Af­ter sort­ing the me­chan­i­cals Steve has started to pimp his ride

Land Rover Monthly - - Writers' Rovers - STEVE MILLER

The Ninety project has picked up mo­men­tum in the last cou­ple of weeks, but the poor old girl sat re­dun­dant for a few months prior to that. We re­cently moved into a house af­ter spend­ing nearly four years liv­ing on a nar­row­boat. Liv­ing on a boat was fan­tas­tic – I would rec­om­mended it to any­one – but if your main in­ter­est is cars and bikes, liv­ing with­out your own drive­way or garage can be re­stric­tive. My com­mute has in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly now though from a round trip of just 28 miles a day to 108. Yes, it’s a long way to travel each day but luck­ily I love my job!

The Ninety, fit­ted with its nat­u­rallyaspi­rated en­gine, isn’t my first choice in trans­port. Once I leave my vil­lage, the com­mute is mainly A roads, in­clud­ing the A1. I did the jour­ney once, and once only. Get­ting taken out by an ar­tic lorry be­cause I’m too slow isn’t my idea of fun. Sure, I can reach 55-60 mph but it is work­ing hard, my foot un­com­fort­ably planted on the loud pedal and I can’t hear my­self think. Us­ing the Ninety around the Lin­colnshire coun­try­side is far bet­ter suited – at least un­til I get round to fit­ting a 300Tdi en­gine into it.

The first ma­jor job was to fit new tyres. If you re­call, I men­tioned how bad the orig­i­nal tyres were. They were badly per­ished Col­way re­moulds. I don’t think Col­way have been re­mould­ing tyres for many years so they were def­i­nitely a good age. I thought it best to change them swiftly. I opted for Goodyear Wran­gler AT/ SA tyres which I also ran on my old Dis­cov­ery. I trav­elled over 50k miles on those be­fore sell­ing the ve­hi­cle on – the tyres still hav­ing loads of tread left. With that kind of mileage po­ten­tial they should last a fair while on the Ninety. I vis­ited my lo­cal tyre fit­ters to have them fit­ted to the orig­i­nal steel wheels but there was a prob­lem. The new tyres were tube­less but the rims were the early riv­eted type, not the newer welded type. The for­mer would need to run tubes as they were not al­lowed to fit them with­out.

Un­for­tu­nately they didn’t have the tubes in stock so I headed home. In­stead of buy­ing tubes, I bought new steel wheels in­stead. I opted for new Wolf rims which are some of the strong­est on the mar­ket. I will have them painted even­tu­ally to what should be the orig­i­nal colour of Ivory white (not Lime­stone as I pre­vi­ously thought). Th­ese wheels need to be fit­ted with longer wheel studs, too, which I must ad­mit I’ve not done yet. How­ever, I will.

I have drilled out the riv­ets which held on all the che­quer plate. I know it prob­a­bly looks scruffier with­out but I re­ally want to take it back to a stan­dard look. I prob­a­bly won’t get the Ninety painted this year but it will be taken back to the orig­i­nal Stratos Blue. Also, the front bumper had been painted black and as it was flak­ing off it looked re­ally un­sightly so I stripped the rest with Nitro­mors. The orig­i­nal gal­vanised fin­ish looks per­fect now. The other five-minute job was to re­place the front grille. It’s start­ing to look good now. You’d have plenty of time to ad­mire it if you saw it on the road!

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