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Name: Castrol
Make: Land Rover (Rover Australia P/L)
Model: SWB 88" Series 2A ¼ Ton GS
Manuf. date: March 1964
Production: CKD RHD export
Army Census: 6005
Colour: Olive Drab
ARN: 113-368
Body Number: 8003
Contract Number: C110350
Chassis: 24305514b
Engine: Petrol 2286cc

Military History

113-368 served in the Australian Army for a short period, being issued in Victoria. The B.B.B. then has an interesting note: Sold on repayment basis of $2500 to Base Squadron RAAF Fairbairn for both 113-367 and 113-368. Because Castrol became an RAAF asset we do not have a note in the B.B.B. stating when it went to auction and a disposal date, so the number of years in-service is not known as a fact as yet.
But we have a clue: 113-368 was wearing normal yellow NSW number plates "HFS-743" in 1992. They were old and sun bleached looking - they were original to the vehicle and they were put on around 1976. How do you know? When that series of number plates came out Ross' family in Newcastle had a Kingswood with a similar plate, and it was newly issued in 1976. So, as an estimate, Castrol was first registered as a civilian vehicle in 1976 and that implies 12 years of military service.

Civilian History

We have no information for the 1970s or 1980's but in February 1992 Ross & Kay lived in the Lake Macquarie area and saw 113-368 advertised locally, simply as a "SWB Land-Rover with new soft top". The vehicle was sold to them by an older gent at Seahampton with a fresh looking paint job; it was an Old English White colour and it was housepaint. It had some recent rust repairs and welding on the rear crossmember. There were no extras fitted except a rollbar and 15 x 8 sand tyres on Sunraysia rims. How many people owned Castrol for some fun & sun on the beach is unknown. It could be that 113-368 was used by the RAAF at Fairbairn and then Williamtown base for a while and disposed of in the Newcastle area. No one knows.
Castrol was named after what it left on many driveways.

Restoration (a) 1992-93

When purchased 113-368 had one month of road registration remaining, but it was nowhere near roadworthy. It had the proper Land Rover 4 cylinder petrol engine. The gearbox and clutch were working perfectly. But it drove like a bucket of bolts and wandered around the road. The firewall and headlight panels were mostly iron oxide, and the wiring loom was a real mess. As usual, more faults were found as the restoration proceeded.
The firewall was removed and a new one from a 1964 LWB Bushfire Brigade Land Rover freighted from Four Wheel Drives in Blackburn, Victoria. (It still had the PMC body ID plate and we still have that, with red paint too). Two rail-freight men carried it to the front door and asked "Where would you like it?" as though it was a furniture delivery. This almost new part was afterwards stripped and galvanised before fitting. The front dumb irons were repaired. A few welsh plugs were replaced on the engine. The extractors and exhaust were redone. Some other items such as flexible hoses and master cylinder kits were fitted. John Smythe (a Hamilton Landy legend of a mechanic) overhauled the running gear and replaced all the bushes in the chassis and springs. Shock absorbers were fitted. The loom and other repairs were completed in time for the re-registration in March 1993. And it was painted a home made colour that was wrong, but cheap.
Finding time on weekends to do the work proved a challenge and 12 months went by really fast. "I remember hurting myself removing a leaky fuel tank: lesson learned - make sure said tank is empty. Another job I did was to relocate the battery and fit a battery switch." The battery mod provided easier access to the steering relay, engine and lower radiator hose. The switch also provides security against electrical fire (Series 2A looms are pretty old now) and immobilizes Castrol too. (There's no locks on a G.S. except the under-middle-seat-toolbox).
One of Castrol's interesting fittings is the drop-down gearbox crossmember (an EMEI mod fitted to some Australian Army Land Rovers) that enables transmission removal without having to remove the seatbox and bring the transmission out thru the cab.
It was not "fully restored" by any means, but at least it was on the road, safe and reliable again. At this early stage Castrol was missing a lot of the Army fittings and CES. But it did have a fresh Army canopy.

Castrol attended the 1998 Aussie 50th Anniversary Celebrations and had a wonderful time. Everything went well and we photographed many and varied ex-military Landys from five States BUT ....drum roll... on the way home (by a tangled coincidence) we found a near perfect original condition "brother" of Castrol's - made and delivered to the Army in the same month in fact, 113-328, which confirmed much of what we knew and surprised us with some new things as well.

Over a few years Castrol's rear side-seats, exterior mirrors and white rear mudflaps were refitted pretty close if not exactly as per factory specs. Other improvements such as the front rego plate mounting, electrical loom and brass badge were custom. The front indicator lights and rear stoplights fitted were Series 3 (cheaper) substitutes. When the previous owner at Seahampton replaced the rusty rear chassis box section, the beat up Australian Army Series 2A "sconecutters" had been discarded and a pair of Land-Rover Series 3 SWB "Game" model substitutes were fitted. Therefore the correct notch for the military NATO plug on the passenger side and the small PTO tunnel hole were both missing.
Castrol was crying out for a "back-to-bare-chassis" restoration - but that would cost money...

RC's Shed

Castrol was our family vehicle. The only other car we had was a "work car". Thru the 1990's we were a family of seven: three teenagers and the twins born in 1995. The family all managed to fit in the Landy on trips around town and on camping trips. The boys' Child Safety Seats were rigged up on the rear floor, side-by-side behind the front seats and facing the tailgate. We fitted two sets of lap seat belts to the bulkhead to secure the seats. The boys would wave at the traffic and generally entertain. (Try doing that sort of thing nowadays). On longer trips, like "Cooma 1998", three people and the gear would go in Castrol and four people would go in the "work car". We also had our modified Aust. No 5 trailer named Wizbin on camping trips; we carried extra things like bikes with it -the twins learnt to ride their bikes on bush tracks.

under construction zone

Restoration (b) 2010

  • Here is a gallery of photos when looked after in northern NSW by another family, 2007-2013?

  • Here is a gallery of photos when looked after in Melbourne by another family, 2013-current
  • back to REMLR Sheds