CULT FOL­LOW­ING

LAND ROVER DE­FENDER 90

4 x 4 Australia - - Custom 4x4 Of The Year 2017 -

“I WASN’T re­ally a Landy per­son prior to this, but now I have just be­come part of the cult.” Damian Lucev’s sim­ple state­ment re­flects what has be­come a se­ri­ous pas­sion for the green­o­val brand, re­flected in his smartly mod­i­fied De­fender 90 tourer. The De­fender was ini­tially just sup­posed to be Damian’s daily driver, but things soon changed... “A few years into owning it, my girlfriend and I planned a camp­ing trip up to the High Coun­try,” Damian said. “So I bought a snorkel for that trip, and that was as far as I was go­ing to go with it, and I sort of, yeah, ended up do­ing ev­ery­thing to it!”

First stop was the Puma 2.2TD with its stock 90kw-360nm out­put soon lifted thanks to a Bell Auto Ser­vices (BAS) ECU kit; the shorty De­fender now puts out 130kw/440nm. The rest of the driv­e­train was beefed-up to cope as well: front and rear Ashcroft diff locks (airac­tu­ated), Hi-tough axles (claimed to be 50 per cent stronger than stan­dard) and Ashcroft CVS en­sure this tough D90 doesn’t slow down, even with the big BFG Mud Ter­rain KM2 LT315/75R16 tyres wrapped around 16x8-inch Dy­namic steel rims.

The De­fender was sport­ing a two-inch lift, but Damian has up­graded to a Les Richmond Au­to­mo­tive cus­tom Koni kit with matched coils and dampers in the very near fu­ture. With those big tyres, that life and a short wheel­base, this D90 has ex­cel­lent ap­proach/de­par­ture an­gles and is pretty much un­stop­pable on gnarly ter­rain. But, just in case the un­ex­pected does hap­pen, Damian has fit­ted the Ro­vacraft tubu­lar bar up front with a Runva 11,000lb 11XP winch, op­er­ated via an in-cabin con­troller. The bar also houses a 17-inch Stedi Ver­sion 2 80W Cree LED light bar. Prov­ing there’s never enough light, there’s also a Stedi ST3300 48-inch 260W LED light bar on the roof rack – and a pair of

Stedi LEDS at the rear of the De­fender.

Even with the ex­cel­lent ground clear­ance, Damian has still gone the ex­tra step and fit­ted a Brit­part front bash plate, Mulgo side rails and bumperettes, plus an APT Fab­ri­ca­tion Fuel Tank Guard. The un­der­belly is fin­ished off with two re­cov­ery points up front and Nugget Stuff rear re­cov­ery point that bolts to the De­fender’s rear cross mem­ber.

Up top there’s a Darche awning at­tached to the roof rack, plus a Front Run­ner twin jerry can holder, shovel, Max­trax and a Hilift jack. Damian has also opted to fit a Man­tec swing-away rear wheel car­rier, re­mov­ing the heavy weight of that chunky spare wheel off the rear door.

Damian has flicked the rear seats to gain max­i­mum stor­age ca­pac­ity in the rear and has in­stalled a flat floor so he can ac­cess the fridge eas­ily and also store gear un­der the floor base. A Uniden UHF and to­tally re­vamped stereo fin­ish off the in­te­rior. Pow­er­ing all these good­ies is a du­al­bat­tery sys­tem, with Redarc BCDC charger.

Ul­ti­mately, for a two-up tourer, it’s hard to ar­gue with Damian when he reck­ons the De­fender 90 is the per­fect ve­hi­cle.

Damian added Les Richmond Koni long travel shocks and coils to im­prove its off-road abil­ity.

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