Work in progress: 1993 Defender 90


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Harry's 90 near completion : credit: © Harry Tillet
Harry Tillet, an entrepreneur living in Spain, tells us about his project...


How did you find this project?

It was purchased in 2016 for only £1400 in at my first-ever auction. Dad came along for some much-needed moral support.

The 90 as found

What’s the story so far?

It came home from the auction in 2016 and sadly it then sat in a lock-up until 2020. After selling the lock-up I was forced to move it and began a new project. I decided to ship it to Spain where it would be converted to a left-hand drive V8 auto.


How is the engine running?

The original engine was a 200Tdi which worked perfectly but wasn’t the engine and performance I was after. I like the sound and smooth running of a V8, so replaced the 200Tdi with a 4.6-litre V8 which has been completely reconditioned by myself and the mechanics that I use in Spain.

Bodywork largely in place

What are your future plans for it?

My plan was to restore to a good standard and keep it for myself. However, I’m now eight months down the track and ten times over-budget. I also have four other Defenders to look after so I reckon this one will be going up for sale once the restoration is complete.


What have you done so far?

A full nut-and-bolt restoration, including a lovely and much-needed galvanised chassis. It also has the Ashcroft auto conversion kit. My plan is to make it an absolute pleasure to drive. As I’m now based in Spain we’ve had a few issues as all the parts are coming from the UK and we have had delays and an increase in costs thanks to good old Brexit.


What are the next jobs you will be doing on it?

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I need to get it registered to drive on Spanish roads, so have to replace the UK number-plates with Spanish ones – this process was relatively straightforward until the advent of Brexit.


What’s been the hardest part of this project?

Waiting. For parts and paperwork. This has been pretty frustrating, to put it mildly.

Interior upholstery is looking good

When will it be finished?

I am hoping it should be finished by the time that you read this and my first plan is to do a 1000km trip to the Balearic islands. That will tell us if we got it right or not.


Who is helping you with the project?

Chris and Roy from CS Mechanicals in Estepona, Spain – they’ve been great.


Tell us more about your other projects.

Since starting the LHD V8 I’ve also begun two others which will be just as special – a Defender 130 ambulance camper conversion and a 90 Td5 auto ragtop.


How can readers follow what you are doing?

Follow my instagram, @defender90.v8.