Work in Progress: 1997 Defender 110

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Matthew enlisted his wife and neighbours to help : credit: © Matthew Davison
Matthew Davison, from Northumberland, talks us through his Defender project...

How long have you owned it? Four years.

What made you want to buy this particular Land Rover? I’ve always wanted a 110 County Station Wagon. I did prefer the V8 version, but having just passed my test the diesel was better for insurance.

Old chassis removed at the side of the road

What’s the story so far? The Land Rover has taken my wife and I around Scotland, where we did the amazing NC500. Additions like a roof tent will hopefully make it better when we go there again. I also changed the rotten chassis at the side of the road.

What has the biggest challenge been? Finding a garage locally that will work on a Land Rover, especially when it comes to things like welding.

Any other areas that needed a lot of attention? The bodywork and paint are going to be the next big job next year. The chassis replacement has taken up most of my energy and I need to enjoy having it on the road for a while before that, though.

Swap was done quickly with a little help

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How long has it taken? The bulk of the chassis swap only took four days with a massive amount of help from the wife and two of our neighbours. It has taken about another three weeks to finish everything else off, including fixing all of the issues that we found while doing the swap. There’s always stuff you don’t account for.

What jobs are next on the list? Sorting out the rear tub floor. The tub up-stand has been replaced, but the floor in the tub needs changing because of some corrosion in it.

What are your plans with it? I want to kit it out as a camper, but be able to run much more independently and off-grid than it currently is. The plan is to carry on working through all the bits it needs, but to upgrade parts as I go rather than replacing them to gear it towards camping and overlanding more. I also want to do fixes once, so they don’t trouble me again.

Any advice for anyone doing something similar? Make sure you have enough assistance, as the large sections I left mine in were extremely heavy even using an engine hoist to help move them around. Make notes of what parts are where in storage – I’ve lost loads of nuts and bolts as I didn’t label them properly! Try to research potential problems and the parts needed to cure them ahead of time, but more than anything, enjoy the process of knowing the job is done properly.

How can readers follow what you’re doing next? I post most of my Land Rover
build-up on Instagram: @lg4_outdoors.

 

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