there was not much demand in metropolitan Washington, D.C. for a vehicle that knew no bounds. However, that fact did not deter Marty Miller from acquiring a slightly used 1973 Model 88 Land Rover. It was blue with a white top.
At that time he practiced his salesmanship and convinced his bride, Elaine, to go camping in the Land Rover. It was a short lived event. Their family soon outgrew the cozy vehicle and it was sold but the memory of it lingered on.
The year 2014 was almost history when Miller saw for sale on eBay a 1973 Land Rover Model 88 virtually identical to his first one except this one was red with a white top.
An ecstatic Miller hurriedly purchased the car in December and arranged for a truck to pick it up in Florida and deliver it to him in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The transaction was completed without Miller ever having seen the Land Rover.
When the 11-foot, 10.5-inch-long Land Rover arrived there were only few surprises and they were not unexpected. Not all of the lights were in working order, the speedometer needle had fallen off and the gasoline gauge was not functioning. Those few minor maladies were corrected with some rewiring, and sending the speedometer off to be repaired and installing a new sending unit in the fuel tank.
Because Land Rovers are often driven in trackless wilderness far from any repair shop they are designed to be readily fixed in the field.
The sturdy 139.4-cubic-inch four cylinder engine develops 70-horsepower which is transferred to to the four 16-inch diameter drive wheels via a four-speed transmission. The manual hubs are on the front wheels.
Rising from the floor are four levers. The far left one is the hand brake next to the shift lever capped with a black knob. To the right of that are yellow and red knobs on the two levers operating the low axle rating.
This vehicle wasn't designed for speed but with tremendous torque it will go anywhere.
Both front and rear floors are covered with black rubber mats.
All of the side windows slide open and closed which eliminates the need for any cranking mechanisms to raise or lower windows for ventilation,
The radiator is somewhat protected for when the Land Rover is crashing through the brush on safari or in the shopping mall parking lot. The front fenders extend further forward than the recessed radiator.
When seated behind the three-spoke steering wheel Miller has a clear view to the rear reflected in the two outrigger mirrors. The interior is upholstered in black vinyl with the two rear seats facing one another.
Access to the full length roof rack is achieved by climbing up the metal ladder to the left of the rear door. A pair of flood lights at the front of the roof rack are designed to illuminate obstacles in the underbrush. A third light, mounted on the rear of the roof rack augments the more “car like” back up lights on the rear corners of the Land Rover.
Although the spare tire on Miller's Land Rover is mounted vertically to the rear of the front seat he says there were two other optional locations for spare tires to be mounted. Often, he says, a spare tire was secured horizontally on the engine hood.
Another location for a spare tire was on the rear door. All three locations were fitted with mounting brackets.
Currently, a five-gallon gasoline can occupies a spare tire space on the rear door.