land rover santana fire truck

Santana 2000: Last of the Kind


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Few models in automotive history have proven to be as versatile as the legendary Land Rover. Since its introduction in 1948, It underwent multiple transformations to adapt it to all kinds of civil, military or agricultural uses, while it was manufactured under license in countries as diverse as Belgium or Australia. In Spain, Metalúrgica Santa Ana de Linares (Jaén) motorized the Spanish countryside since the early 60s, and less than 10 years later it already had a varied range with very different models, some without equivalent in the British parent company.

One of them is the santana 2000 protagonist of this article, still in use and owned by the Mariola Verda de Bocairent (Valencia) association, a group against forest fires (ACIF), which carries out voluntary work to prevent and extinguish fires. Created in 1994, at the beginning it had two Land Rover Santana 109 and Land Rover Santana 88 Especial, and several years later it acquired this Santana 2000 from the Fire Department of the city of Valencia. The vehicle was about to be sent to Morocco to continue working there when it was "rescued" by this association, which had the help of Mark Blasco, an experienced mechanic who loves the classics who runs Marcos Workshop.

land rover santana 2000
Still active, this Santana 2000 is a 100% national product

Marcos, in addition to being the “official” driver of the vehicle, carried out various catch-up operations that went from the reupholstery of the cabin roof to the assembly of a new tank with a capacity of 1.100 liters of water. The original pump was useless, so Marcos replaced it with a Honda engine, which apparently does its job. It is now used to put out fires in the Sierra Mariola, and slowly but surely it has been really useful for several years.

"You have to go calm and know the limits of the vehicle, but slowly and the tractor is moving, with the gearbox activated, it goes anywhere". Marcos tells us, but we can corroborate it with the video we have made, and it is also that his 94 hp SAE diesel engine it is robust and sufficient to pull the whole. In fact, the Santana 2000 performs like a fish in water in the field, where its weight gives it amazing stability and traction.

The Association has recently received a URO F2 18.16 with a higher capacity tank and a faster turbo engine, so the future use of the Santana 2000 is currently uncertain.

land rover santana fire truck
Rough yet endearing lines inspired by the 'Forward Control Models'


Perhaps, the product furthest from the original English Land Rover designs was the Santana 2000 that we bring to these lines, and that without references could be mistaken for some truck coming from behind the "Iron Curtain" ... and yet It is a 100% Spanish design, although we do not know who was the "inspired author" of his rough lines. It was certainly thought of as a forward-cab vehicle for industrial and agricultural use in which functionality was paramount.

The idea of ​​a Land Rover with the cabin on the front axle dates back to 1962, when the "Forward Control Models", as they were known in Britain. Based on the IIA series in 109 version (the long chassis), at first they were mechanically identical to their “normal” body brothers, including the different 4 and 6-cylinder engines or the 4-speed gearbox with reducers and traction. total. Only the chassis had been modified with two additional spars that lengthened it at the front and at the rear. In addition, one of the transverse beams of the chassis was made removable to fit the spare wheel, and the fuel tank was moved from the sides to the rear.

land rover santana 2000
Advanced Cab Land Rovers had to deal with some initial shortcomings

The “flat” nose cabin and new design –but equipped with many existing elements, such as the doors- and the cargo box were placed not directly on the chassis, but on some supplements that increased the overall height of the assembly considerably, which allowed the installation of wider tires that aided traction in difficult terrain under full load.

Already in the middle of 1963, and in view of the various insufficiencies of the original Land Rover mechanics for this new arrangement, improvements were made to the clutch, the gearbox –with lower gear ratios-, or the steering, and even in 1965 the Land Rovers were equipped Advanced cab with reinforced front and rear axles.


At the end of the 60s "our" Santana was a hive of ideas which materialized with the launch of the 1300 truck - his first own creation - in 1967 and the Military Light in 1969. In addition, in 1968 the 109 five-door joined the range. The 1300 was clearly based on the "Forward Control" English, because the principle was the same - a Land Rover with the forward cabin - and even the design was similar, although in reality there were notable differences.

For example, the Santana 1300 had the mechanics of the model 109 from which it was derived practically unchanged, and being designed for a load of 1,3 tons (hence its name), the men of the department of studies and prototypes simplified its development to the maximum.

land rover santana 2000
The front is certainly brutal

The cab-rear bodywork set was anchored directly to the chassis, without major height supplements, so that the doors had to be redesigned to accommodate the wheel arch, and the overall height of the set barely exceeded that of the Land Rover 109s of those that derived, if we except the cargo area.

The 1300 was in production until the late 70s, when Santana began working on its replacement, the S-2000 protagonist of this article. Also with a forward cabin and slightly longer than the 109 model (although its wheelbase was somewhat shorter), it was a totally "Made in Spain", without equivalent in other countries, and it is also really difficult to identify with other Land Rover models, at least seen from the outside.

This maybe it was a strategic mistake, Well, if the and Rovers already had a recognized fame as infallible off-roaders, ... Why not use some of their features in this umpteenth evolution?


The Santana 2000 was offered in various body variants (dump truck, crane platform, snow plow, isothermal van, irrigation cistern, fire-fighting equipment), and of course in a chassis-cabin configuration for bodywork "to the taste" of the buyer.

It measured 4.949 mm in length, its maximum weight could reach 4.600 kilos and it cost more than 2 million pesetas at the time. Its contained dimensions of width (1.960 mm) and height (2.235 mm) made it a serious competitor to the Galician-made Mafsa-IPVs, but also to the somewhat more sophisticated Mercedes-Unimog of the time. What's more, with its 6,00 x 16 ″ stamped sheet metal rims, 9,00 x 16 ″ tires and 280mm headroom, it almost looked more like the authentic British Land Rover “Foward Control” than its predecessor the Santana 1300.

The Santana 2000 catalog featured the brand's six-cylinder engine in diesel and gasoline versions, both with an identical diameter per stroke of 90,47 x 88,90 mm, so that both engines had the same displacement of 3.429 cc and similar performance (104 hp at 4.000 rpm and a torque of 241 Nm at 1.500 rpm for gasoline, 94 hp at 4.000 rpm and 309 Nm at 1.800 rpm for diesel).

The synchronized manual gearbox had four speeds and featured a two-speed transfer case with permanent four-wheel drive. The standard fuel tank had a capacity of 85 liters, but many users, mainly official bodies, lightened them so that it did not exceed 3.500 kg of PMA so that it could be driven with the type B license.

land rover santana fire truck


The unity we bring to The Escuderia assemble a body made by the well-known Spanish company Financiera Mecánico Eléctrica SA, whose acronym Fimesa reached enormous levels of success during the time of "Developmentalism" Spanish from the 60s and 70s. This company built huge units of Pegaso and Barreiros, to the point that in almost every Spanish municipality there was some of his creation.

The body that our Santana 2000, called in the catalog of the time as "Model A 128", It was sold already complete and equipped with a double cabin with capacity for 4 people and an aluminum rear body with 7 boxes. The original tank had a capacity of 800 liters and was coupled to a Guinard GI 50.60 pump now replaced by modern elements, as we have seen previously. As a sign of its general originality, it still mounts the mud flaps originally used by the body shop, as can be seen in the photos.

* After 40 years of extinguishing fires, this truck is for sale. You can collect it or, as you can see, continue taking care of nature with it. If you are interested, do not hesitate to ask in the comments.

What do you think?

Francisco Carrion

Written by Francisco Carrion

My name is Francisco Carrión and I was born in Ciudad Real in 1988, a place that was not at first akin to vintage cars. Fortunately my grandfather, dedicated to the automotive sector, had friends who owned veteran cars and participated in the annual rally that was held (and continues to be held) in my hometown ... Read More


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