The customer’s requirements were to build a simple & rugged Land Rover for him to get around his ranch in Texas. We had already built three Land Rovers for him and had a good idea of what he liked. The final spec for the Land Rover was:
- 88” SIII / IIa hybrid.
- 2.5 liter diesel engine.
- Coil sprung galvanized chassis.
- Range Rover axles with disc brakes.
- Regeared differentials.
- Air conditioning.
- Rear work light.
- Swing away tire carrier & side opening tailgate.
- Bedliner interior.
The project donor was a SIIa 88” that had straight body panels & was very original.
The galvanized chassis is assembled with Range Rover axles. These were sand blasted & painted prior to being installed.
Once the chassis was rolling we installed the firewall, gearbox & diesel engine. The firewall was the original IIa firewall which puts the gauges in the middle of the dash. We replaced the floors, completely sand blasted it, painted it and then used bedliner on the interior of the floors & undercoat on the exterior of the floors. Lastly we inject waxoyl into all the cavities.
We also painted the rear x member. While the chassis is galvanized the rear x member still takes a huge beating from all the debris thrown at it. The shape & way it is made with multiple layers of steel are not particularly conducive to longevity, so we paint & undercoat x members to add another layer of protection.
Painting galvanize & getting the paint to stick is not easy but we have a process that has proven to work well.
Due to the different suspension mounts of the coil springs a regular fuel tank will not fit a galvanized chassis. So we modified one to fit.
One of the biggest corrosion problems with series & defender land rovers is where the steel & aluminum touch. A good example of this is the doors. We order our doors in two halves, skins & frames. Both get protected with a proper layer of paint, inside & out & then bonded together. After that they are seam sealed, painted & waxoyled. This process has proven to greatly extend the life of doors.
As the body was assembled we installed re-galvanized trim, rear tire carrier, work light etc.
The seat box was sprayed with bed liner & dual batteries put under the seat. Due to the timing belt cover on a 2.5 diesel the battery tray in the engine compartment has to be removed.
SIII front wings & radiator panel were used to provide room for the AC condenser. The front panel was modified to mount the condenser.
We mounted a genuine Land Rover AC pump & used genuine brackets & bottom pulley. That way the belt lined up perfectly. Too often after market AC systems use poor brackets & the belt runs at an angle, either coming off or wearing out quickly.
The evaporator & fan assembly was mounted in the upper rh footwell with a custom facia & vents. Being a small cab it kept it really cool. All the hoses were custom made. At the 4×4 Center we have all the tools for custom AC work.
Defender seats & a stereo made the cab more comfortable.
The finished rover not only looked great but performed great. Very classic looking with some modern comforts.