22 July 2023
Bill Main, a Customer Experience Director from Scotland, tells us about his project...
Is this your first Land Rover? No, this is my fifth – I previously had an ex-BT Series III, two Discovery 2 Td5s and a Range Rover L322, which is the most enjoyable daily driver car I have ever had.
Bill's original purchase
Not the project we all hope for, but Bill was happy enough
What drew you to this Defender? I bought this vehicle as a project, and as you can see from the pictures of the stripped chassis, it certainly ticked that box. I wanted to create something in the garage that I could actually build with my hands. My day job as a Customer Experience Director is very full-on, and this Land Rover was a way to relax and achieve another challenge. There was no deadline to complete it by, as this is the first time I had attempted something like this. But now I’ve started, I need to finish it.
What’s the end goal when it’s finished? My plans are to hopefully use it to take part in the Scottish Land Rover Owners Club RTV events, with a view to doing more trials in another purpose-built Land Rover. The club appears to have a packed calendar of events and quite a following.
Are you keeping it standard? I am rebuilding it to standard specification, but with a couple of exceptions, mainly Wolf-style wheels shod in 235/85 R16 Davanti Terratoura tyres which I won in an LRM competition! I am going to go with Wipac LED lights and possibly LTPTRTZ headlights, and the Ore spare wheel carrier looks good. Then maybe raised seat rails to improve legroom. Otherwise it will remain more or less standard for the moment.
And what about the engine and gearbox? They are both untouched, except for new output flanges, propshafts and general service items. I hope they are okay – I’ll find out once I get it started.
Tub gets a new floor
So, how are you getting on? It has a new Marsland chassis, the axles have been fully rebuilt, the tub has been repaired with a new floor, floor supports, rear panels, cappings and bulkhead repair panels (most of YRM’s replacement panels and brackets!) and Gwyn Lewis mud shields front and rear. The suspension has all been replaced, as has the old chassis wiring loom with a new one from Autosparks. I’ve also got a Wright Off-road acoustic mat in the cabin to reduce noise.
Learned any new skills? Yes, spray painting. I was looking at asking my local garage to paint the panels until a friend suggested I should give it a go myself. A bit of research with advice from the right people and support on paint and equipment, and I was off! Although I wanted to smarten it up, I was not trying to create a showroom finish, so I have left dents and gouges in the car, as they are part of its history. I did a reasonable job that I’m happy with and just love the Arles Blue colour. The next job is to paint the roof, but I’m waiting for the perfect conditions before I tackle that.
Have you run into challenges? The biggest issue when doing the rebuild has been having space to strip the Defender down, store parts and then rebuild the car, especially when it came to doing the painting. I take my hat off to those who can do this on the driveway.
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