Monthly Archives: February 2015

Ras-ta-ra-tion: Part 2

Marley's Land Rover
Bob Marley’s Land Rover before restoration.

Bob Marley’s 1973 Series III Land Rover has been undergoing a complete restoration by Sandals Resorts International and their affiliate ATL Automotive in Jamaica.

Marley Land Rover after restoration
The Series III after restoration.

ATL really did quite the job. There is a video that I will also post. It’s just over 10 minutes long, but they go into the restoration fairly well for a clip. When you look at the condition the truck was in prior to ATL getting their hands on it, you really get a feel for how much work they put into it.

70 Years Ago: Iwo Jima

Armada heading towards Iwo Jima Beaches
19 February 1945 US Marines head for Iwo Jima beaches. Photo by AP/US Navy

70 years ago Thursday, US forces landed on the beaches of the Japanese Island of Iwo Jima, engaging in what would become one of the fiercest fought battles of WWII.

US Marines on Iwo Jima
US Marines trudging through the black, volcanic sand of Iwo Jima. 1945 Photo credit AP

Operation Detachment, as the assault was officially designated in 1945, would go on for five weeks. The Japanese Army had heavily fortified the island long before the Marines landed. A dense network of bunkers, and artillery positions were supported by 11 miles of underground tunnels.

Graves of the 5th Division Marines
Graves of the 5th Division Marines on Iwo Jima 23 March 1945. AP Photo

The assault on Iwo Jima resulted in over 26,000 American casualties, with 6800 dead. It was the only US Marine Corp battle where American casualties outnumbered the Japanese.
There were 22,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima at the start of the battle. 18,844 died either by fighting or suicide. Only 216 were captured. An estimated 3000 Japanese soldiers continued to fight, hide and evade, using the tunnel system and caves on the island. The last of these surrendered almost 4 years after the battle started in January of 1949.

Dogtags Mt Suribachi Memorial
Dogtags at a memorial on Mt Suribachi. Photo credit AP/Greg Baker

Happy Alaskans

Brown Bears Fishing Alaska
Fishing in Alaska

In their annual “State of the States” poll, Gallup came to the conclusion that Alaska ranked #1 for overall well being of its residents out of all 50 states.

In Gallup’s Well-Being Index, on a scale between 0 and 100, Alaskans had a score of 64.7. We also had the number one score of “sense of purpose” out of all America.

It is the first time Alaska has ranked #1 in this poll. I believe that is due directly to the recent warmer winters.

Since Alaska is already too crowded as it is, I suggest checking out the #2 ranked state: Hawaii.

Land Rover Lightweight

1972 LR Lightweight

Back in the early 1960’s, the Royal Marines and British Army commissioned Land Rover to develop a lighter vehicle than the Series 88, that could be carried by helicopter. The Land Rover Half-Ton was the result. Known as the Lightweight or Airportable, it was 4 inches narrower than the standard 88, which allowed it to sit on a pallet. With removable body panels, and windscreen, the new Lightweight could be easily airlifted when harnessed in a sling. Once the body panels were refitted, however, the Lightweight actually weighed more than the standard 88.

The Half Ton Airportable was produced between 1968 and 1984.

Lightweight 2

The 1972 Lightweight pictured is for sale out of Chapel Hill on craigslist, with an asking price of $8000. It looks to be in decent shape, and has been through a restoration by the previous owner.

Lightweight 3

This vehicle comes courtesy of

The Huslia Hustler

Attla and his team running the Open North American

Legendary Alaskan dog musher, George Attla Jr. passed away on Sunday. He had been diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma just the previous week. Attla was 81.

Known as the Huslia Hustler, Attla grew up outside the village of Huslia, which is 85 miles upriver from the confluence of the Koyukuk and Yukon Rivers. He raced his first Fur Rondy in 1958 and last mushed a team in Fairbanks over the 2014 Arctic Winter Games’ course. Attla would win the world’s two premiere sprint races: the Fur Rendezvous World Championship in Anchorage and the Open North American in Fairbanks, 18 times.

Photo courtesy of the Daily News-Miner, video courtesy of UAF Film Archives

30 Degrees!

It finally warmed up enough to get the new radiator in The Rover.

Radiator Puncture
Leakage source

The missile launched was a direct hit on the not so old radiator. Damn trucks running mudders.

New Radiator
The new, matte black radiator in place

It wasn’t a bad swap, but this time the holes on the shroud did not match up with those on the new radiator’s framing, which was a bit of a surprise, since last time it was perfect. I bought a new radiator hose pick that really worked slick. Well worth the purchase. I replaced all the hoses, but the old ones will go in the tool box as emergency spares, since they really were not very old.

I installed my cold front today as well. Not to increase my heater output, but to protect the new radiator from incoming missiles.

Happy President’s Day

War Corespondent Brian Williams