For a long time, having acquired an ex-military Land Rover, I was curious about the comparison between different types of military Land Rover and their contemporary civilian counterparts. I had often been told that my SIIA was a Rover 11 but never understood why. Thanks to John Mastrangelo and Mark Cook, I was able to put together the following. The various basic military British types of Land Rover were classed, at least until the Series III was introduced, as below:

Truck ¼ Ton:

  • Rover Mk 1 was 80” SI – 1595cc, 1948 to 1951
  • Rover Mk 2 was 80” SI – 1997cc, 1951 to 1953
  • Rover Mk 3 was 86” SI – 1997cc, 1953 to 1956
  • Rover Mk 4 was 107”/109” S1 – 1997cc (The Army used only twenty 107” Mk 4s. It was still called the Mk 4 when the 109” took over. The Royal Navy and RAF had pick-ups and Station Wagons. The LWB Series I was classed as a ¼-ton)
  • Rover Mk 5 was 88” SI – 1997cc, 1956 to 1958
  • Rover Mk 6 was 88” SII – 1997cc and 2286c, 1958 to 1961

Truck ¾ Ton:

  • Rover Mk 7 was 109” SII – 1997cc and 2286c, 1958 to 1961 (Truck ¾ Ton)

Moving on

At this point the soft-top LWB came into being. Previously they had been hardtops or pickups. Generally, the vehicles were now referred to simply as Rover 8 rather than Mark 8. Up to now the vehicles had been 12v positive earth. In 1961 the Rover 8 GS was positive earth and the Rover 9 FFR was 12v negative earth. In 1967 the Rover 8 GS also became 12v negative earth in line with all other Land Rovers. They were then known as the Rover 10 and 11 respectively.

  • Rover 8 was 88” SIIA, 1961 to 1967(GS 12v positive earth). Can be General Service (12v) or Fitted For Radio (FFR 24v). Also available as Station Wagon, Hard Top, CL (Commercial Logistics) etc.
  • Rover 9 was 109” SIIA, 1961 to 1966 (Truck ¾ Ton)(FFR 24v negative earth.) The following only applied to Rovers 8 and 9: if they had the suffix “/1”, it meant they had the strengthened diff (Salisbury) and half-shafts on the rear axle. Suffix “/2” denoted that neither had been strengthened, in other words the normal civilian specification.
  • Rover 10 was 88” SIIA from 1967 to 1971. The Rover 10 is rare in GS form (1967 only) and was never produced in FFR form due to the introduction of the Rover 1 Lightweight, but CLs, Station Wagons and some 24v 90A vehicles were produced, along with some other specialised types.
  • Rover 11 was 109” SIIA from 1967 to 1971 (Truck ¾ Ton). Confusingly, the 88” SIIA Lightweight was initially classed as Rover Mk I. In 1968, Rover I was a IIA Lightweight and, to further confuse the issue, it was referred to as a Rover Mk I or Rover 1 – they re-used the “1” designation previously given to the 1,600cc Series One 80”. Then the Series III came along in 1971, and was known as Rover Series Three.Truck ½ Ton.
  • Rover 1 was SIIA 88” Lightweight 2,286cc from 1968 to 1971. Note:If the vehicle is a GS / FFW (Fitted for Wireless) / FFR it is classed as a Truck. If it’s a Station Wagon / CL / 4x2 etc, it’s classed as a Car. Therefore, a LWB Station Wagon is a “Car Heavy Utility” and the SWB Station Wagon is a “Car Light Utility”, and so on.

Article by Wayne Davies