The original Land Rover had a very successful first decade, but by the late
1950s it was clear that changes had to be made if it was to remain the top
dog. Hence, the Land Rover Series II was launched in 1958 sporting a larger
petrol engine and new styling.
The new petrol engine was based on the recently introduced diesel engine. Engine capacity was bored out to 2.286l, to produce 52bhp at 4,000 rpm and 101 lb/ft torque at 1,500 rpm. This was comparable to the diesel, although the diesel engine revved at a lower speed, and was only capable of 87 lb/ft torque at 2000 rpm. The new gearbox was similar to the Series 1 gearbox, but incorporated synchromesh on the 3rd and 4th gear. Rear wheel movement was improved by moving the rear springs, and the turning circle was reduced by improving the steering lock. The new body styling was still conservative, but added rounded corners and sills to the Land Rover design. Window Perspex was replaced with glass.
The Series II sold well, with 28,000 being sold in its first full year, and 34,000 in the year after.