“There is a caveat to mod­i­fy­ing; pri­mar­ily that it can be ad­dic­tive"

Land Rover Monthly - - IRB Developments Defender -

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.

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