This off-road driving instructional film was produced by the Rover Triumph Film Unit back in 1974, it features the then-new short wheelbase Series 3 Land Rover being put through its paces, and it showcases the impressive abilities of the now legendary 4×4.
The Series 3 (also known as the Series III) Land Rover was first introduced in 1971 as a replacement for the outgoing Series 2A, which itself had replaced the Series 2, which had succeeded the original Series 1.
Over time each of these model generations had seen a number of both minor and major improvements and the vehicles had been wildly popular both in Britain and around the world, with the 1,000,000th Land Rover rolling off the production line in 1976.
440,000 examples of the Series 3 were made between 1971 and 1985, making it the best-selling Series Land Rover by quite some margin.
The differences between the Series 2A and the Series 3 were somewhat limited, both had much the same in the way of body styles and engine choices, though the Series 3 had the headlights moved permanently to the outer front wings similar to the latter Series 2As. The iconic metal grille was replaced with a plastic one, though it was immune to rust the earlier grille is typically favored by enthusiasts.
In the engine bay the inline-four cylinder, overhead valve 2.25 liter engine was much the same, though the “high-compression” option that had been offered on the earlier Series 2A was now standard, offering an improvement from 7.0:1 to 8.0:1 and a slight power gain as a result.
Inside the car the old metal dashboard and central instrument cluster were gone, now replaced with a soft black plastic dashboard and a gauge cluster directly in front of the driver.
Later in the Series 3 production run the gearbox was upgraded with synchromesh on all four forward gears, the gearbox, axles, and wheel hubs were all strengthened and in 1980 the petrol and diesel 2.25 liter engines received five main bearing crankshafts.
This film is emblematic of the era, with a jovial and very British narrator talking the viewer through what they’re seeing on screen and further explaining the principles being taught in the film. The narrator ends with the memorable line: “A Land Rover immobilized is a moral defeat for the driver, and bad publicity for the vehicle.”
Given the film’s 12 minute running time it doesn’t offer a deep dive into off-road driving skill development but it does cover many of the basics including water fording, steep incline ascent and descent, engine braking, the use of high and low range, engaging the four-wheel drive system, and driving over various types of terrain.
If you’d like to read more about the history of the Land Rover Series 3 you can visit our extensive article on the model range here.
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.