HOT TO DROP

With the MOT tan­ta­lis­ingly close, the 110 is al­most ready to drop its top for sum­mer

Land Rover Monthly - - Writers' Rovers -

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.

TREVOR CUTH­BERT CONTRIBUTOR

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