What's the story?
'Last year, John Norton from UK Winch Ropes asked me to crew his vehicle in the King of the Valleys. It was life-changing,' explains Drew. 'It was like being in a multiple-car crash that lasted all weekend. It's such a mental, cool, extreme, unlimited event, I had to build a buggy myself, and this is it. It's an Off-Road Armoury Eurofighter,' he beams.
Drew's been involved in all forms of off-road competition for many years. His uncompromising approach to 'improving' his trusty old Series IIA's portal axles, for example, often saw him barred from more conventional events. The wildness of Ultra4's King of the Valleys suits Drew perfectly.
'We had an 80,000-mile Discovery 1 rolling chassis that I was going to put under the Series IIA, but after last year's KOTV, I saw a Facebook post from Rob Butler from Off-Road Armoury. He was offering a Eurofighter chassis/frame for £3000. It was a no-brainer.
'We already had an engine, gearbox and transfer box, so we weren't going to spend £7k on a new, crated engine. We delivered everything to Rob and I collected it as a rolling chassis/frame - unfinished, bare metal. Basically, a kit car with no instructions.
'We decided not to use the Discovery 1 axles and went to D2 axles. They have a stronger hub design and you can get bigger, stronger CV joints in the front axle. Rob built strengthening trusses around them to handle the suspension. There is full hydraulic steering, four-link suspension, seats, floor, dash, also supplied by Rob. The original £3k did creep up a bit... to £13k.'
Our favourite bit?
The suspension units are Off-Road Innovation units from SJD Off-Road. Effectively, they're two air shocks in one unit; one pointing upwards and one down. They're progressive. You've got the equivalent of a coil-over, a bypass, a compression bump, an extension bump, and a sway bar all in one - there's a valve inside that senses how hard you're going into a corner and sets the suspension so it doesn't lean too much. The Eurofighter has four suspension arms per axle, for ultimate flexibility over ridiculous terrain. These are made from the same stuff they use on aircraft landing gear - they don't bend.
And the verdict from LRO writer Mark Saville?
It looks like a malevolent rollerskate on tyres designed by Lego but Drew is really pleased with it. 'It was really great at King of the Vallleys' he says. 'There's a bit less paint on it now and a few dents on the panels, but it performed perfectly.'
Engine: Disco 1 300Tdi
Transmission: Disco 1 auto with 1:6 ratio transfer box Reinforced Disco 2 axles
Diffs: Ashcroft 4.1 air lockers
Where can I read more?
The full story was in the November 2014 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.