The Hour of Power!

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Strapped down and ready to rumble... : credit: © Roy Duffy
Land Rover tuners and builders from all over the country battle it out on a calibrated dyno to see who’ll take home the title of the UK’s most powerful Land Rover. LRM sits in judgement

Land Rover owners and enthusiasts have been striving to squeeze more power out of their vehicles for decades. In the early days, extra grunt was needed for towing heavy loads and heaving more farm or construction equipment from job to job – and these are still completely relevant reasons to want more power and torque from the engine.

Nowadays, extracting hundreds more horsepower out of a Land Rover’s conservatively-tuned original engine, or pulling that out and fitting one from a different model or manufacturer, has almost become a hobby in itself. Shutting down more exotic machinery at the traffic lights or scaring unwitting passengers with a blast of acceleration that belies a Land Rover’s looks is addictive, and when LRM got an invite to the second UCCUK (Ultimate Call-out Challenge UK) at motorsport specialist Shropshire Automotive Services, we had to see what all the fuss was about.

The man behind this great event is Tom Davies, owner of a stunning Cummins-powered 110 that appeared on the cover of Land Rover Monthly back in September 2021. While he’s not running C510 GVU on the dyno today, he’s dying to see what the vast array of Land Rovers are going to make on the rollers, and so are we! Let’s get into it.

 

What is a dyno?

A dynamometer, or dyno, is a device used to calculate the power and torque developed by an engine. There are a few different types – an engine dyno tests the power directly at the engine’s crankshaft when the engine is removed from the vehicle and bolted into a special rig. A hub dyno works by removing the vehicle’s wheels and bolting measurement devices directly to the ends of the axles or hubs. The third, and most common type, is the one you see here – the rolling road. The vehicle is driven onto the dyno and the wheels sit in between pairs of rollers, which simulate driving on a road.

By inputting engine RPM and applying a load to the drive wheels through the rollers as the engine is run through its rev range, the dyno can accurately measure torque, and then calculate the engine’s brake horsepower from the result.

 

200Tdi 2.8 four-cylinder turbodiesel

Owner: Joe Aldrich 
Model/Year:
1990 Defender 90
Mods: Bored and stroked to 2.8 litres, Turbo Technics variable vane turbo, tuned fuel pump
Predicted power: N/A
Actual power: 144bhp, 274lb-ft
Joe says: About what I was expecting. I’m happy with that

 

Cummins 6BT 5.9 straight-six turbodiesel

Owner: Joe Aldrich 
Model/Year:
1984 One Ten 6x4
Mods: Fuel pin, Holset turbo, aluminium intercooler
Predicted power: N/A
Actual power: 207bhp, 407lb-ft
Joe says: I’m going to put a smaller turbo on, change injector tips and rebuild another fuel pump. It was definitely misfiring on that run

 

200Tdi 2.5 four-cylinder turbodiesel

Owner: Adam Page
Model/Year: 1987 Ninety County
Mods: Electric fan
Predicted power: 85bhp
Actual power: 124bhp, 318lb-ft
Adam says: Pleasantly surprised. Pretty good for 370,000 miles!

 

Td5 2.5 five-cylinder  turbodiesel

Owner: Will Silver, Alive Tuning
Model/Year: 2006 Defender 90
Mods: GTB650 VNT turbo, gas-flowed cylinder head, head studs and nuts, custom manifold, remap, uprated intercooler, bespoke injector nozzles, stainless exhaust
Predicted power: 300bhp
Actual power: 320bhp, 543lb-ft
Will says: Chuffed with that result

 

Cummins 6BT 5.9 straight-six turbodiesel

Owner: Josh Langdon-Gulley
Model/Year: 2001 Discovery 2
Mods: Uprated injectors, tuned fuel pump, Holset turbo, intercooler
Predicted power: 300bhp
Actual power: 281bhp, 630lb-ft
Josh says: Not bad for something tuned with a screwdriver in Devon. It did better last year though

 

BMW M57 3.0 straight-six turbodiesel

Owner: Matt Chinnick 
Model/Year:
1995 Discovery 1
Mods: Stage 2 Venom turbo, new injectors, uprated R90 fuel pump, big intercooler
Predicted power: 350bhp
Actual power: 408bhp, 562lb-ft
Matt says: I need to sort the turbo out. Then I want to convert it to eight-speed automatic

 

TDCi Puma 2.2 four-cylinder turbodiesel

Owner: Ian Baughan, IRB Developments 
Model/Year:
1970 Series IIA
Mods: Uprated intercooler, Demand Engineering stainless exhaust, remap
Predicted power: 145bhp
Actual power: 165bhp, 357lb-ft
Ian says: It’s alright. It’s far quicker than those numbers suggest as it’s so light

 

1.6 four-cylinder petrol

Owner: Adam Page
Model/Year: 1949 Series I 
Mods: None
Predicted power: 30bhp
Actual power: 39bhp, 75lb-ft
Adam says: They were only about 50bhp when new, so that’s not bad at 74-years old. Operator said it’s the lowest powered thing they’ve ever had on their dyno!

 

TDV8 4.4 V8 turbodiesel

Owner: Josh Langdon-Gulley
Model/Year: 2010 Range Rover Vogue
Mods: Unknown
Predicted power: 300bhp
Actual power: 330bhp, 520lb-ft
Josh says: There’s a big dip in the middle of the torque curve and the ECU is backing off the boost for some reason. Need to investigate that

 

TDCi Puma 2.2 four-cylinder turbodiesel

Owner: Matt Wall
Model/Year: 2014 Defender 110 Utility
Mods: IRB Developments remap and induction kit, sports exhaust, Twisted intercooler
Predicted power: 170bhp
Actual power: 166bhp, 340lb-ft
Matt says: Reasonably happy with that. Was hoping for a bit more though

 

BMW M57 3.0 straight-six turbodiesel

Owner: Josh Morris
Model/Year: 990 Defender 90
Mods: Hybrid turbo, alloy intercooler, uprated valve springs, bigger injectors, remap
Predicted power: 400bhp
Actual power: 361bhp, 592lb-ft
Josh says: About 40bhp off what I was expecting, but still respectable. At least the clutch isn’t slipping and I can drive it home

 

Mercedes OM606 3.0 straight-six turbodiesel

Owner: Harry Millward 
Model/Year: 2012 Defender 90
Mods: Garrett GTX turbo, Alive intercooler, tubular exhaust manifold, DPUK fuel pump with 8.5mm elements
Predicted power:
400bhp
Actual power: 453bhp, 516lb-ft
Harry says: Really happy with that. Been having issues all day with the turbo sealing but it’s sorted now

 

Mercedes OM613 3.2 straight-six turbodiesel

Owner: Reece Laurie
Model/Year: 1988 Ninety hard top
Mods: Holset turbo, big intercooler, oversize injectors, remap, rear-mounted radiator
Predicted power: 280bhp
Actual power: 458bhp, 582lb-ft
Reece says: Yeah, that’ll do!

 

200Tdi conversion 2.5 four-cylinder turbodiesel

Owner: Ben Marston
Model/Year: 1969 Series IIA Lightweight
Mods: Defender top mount hybrid turbo, 300Tdi fuel pump, modified injectors, big intercooler, 2.5-inch exhaust, ported and polished cylinder head and manifolds
Predicted power: 160bhp
Actual power: 198bhp, 280lb-ft
BEN SAYS: Happy with that, it’s savage on the road. The clutch is slipping now…

 

Td5 2.5 five-cylinder turbodiesel

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Owner: James Brothwood
Model/Year: 2005 Defender 90
Mods: Uprated intercooler, variable geometry turbo, remap
Predicted power: 170bhp
Actual power: 242bhp, 470lb-ft
James says: Wow, much more than I was expecting. Not complaining

 

3.5-litre Rover V8

Owner: Ben Marston
Model/Year: 1975 101 Forward Control
Mods: Stainless steel exhaust, rebuilt carburettors
Predicted power: 73bhp
Actual power:
152bhp, 219lb-ft
Ben says:
I’m really shocked! I want to put a better camshaft in it next

 

BMW M57 twin-turbo 3.0 straight-six turbodiesel   WINNER:  MOST TORQUE

Owner: Jack Westman
Model/Year: 1980 Series III Lightweight hybrid
Mods: Big intercooler, uprated R90 fuel pump and sensors, electric fans, remap
Predicted power: 400bhp
Actual power: 442bhp, 646lb-ft
Jack says: Really happy with that result, and not smoky

 

Mercedes OM605 2.5L 5-cylinder turbodiesel   WINNER:  MOST POWER

Owner: Luke Dale
Model/Year: 1957 Series I
Mods: Fully forged, DPUK pump with 8.5mm elements, billet manifolds, BorgWarner turbo (3.8-bar boost), chargecooler, 3in exhaust
Predicted power: N/A
Actual power: 593bhp, 530lb-ft
Luke says: It’s only 2WD at the moment so it was slipping on the rollers on the first runs. I’m pleased enough with it though

 

300Tdi conversion 2.5 four-cylinder turbodiesel

Owner: Orrin Jewell
Model/Year: 1955 Series I 107
Mods: Upgraded fuel pin, standard turbo at 1.1-bar of boost, big intercooler
Predicted power: 120bhp
Actual power: 153bhp, 359lb-ft
Orrin says: Really happy. Was expecting 120ish horsepower max

 

TDV6 2.7 V6 turbodiesel

Owner: Joss Howarth
Model/Year: 2007 Discovery 3
Mods: Remap, EGR delete
Predicted power: 190bhp
Actual power: 213bhp, 385lb-ft
Joss says: Not bad considering it’s done 240,000 miles

 

Lexus 1UZ 4.0 V8 petrol

Owner: Freddie Holland
Model/Year: 1996 Defender 90
Mods: Standard aside from high-flow cone air filter
Predicted power: N/A
Actual power: 287bhp, 295lb-ft
Freddie says: I’ve given it hell for the past two years and it hasn’t missed a beat. I’m made up with it

 

The results

Winner: Most Power

Winner: Most Torque

With a great spread of figures throughout the day from a fantastic variety of Land Rovers and engines, two victors emerged. Taking the trophy for highest horsepower was Luke Dale with his Mercedes-powered 1957 Series I, peaking at a monumental 593bhp. We featured Luke’s Land Rover in the April 2023 issue of Land Rover Monthly, and to think it’s been made even more bonkers since then is truly unbelievable – but the figures don’t lie!

Winner of the torquiest Land Rover of the day was Jack Westman with his 1980 Lightweight hybrid. With coil sprung axles, pumped wheelarches and an incredibly neat finish to the conversion, Jack proved his Land Rover doesn’t just look the part; the twin-turbo BMW straight-six diesel developed a monster 646lb-ft helping of torque. Having witnessed the Lightweight squirm and scrabble for grip going up the road, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Happy owners Luke, left, and Jack accept their trophies from organiser Tom Davies

Massive thanks go to Tom Davies for the invite, Shropshire Automotive Services for being accommodating hosts and to all the owners who brought their Land Rovers out to play.

 

How they measured up

Luke Dale’s savage Series I snagged the crown for biggest bhp

Monstrous torque curve of Jack Westman’s twin-turbo M57

Final rankings based on Power output: 

1. 1957 Series One, Mercedes 2.5, 593bhp, 530lb ft

2. 1988 Ninety, Mercedes 3.2, 458bhp 582lb ft

3. 2012 Defender 90, Mercedes 3.0, 453bhp, 516lb ft

4. 1980 Series III Lightweight, BMW M57 3.0, 442bhp, 646lb ft

5. 1995 Discovery 1, BMW 3.0, 408bhp, 562lb ft

6. 1990 Defender 90, BMW M57 3.0, 361bhp, 592lb ft

7. 2010 Range Rover, TDV8 4.4, 330bhp, 520lb ft

8. 2006 Defender 90, Td5 2.5, 320bhp, 543lb ft

9. 1996 Defender 90 Lexus, V8 4.0, 287bhp, 295lb ft

10. 2001 Discovery 2, Cummins 5.9, 281bhp 630lb ft

11. 2005 Defender 90, Td5 2.5, 242bhp, 470lb ft

12. 2007 Discovery 3, TDV6  2.7, 213bhp, 385lb ft

13. 1984 One Ten 6x4, Cummins 5.9, 207bhp, 407lb ft

14. 1969 Series IIA Lightweight, 200Tdi 2.5, 198bhp, 280lb ft

15. 1970 Series IIA, TDCi ‘Puma’ 2.2, 165bhp, 357lb ft

16. 2014 Defender 110, TDCi ‘Puma’ 2.2, 166bhp, 340lb ft

17. 1955 Series One 107”, 300Tdi 2.5, 153bhp, 359lb ft

18. 1975 101 Forward Control Rover, V8 3.5, 152bhp, 219lb ft

19. 1990 Defender 90, 200Tdi 2.8, 144bhp, 274lb ft

20. 1987 Ninety County, 200Tdi 2.5, 124bhp, 318lb ft

21. 1949 Series One, Standard 1.6, 39bhp, 75lb ft

 

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