What's the story?
This is going to be fun. I’ve wanted to drive the Lix Toll tracked Land Rover ever since I first clapped eyes on it about 20 years ago while on the road to Skye. Today’s the day. Well, not quite. This isn’t the original Series IIA Cuthbertson conversion, photographed by countless Land Rover fans, but a modern-day version based on a 2008 TDCi Defender wearing Versatracks units.
Despite being a fan of all things Series, it’s difficult to contain my excitement as Lix Toll salesman Mark Davies and I trundle off towards a local farm, where I’ll take the wheel for an exhaustive and thrilling off-road test.
Mark and Jevan Sangha (son of the garage’s owner, Rick) worked together to bring about this fantastic machine.
The 2008 Defender was a standard white hard top that was among the ranks of Land Rovers for sale on the Lix Toll forecourt – perfect for conversion.
The tracks need to be stripped down for cleaning and checking after every 250 hours’ use. ‘Everything is double- and triple-sealed, so the bearings – which are standard, off-the-shelf items – last very well. It’s mostly the axle box that needs greasing,’ explains Mark Davies. ‘They’re very robust units.’
Our favourite bit?
The field we’re in is more water-logged than a rockpool; long, straggling and tufty grass makes walking virtually impossible. A standard Defender would have sunk up to its axles even before it attempted to drive across this lot.
And the verdict from LRO writer Mark Saville?
‘The Versatracks Defender romps away effortlessly. Perfectly timed gearchanges are vital: leave it a fraction too long, and any forward momentum is lost instantly. It feels like there’s an invisible force trying to suck us into the bog. But get it right, and the fun begins.’
Model: Defender 110 hard top
Engine: 2.4 TDCi
Transmission: Five-speed manual, two-speed transfer box, 4WD
Track weight: 120kg each
Ground pressure: 2psi
Contact area: 950mm x 440mm per track