Happy ever after


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Fortunately for Steve, his 90 performed perfectly in its wedding role : credit: © Elizabeth Young Photography
Steve’s 90 proves up to the job of wedding chariot, much to his relief

Around 18 months ago, Jonny, an equine vet colleague of my wife Louise, fell in love. No, not with his wife-to-be, Vicky, but with our Td5 Defender. Jonny’s dream is to own a Defender one day. But in the meantime, with a new house and a wedding to plan for, that dream would need to wait. He did, however, ask Louise tentatively if he could borrow our Land Rover for his wedding day. We presumed back then that Vicky might have other ideas as, let’s be honest, a 90 might not be the most ideal of vehicles to climb aboard while wearing a rather nice dress. Moving on a year or so, and with their wedding plans coming to fruition, Jonny made sure we were still on-board with the idea as Vicky was more than cool with it, too. Of course, ‘yes’ was our answer. Jonny would need to take out appropriate insurance for both him and the father of the bride as the plan was Vicky arrives to the church in the Defender with her dad driving – and Jonny would then whisk his new wife away from the church after the ceremony to the venue a few miles further up the road.

What this deadline did for me was give a much-needed ‘target’ to fully prepare the Defender for this momentous occasion. I tend to work better when under a little bit of pressure…

The beautiful bride Vicky and her father, who drove her to the church

Aside from giving the 90 a decent wash and polish, there were some slightly larger jobs that needed attention. I may not have mentioned it before, but my 90 suffered from the awful noise that can occur with Td5s whereby the thrust bearing lets out a screeching noise – on ours, more prevalent first thing in the morning, but nonetheless, it was getting worse. And with approximately a hundred guests all looking on, I couldn’t suffer the embarrassment of them hearing that – it would soon have spoilt the ambience. The clutch and dual-mass flywheel replacement will be covered in the Tech pages of a future issue of the mag – and on p106 the next job on the agenda, the less than perfect braking system. Corroded brake pipes, calipers, discs and pads were all renewed, because when editor Martin last serviced it, he couldn’t change the brake fluid, which was long overdue, due to the fact the bleed nipples were so heavily corroded, and were well past their sell-by-date. The 90 now goes and stops perfectly. I’d already sound deadened the interior and had fitted Mud UK’s side panels – plus completely cleaned the internal matting. The 90 now looked a million dollars inside and out.

To my mind, we’d addressed and eliminated all likely causes of any potential issues. Can you imagine a breakdown on your wedding day?

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Roof tent gone, wedding garlands in its place

For the upcoming wedding photos, it was decided that the Frontrunner rooftop tent was to be removed – and, as the wedding was in September, it signified the end of my personal camping season. The tent is now safely stored away until the better weather kicks off again. But the roof rack would stay; the Frontrunner rack making the perfect place to tie on the wedding garlands.

As reported a couple of months ago in these very pages, I previously experienced a breakdown which Martin was able to fix with some new wiring between the ECU and throttle pedal assembly (potentiometer). This recent hiccup didn’t help with the anxiety, however. On the wedding day itself, I, along with my wife Louise, her work colleagues and all the other guests sat eagerly waiting for the bride to arrive; Jonny looking nervous up front, and me feeling equally nervous at the back. All manner of doubts were creeping in… What if it actually broke down en route to the church, was my only thought – it was an extremely hot September day. But I’d checked all the levels including the coolant and hoses beforehand, I told myself. As I sat nervously waiting, one of Louise’s colleagues said to me, “Oi, get off your phone, she’ll be here in a minute.” To which I replied, “actually, she’s still about five minutes away.” I was tracking them to the church on my DefenderDefender ProacTrac tracker. It was giving me regular live updates – not to mention huge peace of mind. I soon heard the familiar Td5 burble pull up outside the church, much to my relief. I think I was more relieved to see Vicky than Jonny was!

Soon after, the formalities concluded, Jonny and Vicky proceeded to drive in the 90 up into the Rutland countryside towards the venue where their guests awaited. Additional photos were taken, capturing the beauty of the sunset atop the hill. Despite the 90 looking spectacular, the bride and groom occasionally found themselves inadvertently blocking the view. She really did scrub up well that day – and the bride didn’t look too bad either…


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