Work in progress: 2004 Defender 110 crew cab

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16 May 2024
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Andy's creation. Mellow yellow, it is not! : credit: © Andrew Wormald
Andrew Wormald, from Derby, talks us through his project...

How long have you owned it? I bought it around three and a half years ago.

What made you want to buy this particular Land Rover? I knew what I wanted to do with a Defender, and after talking to a couple of South African friends, I decided to start searching for the project car in South Africa. The reason behind this was that the hot climate meant I’d more than likely get a solid rust-free vehicle, it would be right-hand drive and the South African Rand to UAE (where I work and would build the Land Rover) Dirham exchange rate was very favourable.

Eventually I found this yellow crew cab 110 and after having the car checked over, the money was paid and the vehicle shipped to the UAE. Shipping and exporting the vehicle was straightforward and not expensive. In parallel to looking for the car, I was also searching for a used GM 6.2-litre V8 engine and a 6L80 transmission, as my budget didn’t allow me to purchase new ones. Eventually I found a donor car, an accident-damaged 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS fitted with the L99 engine and six-speed gearbox I wanted.

What’s the story so far? Once the vehicle arrived in the UAE it was stripped to a bare chassis. Then the rebuild challenge really started. All the body panels were sent for repainting in white, and the chassis and axles were sandblasted and painted with marine polyurethane paint. Most of the small items were sandblasted and then powder-coated.

Next on the list was to strip and inspect the engine. The good news was that it didn’t need any machining and could be rebuilt as a standard unit. Once all the parts arrived, I rebuilt the engine to LS3 specs, and while that was happening the transmission was sent for servicing.

Brakes and axle now look up to snuff

Both the front and rear axles have been completely overhauled and fitted with Ashcroft LSDs, and new upgraded brake rotors and calipers have been fitted all-round. The suspension has been completely renewed and upgraded with a two-inch lift, anti-roll bars and a full polybush kit.

I’ve stripped and rebuilt the LT230 transfer ’box. Instead of fitting the standard brake servo I’m using a hydro boost brake system, which should get around fitting larger discs and calipers. The original Td5 dash wasn’t reused; instead I’ve fitted an original Puma dashboard which incorporates the heater and a/c assembly, but the standard Puma gauge cluster hasn’t been installed. Instead I’ve fabricated a gauge cluster around a pair of Speedhut gauges and LED warning lights.

What has the biggest challenge been? It’s the dozens of small jobs that must be done before you can say, “this is now completed,” and you can move onto the next part of the rebuild. Fitting the Lokar Electronic gear shifter and sorting out the transfer ’box diff lock and high-low operation were probably the biggest challenges of all.

Any other areas that needed a lot of attention? The radiator fans and cooling pipework took a couple of attempts to get right. Also, the assembly of the hydro boost brake system and rebuilding the front and rear differentials took quite a bit of time.

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How long has it taken? I’ve been working on the project for three and a half years so far, but I lost a year on the rebuild due to an injury and relocation back to the UK.

Interior gets the bold treatment as well

What jobs are next on the list? I’ve got to take the vehicle for an MoT and complete the registration, decide which seat covers and floor matting or carpet I’m going to fit, sort out the central locking and find a decent swing-away spare wheel carrier.

What are your plans for it? Once it’s registered and I’m confident the vehicle is reliable, then I plan to drive the North Coast 500.

Who has helped with the project? I’d like to say thank you to Moses, Marius, Rob, Dinil and the guys at Rudiment    Engineering, together with parts suppliers Island 4x4, DLS UK Ltd, Speartech in the USA and Marks 4x4 in Australia.

As for any advice for anyone doing something similar – make a rebuild plan and try to stick to it. Don’t rush, take your time and think things through, purchase any workshop manuals you think you’ll need, buy yourself a decent battery impact gun and sockets (it makes everything so much quicker and easier), and if in doubt, spend some time doing research or ask someone who knows more than you.

How can readers follow what you’re doing next? On Instagram – @handyandyslandy.

 

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