I’m thinking of converting my 2005 Defender 90 hard top to a trayback. Would this cause any problems with the DVLA? Would I be able to keep my existing registration number? Can I stick with my Defender 90 chassis (altering the rear as appropriate) or should I consider a custom 100-inch unit?
Lastly, can you recommend a good company for designing and making the tubework?
Geoff Cockrell, Warminster, Wilts
You should have no problems with the DVLA if you’re just changing the rear body. You may need to alter it to pick-up on the V5C but many V5Cs don’t have body type filled in, so there may be nothing to alter.
You need to decide what you want to do with the trayback. Do you just want a tray to carry bits and pieces around on, a full off-road racer with built in roll-frame, or something in between these options?
You’ll need to replace the hard top with a truck cab. Either replace the rear tub with a cab lower panel (as used in hi-caps) or cut your tub down to match one. This will leave you with an open chassis to build your body on.
There’s no advantage in lengthening your chassis – just extra cost. Standard parts and upgrade kits all fit a 90, so that’s not a problem.
If you can’t do the welding yourself, you’re better off buying a standard frame from a supplier such as North Off Road or Devon 4x4, who’ll use the correct size and strength of tube to pass all the Land Rover club safety rules.
Try to make a list of all the things you may fit at a later date and get the brackets welded in at this stage.
For more information on this subject, see ‘How to build a trayback’ (January 2010 issue, pages 170-175).