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Off-roading is an interesting bit of motorsport because it has the connotation of being cavemanish or “redneck.” Off-roading is a lot like racing in that it takes a specialized vehicle and a unique set of skills that you can’t get from normal driving. This is why in 1974, Land Rover made an instructional film teaching LR owners how to properly off-road. Given the time period and the very Biritishness of it, the film will probably bring a smile to your face. Not to mention, there is some good information in there too. 

Land Rover video from 1974 teaching you how to off-road
Land Rover video | Land Rover

Land Rover Series 3

The film is not only teaching us how to off-road, but it also serves the double purpose of showing off the then-new short-wheelbase Series 3 Land Rover. The Series 3 dropped in 1971, so this was the new hotness for Land Rover. 

According to Silodrome, 440,000 Series 3 SUVs were made between 1971 and 1985, making it the best-selling series for Land Rover by a hefty margin.

It can be tough to tell the difference between the previous Series 2A and Series 3 because the changes were fairly subtle. Both had similar body shapes and engines. The Series 3 had a slightly different headlight placement and got a plastic grille, as opposed to the older metal ones. 

The Series 3 is powered by an overhead valve 2.25-liter engine, similar to the “high-compression” option that had been offered on the earlier Series 2A. Although what was once an optional upgrade was now standard. This offered an improvement from 7.0:1 to 8.0:1 and a slight power gain as a result.

Other improvements include the gearbox, axles, and wheel hubs all getting strengthened, and in 1980, the petrol and diesel 2.25-liter engines received five main bearing crankshafts, according to Silodrome. 

Learn how to off-road

Screen shot of a Series 3 Land Rover going downhill in instructional video.
Land Rover Series 3 | Land Rover

I dare say this 40-year-old, 12-minute video isn’t going to teach you everything you need to know to be a strong off-roader, but it does a great job of covering some of the basics. 

The film hits all the major areas for off-roading: Boulders, rough track, sand, water, mud, and marshland. For each environment, the narrator gives helpful tips like lowering tire pressure for increased surface area and how to find the proper angle of approach. There are some even more advanced tips, like how to use the clutch and gears to use engine braking instead of the brakes. 

There are certainly some updated technics for off-roading and some mechanical considerations that we no longer have to make. However, the tips given in this video are still valid and will turn a beginner off-roader into something the trails should fear. 

Off-roading hasn’t changed much

The cheesiness of the video might make you laugh and discredit it, but these principles still hold up over 40 years later. Watch the film. Master the techniques. And always remember, “A Land Rover immobilized is a moral defeat for the driver and bad publicity for the vehicle.”