1959 LandRover Series II  88" Hard Top
      I have known of the existence of RustBucket  since 1986 when my Dad and I first looked into buying a LandRover.  The owner assured us that it ran fine before being parked a few years ago (a familiar tale I'm sure to us all.)  Dad could remember the car being driven around town, but not for at least 10 years.  The seller assured us that he could get it running in no time and was willing to part with it.

      When we arrived to take a test drive the old rover was not quite in "running" shape  -- though this is of course a matter of perspective and completely debatable.  The hydraulics were in question but functioning.  The engine however was running rough,  kicking over on only two cylinders due to a stubborn group of three stuck valves.   The Rover drove around the yard but sounded forlorn and the car would not be ours that day.

      I followed the progress of rust bucket over the next ten years.  In about 1988 I bought a canvas top and strut set from the owner.  The hibernating car stood still, moving only once again in the yard in about 1990.  Then in 1997, I decided I was tired of swapping rear doors for tailgates with the change of seasons.  I needed a roof with a tailgate top and no leaky windows.  16" rims would be an improvement too.  It was time to make a purchase!  The old feeling was back and it had been at least four years since our last rover buy.


After a near loss to another buyer who had shown up just the week before, it was ours.  At a distance time had stood still and the car's condition had not seemed to have changed too much since the first time I set eyes on it.  On inspection the 10 further solitary years in the Mesa's salt air had not had positive effect.   Rust bucket, as it is affectionately known, has more rust than any rover I have seen.  (By east coast standards though she might be in fine shape since the frame is strong though the firewall has fist size holes in it.)


It was to be professionally towed home, but the local garage canceled.  In one of the stupidest recovery maneuvers I have yet performed we actually towed the car home with LittleCar.  All went surprisingly well until we reached a steep hill.  RustBucket's hydraulic's were shot and with no breaks to slow down I was forced to pump the leaky clutch furiously and slap her into second gear in order to prevent collision with the other running LandRover.  Danger.  In the end we made it home with only one casuality.  During a stop to check the temperature of axles and break drums, Dad neglected to release LittleCar's emergency break.  He towed RustBucket along thinking that the resistance was simply the weight of the second car, burning out the transmission break shoes in the process.  (Trailers are not that expensive to rent.)

Our Rover Parts

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