Cover Story: Ul­ti­mate De­fender 130

The De­fender 130 with ev­ery­thing… in­clud­ing a cook

Land Rover Monthly - - Contents - Story: Pa­trick Cruywagen Pic­tures: Craig Dut­ton

Meet the over­land camper con­ver­sion to die for, built with all mod cons on an ex­tra-long wheel­base 130

Scot­tish farmer An­drew Tosh loves his Land Rovers. He has a few of them, in­clud­ing a Free­lander 1 and an in­her­ited 1972 Range Rover Clas­sic which has been in his fam­ily from new, but it was his in­cred­i­ble De­fender 130 that turned heads on the LRM stand at the re­cent Scot­land Land Rover Show (fea­tured on page 104). This ve­hi­cle came about af­ter it was com­pletely re­built in 2008 by Stu­art Fo­ley of Fo­ley Spe­cial­ist Ve­hi­cles Ltd, work­ing closely with An­drew, us­ing an en­tire brand-new donor Rest of the World 110 300Tdi De­fender pick-up with fac­tory-fit­ted air­con, a brand-new 130 heavy-duty Richards Chas­sis, plus all the re­quired ex­tras to make it hap­pen.

An­drew was thrilled with the work that Fo­leys did. “Stu­art and his brother Paul were very metic­u­lous in the ground-up build, us­ing only stain­less steel bolts and gal­vanis­ing wher­ever they could. They gave me some great ideas for this project: for ex­am­ple, an ac­cess hatch through the rear floor to the diesel tank’s fuel pump,” says An­drew, who now had a base ve­hi­cle from which to build the dream over­land truck for him and his wife El­iz­a­beth to go tour­ing in. This wasn’t their first ma­jor project, as An­drew had pre­vi­ously con­verted a 1991 Range Rover Clas­sic into a for­mi­da­ble over­lan­der, which now lives in Uganda.

With the first phase of his project com­plete, An­drew then drove the 130 to Ger­many, where Roland Kohler of LandyCam­per built and in­stalled the pop-top roof con­ver­sion and the in­ter­nal stor­age ar­eas, which in­cluded a ta­ble, sink and twin-hob gas cooker.

Reg­u­lar read­ers will know that I’ve been up close and per­sonal with some of the world’s best camp­ing con­ver­sions – and I can tell you that Roland’s work is top qual­ity and it is right up there with the best of them. So it was clear this was go­ing to be some­thing spe­cial. Due to the longer wheel­base, Roland was able to in­stall a few more stor­age ar­eas than he would on, say, a 110 wheel­base.

As An­drew had al­ready pur­chased a Han­ni­bal 2.4-me­tre side awning and rear awning, he wanted the sides of his Landy Camper pop-up tent to be made from the same brown can­vas that Han­ni­bal used. He didn’t stop there and had roll-down screens made for each of the win­dows from the same can­vas. He also cov­ered the sec­ond row seat and jump seat (which can face ei­ther back­wards or for­wards, or fold flat) in the same can­vas.

De­spite the fact that the pop-top tent for sleep­ing looks pretty spa­cious, an ad­di­tional on-de­mand sleep­ing area can be cre­ated down be­low us­ing the made-to-fit mat­tress cush­ions. The camper sec­tion of the project took about seven months to com­plete.

I was as­tounded by the at­ten­tion to de­tail and num­ber of ac­ces­sories that An­drew has added – all per­fectly fit­ted for a very spe­cific pur­pose. One of the lock­ers con­tains a Porta Potti so that when na­ture calls on a cold night you don’t have to leave the warmth gen­er­ated by the Eberspacher heater. Hot water for the shower and clean­ing is de­liv­ered via a Glind heat ex­changer. It is metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­tail like this that trans­forms the camper sec­tion into a real home away from home.

As some­one who has done one or two over­land trips, there are many lit­tle touches on An­drew’s 130 that I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate. For ex­am­ple, there is a spare wheel on the bon­net, plus two Bri­tish Camel-style shov­els. All that ex­tra weight means El­iz­a­beth would never be able to lift the bon­net to check the en­gine’s fluid lev­els – a prob­lem solved by fit­ting gas struts. Now you can lit­er­ally lift that bon­net with your lit­tle fin­ger. Mean­while, the orig­i­nal bon­net hinges have been re­placed with tam­per-proof ones from MUD to pre­vent ev­ery­thing get­ting nicked.

While on the sub­ject of se­cu­rity, An­drew has built-in more than one anti-theft sys­tem (for ob­vi­ous rea­sons I won’t go into de­tail). Vis­i­ble ex­ter­nal de­ter­rents in­clude pad­lock­able hasps on all five of the doors – a very prac­ti­cal solution.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.