ELMRA Articles - Land Rovers GS, CL & FFR

When is a Military Land Rover not a military Land Rover? When it’s a CL…

The Land Rover 109 in military form has used various models. The most common was the GS (General Service) followed by the FFR (Fitted For Radio) and then by the CL (civilian-specification "Commercial Logistics"). Less common still were the station wagon versions, but we’ll stick with the CLs for the moment.

Let’s start by defining how an MOD-specification GS differs from a "normal" Land Rover. The military Land Rover 109 has subtle differences to its CL sister but nothing is standard in military circles. The most notable difference is the heavy duty chassis incorporating extended spring hangers and the square-like rear crossmember. They usually have overriders on the front bumper and rear bumperettes fitted. Being designed for the military, the rear tailgate has fixings for the pioneer tools and the lights are of the military screw type.

So what do they look like.....

08 KA 69 (picture taken at Okehampton camp) shows a CL model in its glory. Note the rear-fill fuel tank and cap, plastic civilian side/indicator lenses and headlight trims. The tops of the wings are smooth and do not facilitate the ATU boxes and there are no over riders on the bumpers. Yet this particular model does posses a side bracket and antenna pole, suggesting it has been fitted with a Manpack radio set.

15 KA 37 (Dartmoor) Here’s a CL in Military Police markings. Of interest is the way the beacon has been mounted and the lack of Goodyear Extragip tyres.

38 KA 11 Shows a CL from the rear - note the fuel cap and that the rear crossmember is different to the military version in that it slopes up at an angle each side plus it has grab handles, not the more familiar bumperettes. The tailgate is also plain (no facility for the pick and shovel).

78 KC 66 shows a CL model in the BATUS camo scheme, probably a Warminster / Salisbury Plain vehicle during its final days. Of note are the lack of bonnet retaining clips and the civilian- style spare wheel carrier on the bonnet. Of interest also is that this vehicle has white military number plates, not the more usual black. Once again a Manpack radio system must have been fitted at some stage due o the antenna bracket on the rear tub being there. We do have a CL on the Club stand at quite a number of shows—Rex Hunt’s SNAFU COMMS is just such a 109.

08KA69 15KA37 38KA11 78KC66

The military Land Rover 109GS has subtle differences to its CL sister—but nothing is standard in military circles. The most notable difference is the heavy duty chassis incorporating extended spring hangers and the square-like rear crossmember. The military chassis also sports a removable gearbox crossmember, a feature not given to normal Land Rovers until the advent of the 110. They usually have overriders above the front bumper and rectangular rear bumperettes fitted. Being designed for the military, the rear tailgate has fixings for the pioneer tools and the lights are of the military screw type. Compared to the civilian model, the electrical system is either slightly simplified for the 12v version (who needs fuses?), or made more complex for the 24v.

61KB21: Seen here at Okehampton in 1993 shows us it’s a GS as it has no side aerial brackets or holes in the wing tops for radio equipment. A standard military front bumper plus the bonnet retaining clips and military light lenses. However one thing that is odd is the use of headlight surrounds more accustomed to its CL sister, making it impossible to use the IR convoy system on this vehicle.

61KB29: Seen here on Dartmoor in 1993 gives us another view as the similarly numbered 61KB21. Note the lenses are of the earlier, smaller glass type and the wing mirrors differ too. Plus the headlamps are of more standard military push in and turn for access type.

87KA79: Back at Okehampton in 1993 shows us its canvas tilt to good effect, it’s not an FFR (Fitted For Radio) one as there are no access flaps for aerial cables. Also of note is the front bumper which lacks the over-riders.

97KA07: at Swynerton camp 1993, shows a view from the rear. Note the crossmember and the layout of lamps plus the tailgate with pioneer tool fixings. However this one’s fitted with an FFR canvas but is not an FFR vehicle—just visible is the lack of Dexion mounting rack and the four bench seats in the rear. In the rear area of 19GN07 shows how the dexion has been used to mount cables and associated boxes for the radio sets. Note the operators seat also a locker has been sat on the radio table to provide secure stowage.

61KB21 61KB29 87KA79 97KA07

19GX28 and 62KB98 inside the temporary motor pool at Warminster in the early 90s. On the wingtops of both these vehicles are boxes which house the cables for the tuning unit, the KB vehicle has lost its flush flaps which are more akin to a vehicle of its age. The wing mirrors are of the early type and the front bumpers differ on these two vehicles.

91KB12 is fitted with the clansman ATU boxes whilst between duties in 1990. This vehicle although in the KB range has a different front bumper than 62KB98 in the previous photo.

75KC46 on Dartmoor is in plain green, of interest on this vehicle is the stenciled front number plate, the more usual flush type flaps for the cable stowage on the wingtops and the late style wing mirrors. Of special interest is the addition of side lockers more akin to its 110 sisters, probably added by a user unit at some stage in its life. I hope this batch of pictures covering the military series 3 109 has been useful to some, it is by no means definitive but purely to assist identifying at a glance the visual abnormalities of the CL, GS and FFR versions. It shows that no two vehicles are the same even if the classification is identical. Most vehicles are adapted to the end users’ needs, hence various body modifications. The paintwork is another story and helps give each vehicle its own unique character.

19GN07 19GX28 and 62KB98 91KB12 75KC46

While there are exceptions to every rule, when identifying military Land Rovers the following should apply:

CL (Commercial Logistics): Civilian-spec Land Rover in military paint. Standard trim. 12v. No changes to electrical system, no IR (Infra Red) or convoy lighting ability.

GS (General Service): MOD-spec Land Rover on HD chassis, uprated cooling system, 12v electrics, IR and convoy lighting.

FFR (Fitted For Radio): MOD-spec Land Rover on HD chassis, uprated cooling system, 24v electrics, IR and convoy lighting. ATU wing box mountings, side-arm aerial mountings.

(Editor’s note: A perfect example of an exception to the rules is Rex Hunt’s genuine 109 CL FFR which, according to the rules above, just cannot exist. Ask Rex to explain the history involved!)

Article and Photos: Colin Voss