I don't know the reasoning behind having the radiator set back and the headlights in the radiator panel. What I do know, is that having the radiator set back allows plenty of room for a capstan or mechanical drum winch of significant proportions without encroaching on approach angle. The radiator position also helps protect the important bits from animal strikes as the bumper and mud guards//wings/fenders take most of the impact.
It probably has something to do with the fact the first Land Rovers had a tiny 1.6L engine, keeping the heavy bits all behind the front axle is very good for weight distribution, and due to the small engine size simply didn't need to fit it any further forward. No point having the radiator 3 feet from the engine fan!
The IIa's are better than IIIs in many respects, with far less bakelite, vinyl and plastic, stronger gearbox and the four cylinder 2.25s are both better than the 2.6L 6 cylinder in terms of reliability and power vs mpg.
Thanks for sharing the pics Akeuri! What engine does yours have?
Not knowing its condition, I'd prioritise efforts into getting it free rolling-that includes having working brakes and steering, followed by rust repairs in the chassis/frame and firewall, then engine followed by the miscellaneous electrics of which there aren't many! Being Aluminium, the body won't deteriorate while you fix everything else and can be done last. Saves you from scratching any new paint while lifting engine heads etc too!
Need any advice let me know, or for better help come over to www.aulro.com
I love the cross eyed look