The Series 2a 109", 12 seat Station Wagon, was introduced for the 1962 model year. It replaced the Series 2 109 SW, but despite very few cosmetic differences, the major change was under the bonnet; Land Rover was now using the 2.25 Litre Diesel engine in some of the vehicles. The reason for what was essentially a change in description from 10 to 12 seats, rather than any actual dimensions, was that by having 12 seats, it qualified under the UK tax law as being a 'bus'. This meant that the then 'top-of-the-line' 5 door Station Wagon became exempt from Purchase Tax and Special Vehicle Tax in the UK, and this made the twelve- seater cheaper to buy than the 10-seater or even the seven-seater 88 Station Wagon... however, not any cheaper to run due to the size and weight.
Molly was amongst the first of her kind to be built... The first home-market 2a 12 seat Station Wagon left the factory on the 4th of October 1961 and was delivered to the Inverness Motor Co. in Scotland, and Molly was soon to follow in its footsteps. Being completed on 7th June 1962, she was also shipped up to the Inverness Motor Co. and was only the 137th 2a off the assembly lines. The factory were producing around 20 vehicles of this kind in a month at the time (not including export, CKD, 88s, 109 Utilities etc), so she was early on the list. From what I have been told, once she had arrived in Scotland, she was first bought and first registered on the 15th of August 1962 at Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, giving her the Glasgow registration number. Exactly what her history was at this time, I don't know, but I shall be doing some digging to discover more about her early past.
Since then, she has had several owners, and as is typical, she has seen some changes. Originally she was painted factory mid grey and cream, rather than her current (and somewhat faded, grubby green), was powered by a petrol engine rather than her current heavy oil engine (can't really call it a 'diesel' at the moment, because that is certainly not all that she is burning right now). I have recently got hold of a petrol engine to put her back in her original configuration, but that is going to be a little while away as I strip and re-build it. She has also had power steering fitted from a P38 Range Rover and a new interior.
How she ended up with me, was a fairly amusing affair, as we were on holiday in Cornwall when I saw her for sale online - only problem was, she was in Scotland... but, she shared my birthday near as damnit, so I knew I had to have her - I knew that I had to have THAT one. She was the archetypal "Land Rover" I have had a passion for since I was a boy visiting the family farm in Wymeswold and driving my Great Uncles 2a 88 tilt top in the top field (if you can call wobbling around in low-box, not being able to reach the pedals or gear lever, "driving"). So, after reminiscing and waxing lyrical to my wife about my sepia-tinted childhood, I sold myself on it; I arranged to pack up, drive home, get a hire car booked for the butt crack of dawn the very next day, and scream off up to Scotland taking our oldest boy with me for "the adventure".
Deal done, and not having driven a Series Land Rover since before I could reach the pedals, the 250 mile drive home from Loch Leven began... including the Forth Bridge which I enjoyed, as that was the first and last time I have ever been that far North. Of course, that meant discovering that they really aren't that good at "speed", so our arrival time was changed... even more so on the hills of the M6 through Cumbria, at which point, it changed again. We left the Lake District in bright sunlight with a really hot engine for our troubles, only to be thrown into one of the most vicious storms I think I have ever witnessed on the approach to Stoke on Trent. Rain came howling through the front vents that we couldn't close because we were too hot and fogging up, and the one wiper that was working properly, was doing virtually nothing because we might as well have been driving through a car wash. But, she kept going and just plodded on through with confidence enough to be overtaking lesser euro boxes, and I have been proud of the old girl ever since. We got home late in typical Land Rover style, shut her up for the night and waited until the morning to all go out together.
She is of course, an old Land Rover, so since then, we've had all kinds of issues as I have worked my way through her foibles; broken driveshaft, exploding diff, electrical issues, hideous brakes, filthy kids etc and lots of help, tool-lends or advice from club members. But, they have been minor compared to the list of fun times, picnics and "trots out". She has been a daily driver, a holiday car, a show vehicle, a rescue truck, a 'birthday girl'... and on summer nights, she sometimes becomes our conservatory - as we sit out on the drive in the back, with neighbouring friends and bottle of wine, simply watching the world go by.
Land Rover Club