What's the story?
When Guillaume Mingot took up an apprenticeship at a Land Rover specialist in 1998 his boss – Franck Delhommeau, owner of Lyon-based SFD - entrusted him with working on a very special project, a Range Rover Classic that Franck wanted to convert to a 6x6 pick-up to serve as the works van and as a mobile advert for the SFD team’s expertise.
However, when Franck lost his life in a motorbike accident in 2003, the business was forced to close and Guillaume took one last look at the part-completed 6x6. But that was then…
Ten years later Guillame received an unexpected phone call from Franck’s mother. When her son’s vehicles were being put up for auction after his death, she kept three back and stored them in the family barn. One of them was the 6x6, which she hoped would one day be completed. Having tracked down Guillame at his restoration business, Drivers Garage, Mme Delhommeau asked if he would be interested in resuming the project? Er, that’ll be a yes, then.
He was delighted to find that the chassis was just as robust as it was when he’d finished refurbishing it back then. The custom-made rear wings were also present – he’d never have been able to find replacements for these. He was less than delighted to find that, apart from the cabin, front wings and bonnet, the rest of the parts were stowed away in cardboard boxes. There was no engine, no gearbox… and no wheels.
So he could finish what was still basically a pile of parts – with hundreds of components missing – Guillaume used a donor vehicle – his 1995 Range Rover Classic 4.2 V8 LSE. Its body and chassis were scrap, but the engine and transmission were still in fine shape. The LSE also gave up a plastic petrol tank, air suspension compressor and vented disc brakes.
The stunning project was finished in only two months. And it had a baptism of fire – Guillaume drove it straight to Morocco to play in the dunes that line the route from Merzouga to Zagora. It swiped aside all challenges with as much ease as a Defender 110.
Our favourite bit?
The Range Rover offers its original breakover angle, but its four-inch lift and large tyres result in interesting approach (45°) and departure (33°) angles. The firm suspension set-up really impressed during a cross-axle demo, with either of the two rearmost axles providing permanent momentum.
And the verdict from LRO writer Jerome Andre?
Guillaume admits that the big V8 is very thirsty, returning an average 13mpg. He toyed with fitting a Discovery 3’s 2.7-litre TDV6, which would slash his fuel bill in half, but this guy’s a proper petrolhead, so his actual solution is simply to pack more jerry cans. Nice one!
Engine: 1995 4.2-litre V8
Torque: 251lb ft
Gearbox: ZF4 HP22 auto
Transfer box: Borg Warner viscous coupler
Suspension: +4in Eibach springs and +4in Delphi dampers