28 January 2023
Luke Yarnall, a Police Officer from London, talks us through his project...
How did you find this project?
I purchased it as my first car. That was a whopping 12 years ago and I’ve held onto it until now.
What’s the story so far?
I was only 16 when I took ownership of it and so I was running it on a real student’s shoestring budget. I remember the first time I took it off-roading on Salisbury Plains, we dunked it in one of the big water holes and when it came out it wasn’t pretty. The chassis and bulkhead had a few more holes than I thought – some had been covered up by copious amounts of Waxoyl. Not a great start to Land Rover ownership.
Tell us about the rebuild
Over the next few years I started saving lots of money and then my dad and I started to rebuild the Landy on our London driveway. It all began with a new galvanised chassis and bulkhead. Then my friendly neighbour kindly let me paint the body in his garage and we assembled it all as we went along. Initially I rebuilt the car as a stock standard Ninety until I decided what I wanted to do with the car. I was very budget-conscious so chose to buy secondhand and refurbished accessories and parts.
Where are you at now with it?
Fast forward to its current state and it’s been resprayed again, this time in a car port on my driveway and it’s also been kitted out for overland expeditions. It has an on-board 60 litre water tank, toilet, shower and a homemade drawer system. I’m proud of what we have done and achieved.
200Tdi: A costly option in London
How is the engine running?
The engine is a 200Tdi Defender lump fitted with a hybrid turbo and it runs perfectly. If a more cost-effective solution becomes available where I can fit a Euro 6-compliant engine to avoid the ULEZ charges, then I would most certainly be interested in an engine swap.
What are your plans with it?
The general plan is to do overland travel in it. It has already been to France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, the Orkney Islands and Corsica. Then recently I did Scotland’s NC500 in it.
List some of the bits you’ve added or replaced
Galvanised chassis and bulkhead, respray in Stornoway Grey, rear disc axle conversion, new gearbox, self-built transfer ’box, Koni Heavy Duty Track shocks, Old Man Emu springs, upgraded Gwyn Lewis props, LOF clutch, Terrafirma winch bumper, Hannibal roof rack, homemade drawer system, hot water system – frankly, I could go on forever.
What are the next jobs you will be doing on it?
I would like to build some 24-spline HD axles with LSD diffs and then I’ll look at fitting air con for when we go to hot places.
Luke is feeling the cold
What is the hardest part of this project?
Working outside on the driveway in cold and wet conditions.
When will it be finished?
It will never be finished, always evolving, but hopefully back on the road again in a month and then ready for another adventure.
Who is helping you with the project?
My whole family have helped – dad with the mechanicals and mum carpeting the drawer systems. A couple of friends from work, Matt and Fabio, have also chipped in.
Any other projects on the go?
Currently building a 1960 BSA Cafe racer.
Anything to add?
I would love LRM to do a full feature on the truck. Always been the dream! Pretty trickily kitted-out 90 for overland travel, all built on a driveway in London by a novice. Inspirational stuff, I like to think.
How can readers follow you?
I’m on Instagram – @urban_overland_uk.
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