What's the story?
An ex-G4 Challenge Freelander seems the perfect vehicle to complement an adventurous outdoor lifestyle – and this one’s owner, Severin Almeras, loves to answer the call of the wild. But when he bought it he didn’t realise the significance of its be-stickered livery.
'The colour was what attracted me first,’ he admits, ‘followed by the smoothness of the engine when I test-drove it. I was hooked!’
The 32-year-old biology teacher from Montpellier, France, didn’t have a clue about the vehicle’s history – or the G4 Challenge itself, for that matter.
'I was actually looking for a basic, diesel-powered off-roader that would suit my needs. I’m into mountain biking, kayaking, trail running, abseiling, downhill skateboarding and wildlife watching, so when I discovered what the G4 Challenge was all about, I realised that this Freelander’s character related perfectly to my lifestyle.’
The truth is revealed
A visit to Montpellier 4x4 opened his eyes to the possibilities of modifying his Freelander into a serious wild camper. He had bought it in 2010 as a replacement for his old camper – a Volkswagen Westfalia which he’d used for European adventures – although he wasn’t aware of the option of adding a roof tent.
Severin has been bitten by the modifying bug and has booked in the Freelander for a slightly raised suspension set-up with Ironman +35mm springs and Monroe dampers. It will complement the 215/70R16 Yokohama Geolander A/T-S tyres (fitted on satin black Platin P53 alloys) that replaced the original road-biased tyres.
‘The single use of more aggressive tyres really changed the grip off-road,’ says Severin. ‘These are splendid for the mix of tarmac and loose gravel tracks I use them on. It is only recently that I have felt the need for more ground clearance, especially in the winter – travelling in my own in the snow-covered mountains.'
Model: 2005 Freelander 1
Engine: 2.5-litre V6 petrol
Torque: 177lb ft
Top speed: 113 mph
Wheels: 16in Platin P53 alloys
Tyres: 215/70 R16 Yokohama Geolanders