Work in progress: 1985 Ninety Hard Top ‘Harry’

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Andrew reaps the fruits of his labour : credit: © Andrew Callaghan
Andrew Callaghan, a Domestic Energy Assessor and Community Development Worker from Cambridgeshire, talks us through his project...

How long have you owned it?
Since October 2015.

What made you want to buy this particular Land Rover?
We were looking for a project, I had just turned 50. I learned to drive in an SIII in the Army and have driven numerous Land Rovers during my time, so it seemed a good idea to get one; we wanted a short wheelbase and with a lack of knowledge this one looked nice!

What’s the story so far?
Purchased as a project, we ran a bushcraft company and wanted a vehicle that would fit in with that and the outdoor education sessions we did with local schools. Between October 2015 and July 2016 we redesigned it for what we wanted. Inexperience meant we didn’t do some jobs we should have done but it looked nice at the end. Now I have decided that I want it to be a vehicle that my wife and I can use for trips around the UK.

Andrew prepares for the return of the Ninety's engine

It was collected by Welhurn Engineering; they took out the engine and gearbox for refurbishment and then returned ‘Harry’ to us while they did their bit. I have cleaned up and painted the engine bay, replaced both front shocks, springs and turrets.

What has the biggest challenge been?
Learning what should be done and how to do it rather than doing what I thought was right.

I should have looked closer at the chassis, rather than the aesthetics. Lack of knowledge has proven the biggest challenge: fortunately some great social media posts, YouTube videos and, of course, LRM are helping this time.

Last time around I relied on pure luck and a bit of thinking, such as when I tried to take the rear springs out and couldn’t work out why I couldn’t do it – then I worked out that I needed to jack the body up not the axle. Doh!

How long has it taken?
We started this second overhaul in late June 2023.

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Suspension fit-out underway

What jobs are next on the list?
New tyres (if Lady C gets her way), engine and gearbox back in following refurbishment, new doors, brakes, maybe new rear axle, fit rear side windows, replace the bonnet (for one without chequerplate), remove the rock sliders and refit sills, remove chequerplate and lamp guards and fill holes, upgrade to LED lights, fit new mirrors and hinges.

Inside, it will get a new dash from Defenderwood, new binnacle, a centre console with satnav and a few extras. A wooden cubby box (making that myself), new gear and transfer ’box knobs, steering wheel, seats, soundproofing, headlining and flooring. Finally, it will be resprayed in a slightly darker green (Reseda green, RAL6011). So, quite a bit…

What are your plans with it?
We intend to visit places around the UK that interest us and I would like to drop in on all the people who have provided us with parts, including Britpart, Island 4x4, Maltings, Buzzweld and Terrafirma. I would also like to go to local places of interest and create YouTube videos. It will also be on stands at shows promoting the charity I work with.

Who has helped with the project?
Welhurn Engineering and my wife (Lady C).

Have you got any advice for anyone doing something similar?
Get workshop manuals, join social media forums, watch YouTube, get the tools suggested – why I didn’t get an impact gun years ago I do not know.

How can readers follow your progress?
Instagram @project_harry-lr90.

 

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