I own and operate an air portable Landrover commonly known as the lightweight which served in the Dutch army in it's service life the Dutch variants differ hugely from their British counterparts of which they are derived. To the eagle eyed visible differences are the lighting arrangements. Dutch spec Landrovers had their side lights and indicators in pods sat on top of each wing, next to the convoy lights.
The rear lights and indicators are also housed in units incorparating rear convoy lighting.
The Royal Netherlands Army issued an order in September 1972 for a trials contract for a diesel version of the British Lightweight. Landrover supplied four prototype vehicles to be trialed, by 1974 Landrover sent further vehicles for evaluation. Two 88's, two 90's and a pair of 109 Marshall bodied ambulances, all with diesel engines and 7.50+16 tyres.
Between 1972 & 1976 the Dutch had tested no fewer than 10 makes of vehicle, including AMC jeep, Landrover, DAF, Toyota and Renault. The Landcruiser by Toyota came out as the most suitable vehicle millitarily, technically, and economically. No deal was ever made as the Netherlands didn't have any Dutch import goods with Japan. This was to be an important influence on the Dutch decision to buy British Landrovers. British Leyland was going through a tough era and an order for 4000 was very welcome. A deal was signed in July 1975 and the order was paid for with goods from the Netherlands. 2000 Lightweights, 625 series 111 109-inch soft top three-quarter tonners and 537 series 111 Marshall bodied ambulances were purchased. Supplied over five years from 1977-1982 mine being one of the later vehicles.
The Dutch heavily modified their Landrovers, obviously they were diesel and the battery capacity was half of the British variant. They were fitted with pvc soft top tilts manufactured in Holland then shipped to Solihull for fitting. The Dutch still had thousands of pairs of tyres measureing 7.00+16 NATO M pattern left over from their stocks for replaced jeeps. These were also shipped to Solihull for fitting, although the tranfer box gear box and axel ratios were for 7.50+16 tyres. 2nd gear synchro rings had to be changed on 3200 Landrovers to make the drive train suitable to run on smaller tyres. Surprisingly all 4000 of the Dutch Landrovers were fitted with cast steel half-shafts and sufferd from frequent breakages. Eventually these were retrofitted with high quality chrominum nickel molybdenum steel, instantly curing the breakage problem.
As far as the lightweight was concerned there was to be further problems. Axels fitted to the orginal British version used a flat drop forged hub cap with inner splines for the half-shaft. The half-shaft was fitted with a circlip instead of a nut. The 2000 Dutch lightweights were fitted with standard series axels with protruding steel hub caps, these increased the total width by two inches. They also had a butterfly fitted between the air cleaner and the inlet manifold to generate a vacum for the servo assisted brakes. This system was chosen as a cheaper option to a vacum pump driven off of a pully system powerd by the engine. However this resulted in oil consumption being very heavy, and excessive exhaust emissions causes problems anually during the UK MOT test. The cure for this is to remove the butterfly from the inlet manifold, making sure you plug all the holes left from the butterfly. A vacuum pump of the belt driven variety can then be fitted in place of the belt tensioner driven off the orginal double V pully. I have now completed this conversion as per the photo below. It now burns no more oil, and the brakes are fantastic.
Ownership of my lightweight is a complete pleasure and nothing more than the normal serviceing has been required to keep it on the road, and reliability has never been an issue a true classic millitary vehicle.
Old Dutch as my lightweight is affectinatly known is configured in it's FFR(fitted for radio)role and so following an exhaustive search I have managed to reinstall it's original equipment.
The transceivers are made by Phillips a pair of RT3600's frequency range is 26-70mhz tuning of the antenna is automatic via an automatic antenna tuning unit mounted at the base of the antennas. The antennas, while looking likebottom fed vertical whips, are actually centre fed dipoles measureing approximatly 3m long. The transceivers can be used simplex, full duplex, or even as a repeater.During the summer months when the vehicle is at shows with the EMLRA(ex millitary landrover association) we can be heard on 6 ans 10mtrs fm transmitting from the vehicle.It has recently undergone a full respray in nice shade of RAL 6014 and my partner Karyn hand painted all the markings back onto the vehicle, which represents the 43rd Tank Battalion.
Shows I will be attending this year in my unique vehicle are;
Wings&wheels Ursel Airfield Belgium 6th-7th August 2011