You could empty a dictionary searching for the words to describe this incredible machine. The guy behind the wheel, Rik Purchase, is lost for words, too. It’s as though he can’t quite believe what his imagination has created. So why did he build it?
Easy – for fun. Rik has spent the past four years turning a Td5 Discovery 2 auto into a monster truck that will drive over or through almost anything. If you’ve ever wondered how far you can take a standard vehicle and keep it street-legal, here’s your answer. This beast trundled down from Shropshire to meet up with us on its vast 49-inch tyres. Apparently, it cruises nicely: ‘I came down the M40 at a steady 60mph, no problem,’ says Rik.
It’s the first Land Rover I’ve ever come across where you have to look up to get a view of the chassis. As for the engine bay, forget it. You’d need a hoist to get anywhere near it to check the oil.
This isn’t the first time Rik’s Disco has appeared in LRO. When we featured it in the June 2009 issue, the suspension was still recognisably Land Rover-style, with conventional trailing arms and coil springs, and a 100-inch wheelbase. Rik had squeezed on a pair of portal axles – to raise the vehicle another five inches off the ground – and lifted the body by five inches in order to fit the biggest tyres he could find (21x49x20 LT).
At £600 per tyre plus £500 for each of the enormous Matt Lee wheels, Rik was clearly serious about building the biggest – and best – Discovery 2 he could. You can’t buy wheelnuts big enough off-the-shelf, so Rik machined them up himself.
So, it was big, but still not big enough for Rik: ‘The set-up only had three or four inches of movement, which didn’t really suit the vehicle, so I contacted Milner Offroad to see what sort of shock absorbers I could buy. I choose Fox Shox with remote reservoirs, giving 16 inches of travel.’ Fox Shox are known as coil-overs, which are adjustable suspension struts with external coil springs.
The other limitations were the wheelbase and the standard trailing arms. Reaching for the sky meant that something far more radical was needed. Rik looked to America for inspiration.
This story can be found in the October 2011 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.