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Land Rover Forward Control (FC) (1962-)

The Land-Rover long wheel base (LWB) 109" did not have enough capacity to satisfy some customers so Rover developed a forward control (FC), or cab-over, design for this market - 4wd.sofcom.com/4WD.html

[Land Rover: picture of landrover forward control, jpg]

The forward control Land-Rover contains the normal SIIA LWB chassis, engine and running gear hidden under the truck bodywork. A new sub-frame is bolted to the front of the chassis to carry the cab. The cab itself contains some new panels but makes considerable use of existing ones. Rover were very pleased with the small number of special parts required and this was certainly a selling point with fleet owners from the service point of view, particularly in remote areas.

The radiator is moved forwards and the fan is driven by its own mini propeller shaft complete with two universal joints - at least as originally fitted.

[Land Rover: picture of landrover forward control, jpg]

Most forward controls came with a drop-side tray fitted to the rear. This is supported by a sub-frame of U-channel girders and uprights bolted to the Land-Rover chassis. The arrangement is very strong but also heavy. The engine is accessible via a cover which unfortunately intrudes into the rear tray by a small amount. The tray is large enough to carry an 80" SI.

Note the position for the spare wheel. Standard tyre size is 9.00x16.

The vehicle was also available as a cab-chassis without the rear sub-frame or tray. In this form it was popular for camper-conversions, fire-engines and other special projects.

[Land Rover: picture of landrover forward control, jpg] The rear view shows the usual Land-Rover chassis cross-member with a new one for the rear tray bolted above it.

Quite a few forward-controls were fitted with a centrally mounted power take-off (PTO) winch. This is a very sensible position for a winch as the weight is between the axles and the winch rope can be run out either forwards or backwards through pulleys and fairleads. The rear winch rollers can be seen just below the tail-gate.

[Land Rover: picture of landrover forward control, jpg]

Inside, the cab is almost all standard Land-Rover SIIA. Most FC's were fitted with the short "ute" cab but this one has gone top-less. Note the hand-throttle on this vehicle, mounted under the centre of the dash-board beneath the instrument panel. The gear linkage needed rerouting over the engine and soon developed plenty of free play.

Forward control steering is generally vague. The vehicle is also nose-heavy and can be "exciting" under brakes, particularly down-hill, unless there is a bit of a load in the back.

The vehicle was also under-powered, even with the 2.6L 6-cylinder engine, but dramatically so with the 2.25L 4-cylinder petrol or diesel engines. In common with many survivors in Australia, this one has had a Holden (GM) 6-cylinder engine fitted; it is usual in such cases to replace the standard radiator fan and its prop-shaft with an electric fan.

picture Land Rover SIIB 110 Forward Control FC

Because of the problems mentioned above, an improved SIIB Land-Rover Forward Control was released in 1966. The most obvious external change was the moving of the head-lights to a lower position and the side-lights to a higher position on the front panel. The wheel base grew to 110" (a fact that is useful in trivial pursuits or at quiz nights) as the axles were moved slightly on the springs. New axles with a wider track and heavy-duty ENV differentials were fitted. It is now difficult to get spares for these diff's.

This example (right) has had a special hard-top and pop-top fitted, made of one and a half normal LWB hard-tops and it clearly illustrates the enormous load capacity of a forward control design.

There were simply too many compromises in the SIIA/SIIB Forward Control and it was never a great success. Most were bought as work trucks; they worked hard and suffered accordingly. Consequently FC's are now quite rare, straight and complete ones especially so.

Land-Rover tried the configuration again with the military FC101 which was successful in its specialist niche. They tried to civilise the FC101 with the Llama project but that was killed before the production stage.

Go to the 2B, Series or Land Rover pages


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