A Chance Encounter with a Land Rover FC 101

On rare occasion, I’ll see a vintage Land Rover or two (usually Series II/ Series III models) on the road here in Michigan, but I’ve never seen an FC 101 in person until last week.

Granted, I had to leave the country (I was in Canada at the time) to find one, but the four-wheel-drive beast was rather impressive.; Though the 101 wasn’t Land Rover’s first stab at a forward-control truck, it was perhaps the most successful.; Built upon a bespoke chassis, the FC 101 answered the British Army’s call for an air-portable tactical truck, and most of the units built between 1975 and 1978 went directly into military service.

While the combination of the 101’s short wheelbase (101 inches, to be exact), stout powertrain (the famed Rover/Buick 3.5-liter V-8) and locking differentials make it great off the beaten path, I’m rather surprised to find it in the urban jungle. Leaf springs at all four corners would make for a fairly choppy ride, and there are hardly any creature comforts to be found inside the cabin.

Then again, isn’t that what a true Land Rover is all about?