Stage One - We started the Register !
Click here for Stage Ones around the world.
by Annette Flottwell
There is a Range Rover Register, a 130 Register - we want a Stage One V8 register!
Stage One V8 is - in our opinion - the best Series Three ever built. Where
diesel engines just lack power or 2 1/4 engines lose power after 150,000
kms, the Stage One V8 keeps going strong. There is nothing comparable
to that joy when Sally, the prototype, revs up to 120 kms/75miles/h or
passed impenetrable mudholes crossed by sheer torque.
There is no Stage One Club, no register, no model. It was about time to create a register , we thought. For all us die hards who can't live without our 20 or more year old, purring V8s on leaf springs.
The factory Protoype
is Sally, the 1976 factory prototype. She has been exposed to too much salt spray by careless
previous owners, but the chassis is still solid and her engine purrs nicely, the remarkable sound
of her engine is as enticing as it may have been for her first testers. I don't know anything
about her history yet, but I was told all these prototypes had a hard life in Eastnor Castle before
they were sold to the public. Yet the past has not impressed her, the original engine is as fine
as the gearbox and the overdrive - after 26 years. Wayne - the last owner told me that he had
bought her with the original diagonal tyres - they were falling apart!
The rest is pretty much standard early 109, military wings, old type doors and an obviously later hardtop.
Even shifting the gears is as tight as you might expect from any Range Rover, but to my immense joy the synchro still is fine.
Sally needs a lot of attention, a donation of a bucket of Hammerite and Dinitrol would be more than welcome:-) The bulkhead and the footwells provide to much ventilation in the Flemish autumn, rain and air get in unhampered. There must have been an accident once, the replaced right front wing, the bulkhead and the later (early 110?) bonnet lead to that conclusion.
It is surprising, however, how small the differences to our later 1980 and 1982 Stage Ones are. If it took three years to launch the Stage One after Sally was built - she and the other prototypes must have been carefully tested. Though I doubt very much that the electrical equipment received as much attention as the rest. WHY did they not fit an adequate alternator?
These were our three Stage Ones - Yellow Cat, the youngest of them all, runs on LPG and is our daily transport. Sally was introduced before and Takeo's 1980 Yellow Tomcat now belongs to a couple in the Poitou
The first difference is, obviously, the
engine. Stage One engine numbers start with <11G0..>. They are very much like the 355...
series engines in the early Range Rovers. Yes, they are listed on page IB04 of the parts catalogue.
The compression is 1:8.13, carburettors are Stromberg, like in the early RRs, I do not know of
nay difference other than the exhaust manifold. Please correct me if you know other differences,
I'd be interested. For liability reasons, restrictor plates were fitted to these engines, only
to be thrown out asap. In case you are not sure, take of the easier, co-driver side carb, and
look for a stupid plate with four holes in the air intake. Wiggle it out with a pair of pliers
and have fun getting the 4th bolt on the seconfd carb when you fasten it, the gain in power will
be more than rewarding.
First of all, check the chassis
number. It should start with LBC, followed by A for Utilities and M for Station wagons. OK I hear
you say but that makes it a six cylinder as well. Yes, but no six cylinders were built after 1978.
Certainly not in 1979 when the system changed.
There are many other adaptations, like the brown genuine 6x6 at the right. It is one of the 15 conversions made as a Land Rover Special vehicle.
Frankly, I don't know how many
were built. Many times I have been told several times that even Land Rover doesn't know. I know
that about 500 were imported into the Netherlands, 32 were imported into Belgium and there were
a few in Luxembourg.
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