Your Land Rovers

It started life as a French dairy farmer’s hack. Now, af­ter a good clean and £19k-worth of mod­i­fi­ca­tions, it’s a Dou­ble Cab that’ll go any­where

LRO (UK) - - Contents -

Dou­ble Cab 110, Rail­rover 130, Se­ries I

It would have been dif­fi­cult not to end up driv­ing a Land Rover when I fi­nally got my driv­ing li­cence, as my dad has al­ways been into Land Rovers. He gave me the ‘virus’.

I started out mod­i­fy­ing early Dis­cov­erys and Clas­sic Range Rovers be­fore fid­dling with a cou­ple of P38s.

Even­tu­ally, I was able to af­ford a De­fender – a pure farmer’s work­horse: not a sin­gle panel on the white Dou­ble Cab was straight, and the in­te­rior was cov­ered in mud and worse.

It’s not like it was cheap, either, but I didn’t have much choice – in France Dou­ble Cabs are rare and good ones are close to im­pos­si­ble to find. To be fair, the me­chan­i­cal side of the 110 was sound, but the farmer clearly felt that leav­ing the De­fender in a field where cat­tle would scrape up against it was to­tally nor­mal.

I took the bull by the horns and dis­man­tled the whole 110. I wanted to check ev­ery­thing be­fore in­stalling a Ter­rafirma 4x4 sus­pen­sion kit, in­clud­ing +2in springs, dis­lo­cat­ing cones and tubu­lar tur­rets, and Britpart Cel­lu­lar Dynamic +5.5in dampers.

I also added af­ter­mar­ket sixde­gree cranked ra­dius and trail­ing arms, align­ing the axles with the trans­mis­sion. The in­stal­la­tion was pretty straight­for­ward, if some­what time-con­sum­ing.

Un­for­tu­nately, this is when health prob­lems se­ri­ously lim­ited my abil­ity to com­plete the job. Luck­ily, my mate Alexan­dre Gatt helped me finish ev­ery­thing.

The list of other parts goes on and on and in­cludes a new MM 4x4 Pan­hard rod, and a Ter­rafirma steer­ing dam­per. We also fit­ted diff lock­ers (an ARB up front and an Ea­ton Detroit Locker in the back) along with Ashcroft Trans­mis­sions axles in­ter­nals and prop­shafts. Why did we do all this, you may be ask­ing? Sim­ply to ac­com­mo­date 37x12.5r16 Maxxis Trepador M8060 Com­pe­ti­tion tyres. They nicely wrap around 8x16in Mach 5 rims.

I de­cided to go for a remap by Cor­sica spe­cial­ist Cyril Gérard. The five-pot diesel has pushe­d­out 170bhp and 270lb ft for two years now. When my back prob­lems had gone, I in­stalled the sturdy Ter­rafirma bumper, ACC16 rock­slid­ers and Mad­land rear bumper. Th­ese al­low cut­ting out part of the rear quar­ter panel, of­fer­ing a bet­ter exit an­gle.

Once ev­ery­thing was in place, I took it all apart again to spray the lot in San­torini black be­fore ad­ding ACC16 Svx-type side de­cals in mat black. I com­pleted the new look with a KBX grille kit and LED lights.

I in­stalled Disco 2 front seats, mounted on trac­tor seat tilt­ing mech­a­nisms, al­low­ing me to ac­cess the bat­tery. The in­te­rior had a few com­fort up­grades, too.

Hav­ing spent just un­der £19,000 on the whole project, I think

I got more than my money’s worth. The De­fender has not only been fault­less since com­ple­tion but it goes ev­ery­where I point it: tar­mac, mud holes, tri­alling tracks, it just de­vours it all. In fact, I’ve never used my T-max 9500S winch since I fit­ted the 37in tyres! I think that says it all.

‘The De­fender has not only been fault­less since com­ple­tion – it goes ev­ery­where I point it’

Sus­pen­sion fit was ‘time-con­sum­ing’

Td5 de­liv­ers hefty 270lb ft af­ter remap

Heavy-duty add-ons al­low bet­ter exit an­gle Disco II seats mounted on trac­tor tilt sys­tem Mas­sive 37in tyres have made the T-max 9500S winch al­most re­dun­dant

Se­ri­ous gear in ev­ery inch of space

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