Back to the Series Restoration Section

Please be aware that ECR is now a Defender repair and modification shop only.
We no longer work on Range Rovers, Discos or Series Rovers.
These pages are from work we did in the past and left up for your enjoyment.

1970 Series IIA 88 Hardtop
Galv. coil chassis, 2.5 diesel, 5 speed and full restoration

This Late Series IIA 88 is getting "the works" from ECR, a true restoration. The customer saw one of our other restorations and wanted the same type of vehicle, with some personal touches. This 88 will be getting a galv. coil chassis, as well as a full restoration paint job to Bronze Green and Limestone, as well as a 2.5 diesel and a R380 5 speed. It will also get updates such as inertia seat belts, CD sound system, new wiring, new galv. trim and much more. The first step with any restoration is to tear down the 88 and start fabrication work on the rusted and damaged areas. In the image above you can see that we have started to take the 88 apart. Once apart, we'll catalog each piece and determine if the part can be restored, or if it needs to be replaced.

Once the 88 is taken apart we start work on the larger parts. Here you can see the bulkhead set up in our bulkhead jig. The bulkhead has rust issues, but it is a good place to start.

This close up shows that the bulkhead foot, where it mounts to the chassis outrigger is totally gone. You can also see the typical "bondo" repair of the rust in the footwell that some people use. We will cut away all these areas and get back to good steel, and then build up the bulkhead to better than new conditions. For more information on our bulkhead repairs go here.

In this image you can see the seat box from the 88. The tool locker and the seat box side were totally corroded away and needed to be replaced. Luckily we fabricate the seat box sides here at ECR and we can easily get this seat box back in shape. Shown here with the new seat box side in place, we have given it a full 2 coats of PPG epoxy primer. Next we'll install the galvanized tool locker with an isolation barrier so that the corrosion won't happen again, and then paint the piece in the customer color choice, Bronze Green.

The rear body, or tub, of the 88 was in pretty poor shape. The steel tub crossmembers had corroded through the tub floor, and the floor was dented from decades of use. In the image above you can see that we have removed the tub floor, and have stripped the tub of all its parts. The tub floor will be replaced with heavy gauge aluminum, and we'll use galvanized steel tub crossmembers so that rust or corrosion won't be a factor again.

Another common problem with rear tubs is the location where the frame meets the tub. These areas where the tabs from the rear crossmember meet the frame are usually badly corroded as Rover did not isolate them. In some cases the mounting area of the rear tub is completely gone! This tub was missing about 50% of the mount, as as the tub sides are in good shape we will be fixing the areas. In the image above you can see that we have cut out the corroded area, and repaired it will new alloy. The area will now be ground flush and then prepared in our body shop. Once completed the tub will look like it just came off the assembly line in Solihull, England.

This image shows the rusted bulkhead cut back to good metal. As you can see, there isn't much of it left, but we can bring it back to 100% with the use of our bulkhead jig, and it will end up being stronger and longer lasting than a new original.

Here you can see the bulkhead taking shape. The galvanized repair panels have been installed and all the areas that needed custom fabrication have been dealt with, and because it is built in our bulkhead jig, we know that the doors and all the body lines will be factory perfect, for a correctly built 88. We've added the needed openings for the new Mansfield heater, as well as filled most of the holes in the bulkhead that we won't be using. The bulkhead will now get media blasted back to white metal (no rust, no paint) then we'll run it through the ECR dunk tanks, then on to get multiple coats of epoxy primer, then finally top coated in Bronze Green. A galvanized frame will help your Rover last a long time, but without a well built bulkhead, you've only accomplished half the job. The ECR bulkheads are built for the long haul. We build them that way for our restorations, and we can build them for your project as well.

This image shows the completed bulkhead, now partially media blasted in our top section dunk tank. This coats the inside of the bulkhead, as well as the outside, with a layer of rust resistant paint. No type of spray gun or coating can get into all these rust prone areas, unless you dunk the bulkhead like ECR does.

Here you can see the bulkhead after its "dunking". The left and right door posts are completely submerged in thick epoxy paint, as it the entire top section. Now the bulkhead will be fully prep'd and epoxy primed and painted in multiple layers of Bronze Green, and all that thick paint will stay on the inside, protecting this bulkhead for decades to come.

Now that the bulkhead is moved into the paint shop at ECR, we can start to assemble the back bone of the 88, the galvanized coil sprung chassis. The chassis is set up with the new axles and the correct spring rates for the engine and gearbox and made ready for the driveline.

The driveline of this 88 is this new 2.5 diesel, mated to an R380 5 speed and the Series part time 4x4 transfer case, a very tough and long lasting combination. In the image above you can see that we are getting the new 2.5 diesel set up and ready for install into the coil chassis system. The 2.5 diesel is a great choice for diesel power in an 88. It requires very few modifications to install it (unlike the Tdi engine family), and with the right gearbox it will give plenty of speed and power.

This image shows the R380 5 speed, full synchro gearbox mated to the stock Series transfer case. We have fully rebuilt the transfer case as needed and are now ready to install the entire driveline into the Series IIA. A lot of customers call us looking to put an R380 into their Series Rover. Most of the time they try to save money by sourcing a used R380 from a junk yard or another supplier. The problem is folks, that any R380 (or LT77) gearbox you source from a US Defender, or Discovery is going to be the long V8 bell housing unit. This is absolutely the wrong unit. You need the short unit that we supply to keep your engine in the correct location and keep the process simple, without cutting up your 88 or 109. For more information of 5 speed conversions go here.
If you have questions abut the 5 speed conversion, please call us before you spend money on a gearbox, we hate to see Rover owners spending money on parts they can't use.

The backbone of the 88 is now starting to come together. The 5 speed is mounted and ready to go, and next we'll be dropping in the 2.5 diesel and making the stainless steel brake lines. Then we'll be ready for the bulkhead.

Here you can see the fully restored bulkhead, now epoxy primed and painted in multiple coats of PPG Bronze Green. We make all the needed changes to the bulkhead before we paint it, so that no exposed steel is present once the project is completed. All the holes are pre-cut and all holes pre-drilled to ensure long bulkhead life. In the background you can also see the new coil offset steel wheels painted in the correct Limestone and ready for tires and install. Next we'll drop in the 2.5 diesel and start hooking up the systems.

In this image you can see the new 2.5 diesel, mated to the new 5 speed gearbox, has been dropped into the coil rolling chassis. The bulkhead has also been installed and the next step is to run the stainless steel brake and clutch pipes. The Rear wiring harness is in place, as is the updated Mansfield heater system for real heat and the ability to defrost the windscreens. Next we'll assembly the rest of the body pieces that have already been painted in the Bronze Green.

Here you can see that the rear tub has been installed and that the body of the 88 is starting to take shape. All our body panels are painted while off the vehicle, so that the primers and paints get into every place they should for long term corrosion protection. Sometimes the places you don't see need the most paint protection, and you won't get that from other shops where they tape things off and re-spray your Rover.

The rear tub of an 88 has a lot of details that need to be done to make the restoration look correct. A few of the details we obsess about so that the Rover looks correct are things like rivets and spot welds. The Rover bodies were assembled with a spot weld process. These spot welds should be visible once the paint goes on, so we make sure that the panels are all straight and free of body filler so that these spot welds are visible. Too often we see "restorations" done by other shops where the spot weld impressions are all filled in with body filler, commonly known as "bondo", and sanded smooth. This isn't correct and shows a poor rebuild with no attention to detail. Another item we do in a special way is the galvanized trim. On all 30 year old Rovers the galv. trim has lost its shine and looks dull. You can't put these dull pieces up against fresh paint, so we have the galvanized pieces re-coated for a fresh look. Over the last decade we have experimented with lots of different techniques to achieve the smooth "frosty" pattern of zinc coating that Rovers came with, and we have found a way that duplicates it nicely to give our restorations as close to factory look as possible, without the galvanized pieces looking "goopy" or too thick.

Another area where we worry about the details are in the rivets. Series Rover had numerous rivets in them, and most shops will just go wild with the after-market pop rivets to assembly your Rover; however, you should know that Rovers use no less than 6 different types of rivets to do these jobs! Some are pop rivets, but the correct ones have a closed back, unlike auto parts store rivets that you can see through. Some are aircraft style "hammer" or "buck" rivets, and there are different sizes of those in different locations. At ECR we have documented dozens of original Rovers to find out what actually goes where, and what the rivets should look like, and if they should be painted or not. So with an ECR restoration the rivets are the correct type, in the correct locations, with the correct tools used to install them. You may think this all sounds a little too "anal", and you'd be a little bit right, but the fact is, it doesn't take any longer to do it right, than it does to do it wrong, so why not get the details right and make the finished project look correct. At ECR we worry about the details so you don't have to.

Here you can see the 88 is now starting to look like a Rover again. The seat box and floors have been installed, the custom driveshafts hooked up and all the brake and clutch pipes have been run to get the hydraulics up and running. On our restorations we use only stainless steel brake and clutch tubing, so that 10 years from now you won't need to worry about a rusted out brake line. Our Rovers are built to last and perform, long term, not just look good for when you take delivery.

The image above shows the restored roof side ready to be installed on the 88. The roof side has been totally stripped back to bare alloy, all the steel parts have been removed and re-galvanized and the glass has been cleaned (and replaced if need be). The roof side is then epoxy primed and painted in the correct Limestone color, then reassembled with new pieces and all stainless steel hardware for long life. We even use stainless screws to install our windows tracks so that rust will no longer be an issue. All new rubber seals are installed and then the roof side is ready for the body.

Here you can see that the body of the 88 is coming together. The freshly galvanized windscreen frame has been fitted with new heated windscreens, the vent flaps have been installed with new gaskets and the roof and roof sides are being test fit so that the body lines can be set. At this stage all the hydraulic systems are tested and the new wiring is connected.

The wiring is connected to a new Optima battery for easy starts and trouble free use. You'll notice from the image above that we have remote mounted the battery under the driver's seat to allow us to install the 2.5 diesel. You can also see that the seat frames have been restored and the seat sliders have been replaced with new units for ease of use.

Inside the interior is starting to take shape. The bulkhead has been covered in layers of sound deadening material and then topped off with the factory "Hardura" for a clean and stock appearance. You'll notice that the new wiring harness is in place and that everything right down to the hand brake button is new in an ECR restoration.

This image shows the 88 nearly ready for some tests. The basic wiring is complete and the lights are being installed. The correct side marker lights used on Late IIAs have been installed along with the proper reverse lights and signals. You'll also see the new coil chassis offset 16" rims painted in Limestone and fitted with 7.50x16 radials for good on and off road performance.

As the engine and other systems are tested and deemed to be "ready to go" the rest of the body start to take shape. Here you can see the front body work has been installed along with the radiator and front lighting. Next we'll move on to making the custom safari cage and other fabrication and then we'll make the 88 ready for road testing.

The image above shows the heavy duty ECR ROX custom front bumper we made for the 88. We needed a robust place to mount the winch, recovery points, light tabs, etc., so we combined everything into one stock looking package. The new bumper is made from much thicker material than the factory bumper, so it can take a hit and will not bend. The bumper strength also allowed us to add the two front recovery points directly to the bumper. These points will take a standard shackle for twin lining the winch or any other recovery need you may have. The bumper also has mounts built in the for the new PIAA 80 driving lights that will be installed, and it has the built in mount that holds the new Warn 9000 winch and roller fairlead. The bumper will be galvanized once it is complete for a very "stock" look, to a very "not stock" front bumper.

Here you can see the nearly completed engine bay. The 2.5 diesel looks right at home and with our modifications fits nicely into the stock Series IIA bodywork. There are only a few more items to sort out under the hood and the 88 will be road ready.

Speaking of under the hood... An ECR restoration leaves nothing to chance. Here you can see the hood on this SIIA 88. The bottom of the hood is bare alloy. This is the correct look for the underneath of a hood for a SIIA, the factory did not paint the bottom of the hoods. The steel frame work was originally painted black, and as you can see the hood on this 88 is painted in the correct black, however, we go one better. To make sure the hood lasts the life of the restoration, we remove the skin from the hood frame and epoxy prime and paint the steel hood frame inside and out so that rust will not occur. We then install the fully painted hood frame back into the hood "skin" and then correctly hammer rivet the assembly back together. We also re-galvanize the hood prop and use all stainless steel hardware to assemble the hinges and such. So when you think about the cost of an ECR restoration vs. the other guys, think about what you get. At another shop you'll get the outside of your hood painted. They may even mistakenly paint the underneath of the hood. At ECR you get a correctly built hood, that is built to last. Does everybody need this level of detail? No, but we said we wanted to be the best shop, not like the other guys.

The customer for this 88 also desired some roll over protection that looked stylish and was functional. To make that happen for him we have installed frame mounted front cage points in the fenders, much like a Defender 90. We then made custom tubes that reach back to the roof. Later these bars will be hard mounted to the roof and attached to a frame mounted interior hoop for full roll over protection. The tubes shown here are heavy wall seamless pipe in the bare form. Once the cage is built it will be removed, blasted, epoxy primed and painted in satin black.

In this image you can see that the side bars are completed and we are starting to fabricate the cross bars for the upper and lower supports. These cross bars are made to mount in just like a Defender 110's cage for a "factory" look, even though land Rover never offered a safety cage for a 1970 Series IIA 88. The cross bars and the side bars are all bolted in with heavy duty hardware so that in case you had to service some aspect of the vehicle, no part of the cage will hinder that operation. Fully welded cages from some shops mean that to service something down the road you may have to cut your roll cage apart, and we think that is not thinking ahead.

The owner of this 88 also wanted a full roof rack. Here you can see that we are modifying a Bronwchurch Defender roof rack for the job. The old galvanized Series roof rack just wouldn't fit the "updated" look of this Series IIA, but the Defender unit fits right in. We'll be fabricating custom front legs for the rack to work with our safari cage, and we be making a new rear ladder that will allow access to the rear from the rear of the 88.

Now that the cage has been made and test fit, we can turn our attention to getting the interior of the 88 ready to go. The image above shows the 88's roof removed and on the work bench. We have seam sealed all the openings so that it will be weather tight (unlike a stock Series roof) and we have installed a high density foam layer as backing for the new factory style headliner. Once the backing has dried we will install the new headliner with new bows (the old ones always rust away) and get the 88's top system installed.

Here you can see the new headliner has been installed and the roof has been positioned and bolted in place. We have also done some of the interior detail work such as installing the new interior light and the rear door seal.

In the image above you can see that the new ECR ROX front bumper has come back from being galvanized. The galvanizing process gives the bumper a stock look, even though it is more than 3 times as thick as a stock unit and has places for driving lights, a built in winch mount and 2 recovery points. We have installed the Warn 9000 winch and the PIAA 80 driving lights on the new bumper for a very clean and functional, yet vintage looking, front end to this Late Series IIA 88.

We have also received the lower safari cage supports back from the galvanizers. We galvanize everything we can for long life and no rust issues. The frame mounted point (the RH frame mount shown here) reaches from the frame up to the body where it connects to the interior roll bar. Just as a side note. When you travel to see Land Rovers that are "restored" do the inner fenders look like the one you see above?? If they don't then it wasn't truly restored like an ECR restoration.

The inner roll bar shown above connects down to the galvanized bracket to make a fully frame mounted cage. We have fabricated the inner hoop from the same heavy duty seamless tube and have added mounts to hold the 3 point inertia seat belts. We have epoxy primed and painted the interior hoop in the same color as a Defender 90 Wagon's interior roll cage so that it looks correct. You can also see in the image that we have started to finish up the rest of the interior trims as well. the head boards and side boards have been installed and the interior is coming together.

Here you can see we have epoxy primed and painted the exterior sections of the safari cage in stain black and assembled them onto the 88. We've also installed the new roof rack with its custom front mounts and have installed the doors and Defender door tops.

The front exterior section of the cage connects to the bulkhead and bulkhead frame outrigger the same way a Defender 90 or 110 cage works. This allows us to use the same hardware and seals for a very "Rover-esque" look to this cage, especially considering 1970 SIIA's didn't have any roll over protection.

The front mounts for the roof rack were modified so that they would work with the safari cage. The down leg on the rack was modified to bolt to a plate on the side of the exterior bar. This means if you ever want to remove the rack, you can, without leaving any odd look to the Rover.

Inside the 88, the wiring has been done and the dash panels have been restored with all new switches and labels and are starting to be installed. We have also added the needed switches for the add-ons such as the L and R heated windscreens and the rear work light. All the switches used are Land Rover switches for a correct vintage look to the entire dash.

In the rear of the 88 we have installed the new rear door and added the Defender's third hinge to the door system so that it can better handle the weight of the 16" spare tire. In the rear we will now fabricate the mount for the rear work light and the custom rear ladder for access to the roof rack.

Here you can see the custom rear ladder. It bolts to the rack and the rear crossmember, sop no holes have to be drilled into the roof, in case the owner ever wants to remove the rack. The ladder was made to slightly resemble the rear ladder on an NAS 110, with the easy reach for your first step and the larger opening so that the license plate is easily seen. The ladder will now be media blasted primed and painted to match the roof rack for a finished look.

This image show the Hella rear work light that we have installed on a custom mount. The mount bolts on with the top rear door hinge so that no extra holes have to be drilled into the roof. This means no leaks and no damage to the 88. The lamp's handle makes it easy to aim for everything from backing up in tight spaces to setting up camp.

Here you can see the completed Series IIA, transformed from an 88 destine for the junk yard into one of the nicest Series IIA 88s on the planet. The 88 now boasts everything from a 2.5 diesel engine and R380 fully synchronized 5 speed gearbox, to all new interior, 4 wheel power disc brakes, galvanized coil sprung chassis and much much more. If you would like a fully restored Series II, IIA or III Land Rover feel free to contact ECR. We'll be happy to make your Land Rover world class... just like this one.

For a gallery of images of this ECR restored SIIA 88 go here!

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