Road Warrior:

1964 Series IIA 109" 5 Door Safari Station Wagon

Right back around when Da and I picked up the Coti Three, we also go a call from the Badger.  Joe Badger was his name, and he told us that he owned three Land Rovers that he used on his ranch, a pair of 88's and a 109.  He was interested in selling at least one of them so we were off!  The trees had been shaken and Rovers were falling all around us.  By this point in time we were well into the height of our addiction and had found that purchasing rovers in package deals was much more effective than those inconvenient single buys.

 We arrived and found that the Badger was true to his word.  In a garage near the house, sat a dark blue early '60's 88" Diesel Softtop.  "Softop" is not quite the right word since someone had pop riveted corrugated aluminum roofing atop the struts. Cool!  We learned later that this was the only one of the cars that had been running recently.  We rang the bell and out of the door of the house came a distinguished looking older gentleman, hunched with age and maybe about 70.  He introduced himself and we set off walking down a dirt road to find the other two cars.  After rounding a corner, Da and I lay eyes on a sight that remains unprecedented even in our diverse Rover chronicles.


There parked along the side of the dirt track sat RoadWarrior -- looking its part.  The core of the car was definitely a sand colored 109 5 door wagon, but the majority of the body panels had been removed making the rover look more like a rolling chassis or some Franken-vehicle out of Mad Max.  No doors or fender on the driver's side and a large dent in the rear panel.  No roof.   Almost nothing at all.  To add to the surreal nature of the thing, large aircraft balloon-landing tires were fitted, almost making the rover look like it could fly!  When questioned about these peculiar treads, the Badger explained that he used the car to collect firewood and he did not like to rip up the grass as he drove around the farm!  An environmentalist no less.

 With some more prodding, the history of the beast we call the RoadWarrior broke lose.  The badger had picked the car up some time in the '70s after someone had rolled it down a ravine into a river.  He bought what was left of the wreck and had removed the damaged body panels.  The car turned out to be in good shape and since it ran well he was content to drive it around as a sort of open Pink Panther- looking Pickup.  In the hot dry climate of Sonoma, vehicles remain in excellent shape.  Paint on the frame!  No rust!

Da and I also looked at a car that would become Dad's 88.  All went well until we began to discuss price.  The badger was not as ripe to part with the rovers as we had thought and the three of us could not come to a mutual agreement.


Years went by.  And then that itch came back.  Da and I had fallen off the wagon again.  After a short phone call and some haggling I bought RoadWarrior, Dad's 88" and the better part of a capstan winch for an agreeable price, all sight unseen (unseen for three or four years).  I don't even remember with who or how we picked the cars up, but I think it was cousin Ken again.  We were surprised to discover that many of RoadWarrior's missing body panels were not actually missing.  The Badger turned out to have saved most of the bits and pieces including the driver's side roll over parts.  The only things actually missing were the roof and back sides.

Once home Da and I began work immediately.  To our profound and utter amazement the hydraulics still worked -- this was a really good sign that the rover gods were smiling upon us.  RoadWarrior wanted to run badly and we were going to help it.  After a few miscellaneous tasks like draining the gas tank , cleaning and adjusting the points and plugs, and grabbing a battery from another car the damn thing started right up!  How's that for a car!  It was almost like the Volkswagen bug scene from Woody Allen's "Sleeper."

For months friends and I would jump in the car and drive it around the yard at high speeds through the fruit trees.  RoadWarrior's engine has now been removed and put into Dad's 88.  A restoration has begun and the car is actually stripped down almost to the frame, hence the blue tarp.  Recently I found a roof in Santa Cruz and had to pay as much for it as the entire car!

Next Rover:  Dad's '68 88"

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