HOT TO DROP
With the MOT tantalisingly close, the 110 is almost ready to drop its top for summer
My poor old V8 has not been treated very well in the last year or so. The Land Rover was brought home from Donegal as an 88in coil sprung hybrid for some major surgery in June 2016. My good friend Dan Dew (he of Demand Engineering Ltd) and I set about rebuilding the left-hand drive truck into its original factory format – namely a 110 soft-top.
Over the space of three solid days, Dan and I took the Land Rover apart, discarding its shortened coil-sprung chassis and rebuilding it on a brand-new galvanised 110 chassis. By the end of the first day, we had the body off the rolling chassis and the chassis completely stripped. By end of the third day, the truck was rebuilt on the 110 chassis, with a 110 rear body tub and the engine was running again. I reversed the Land Rover out of the workshop and parked it up, waiting for a paint job. Meanwhile we went to work on another project of Dan’s for the rest of that week.
During the course of last summer, the now 110 V8 was treated to a special paint job at the Ulster Aviation Society museum, by master camouflage paint artist, Ian Hendry. The Land Rover got a Ww2-style paint scheme to match the fine Spitfire housed at the museum. And a fabulous job Ian did too!
So why do I say that my V8 has not been treated very well? The answer lies in giving the poor old thing all of this false hope of an early rebirth. A new chassis, new body parts and some very special paint – that I sourced from LM Paints & Graphics in Ballymena – would certainly give the impression that I wanted the Land Rover back in Co Donegal as soon as possible, to take us on special beach trips, greenlane runs and general family recreation. But no, the work stopped, the 110 was parked up and a cover placed over its open body and cab. It didn’t even have the dignity of being afforded space in the barn.
Terrible, cruel treatment indeed! But this summer I have been trying to redeem myself. Despite still having the same work pressures that previously halted work on the 110, I have made a concerted effort to get the truck finished and ready for the road. The body cappings have all been fitted, as have the soft-top hoops and sticks set – allowing the fabulous new Mohair hood from All Wheel Trim to finally be taken out of the packaging. I’m now working on getting all of the seats fitted – two in the front; six individual ones in the back – and it is tantalisingly close to going for an MOT test.
Once tested, the 110 will be taken back to its home in Co Donegal, where most of my off-road driving is done these day. The lanes are fabulous and plentiful, with breathtaking beautiful scenery to boot. I’m quite sure that Dan will be lured back for his fourth (or is it fifth?) visit to Donegal when he finds out that the V8 is back and running. However, another friend of mine deserves an early test drive in the Land Rover, too – Dean Gartley, who gave up most of his Sunday recently, to help me fit the Mohair hood. It was one of those jobs where two heads (and two pairs of hands) inspire the confidence not to screw up a very fine and costly Land Rover hood. We were both satisfied with our efforts on the day and look forward the V8 purr and roar soon. I hope we get the weather to take the hood off on more than the odd occasion.