“There is a caveat to modifying; primarily that it can be addictive"
Out on the road, this is a really nice car indeed to pedal. In fact, I'd say it is the nicest-driving Puma 90 I've ever been in. “You're not the first to say that” says Ian. “Of all the cars I've done, there's definitely something special about this car, isn't there?” he admits.
Our owner agrees, as I recount my thoughts on his car. “Its just a wonderful car to drive, and surprises many a Range Rover driver at traffic lights” he confesses. “I tend to start in second - accepting the clutch will probably wear - but it pulls so well in third and fourth, the difference [over standard] is like night and day” he enthuses. Despite mainly using it at weekends, it's fair to say he is more than pleased with what he has created. “I don't see myself as ever not owning that car” he says, neatly summising his thoughts on ownership so far.
What we learn here I suppose, is that to make a real difference to a Defender doesn't actually take that much. Cosmetics can be easily altered, but to really work, a subtle theme along the factory colours is always going to look sharp. To make the greatest improvement, perhaps the real lesson is all you really need is a little extra refinement and grunt, delivered in a usable, reliable way.
There is a caveat to modifying; primarily that it can be addictive. Since our photoshoot, showboating around an empty stubble field at sunset, our owner decided on a few more tweaks. “I've been back four times since to Ian,” he says, adding a NAS rear step, KBX wing tops, Exmoor leather sport seats, Bilstein B6 dampers, thicker anti-roll bars, Sawtooth alloys, and a black Alcantara headlining.
Don't think this has now over-egged the pudding. “I've taken it as far as I can now, and can't think of anything else it needs” says our owner. That probably neatly brackets the lessons learned from this 90; know when to start; know what to do; and crucially, know when to stop.