While there is no doubting the success of the original
4 cylinder Series 1 Land Rover, there was a void in their
line-up between the rather utilitarian Land Rover at one
end of the scale, and the very much up-market Range Rover
at the other.
Rover knew there was demand for a 4X4 utility vehicle
with better performance than the 4 cylinder variant could
offer, and so the series 2 and 2a could be optioned with
a 6 cylinder engine.
The "6" offered far smoother power delivery, and made
the vehicle ideal for towing. However 1980 heralded big
news for lovers of the Land Rover, as now for the first
time the Rover V8 engine could be optioned!
"Stage 1", the V8 offered vastly superior performance
and made the Land Rover a much more drivable conveyance
on the highway - and was the first Land Rover to feature
full time 4WD.
In fact many of the developments made on the Series
3 Stage 1 were carried forward to form the basis of
"Defender". But how do you pick a "Stage 1"? The most
obvious difference between it and other Land Rover's is
the flush radiator grille (as seen on 90 & 110 Land
And remember that it has always been a popular practice
for Land Rover owners to transplant other engines into
their cars, most commonly the Holden Red motor. Factory
fitted 6 cylinder and V8 engines were only ever made
available to LWB (109") vehicles.
These vehicles featured
up-rated braking systems and transmission components
to cope with the extra power.
Please note that it is a
standard Series 3 (not Stage 1) pictured.