What’s the story?
Danny Darlow’s mates reckon he must be the luckiest 17-year-old in the world after his dad Paul paid for and helped him build his dream first car – a show-quality Land Rover Defender 90.
This project was on a tight budget, so Paul opted for an older Tdi 90 that would be less expensive to insure. Finding a good one was harder than he expected, but in the end Danny became the proud owner of a 1991 Defender 90 hard top, while his dad was £2650 poorer.
After getting the Defender home to Bedford, the duo immediately stripped it down to a bare chassis and were relieved to discover no nasty surprises – the running gear was in fair condition and the chassis only needed a steam-clean and a little bit of welding, followed by a coat of Waxoyl.
Our favourite bit?
An inspection of the 200Tdi engine proved it was as healthy as they hoped, needing only a service before being pressed into work. To improve the drivetrain, Paul raided his extensive hoard of parts and Danny’s Defender benefited from a newly refurbished gearbox and a Range Rover Classic high-ratio transfer case.
The parts stash also donated a set of Td5 Defender axles, trailing and radius arms, Td5 brakes and TDCi propshafts.
They mated a truck cab and Td5 doors to a Td5 bulkhead, and the existing body panels were soon joined by new NAS (North American-spec) rear quarters and plastic front wings that Paul had in stock, along with a TDCi bonnet from a stunt 110 in the James Bond movie Skyfall. He had to patch up the bonnet because control cables had been channelled to the engine bay through a large cut-out.
And the verdict from LRO writer Jérôme André …
As soon as I jumped inside, I loved the glass-smooth wooden steering wheel and the leather accents. To sum up, this finely tuned 200Tdi has won my heart…
• Model: Defender 90 hard top
• Year: 1991
• Engine: 200Tdi
• Power: 111bhp
• Torque: 195lb ft @ 1800rpm
• Transmission: standard gearbox, Range Rover Classic transfer box
• Axles: Td5 Defender 90
• Brakes: Td5 Defender
• Wheels: widened 200Tdi rims
• Tyres: 265/75 R16 Cooper Discoverer A/T3