What’s the story?
It’s big, it’s white and it’s loaded to the gunnels with a Boy’s Own collection of interesting and exquisitely dangerous-looking tree surgery equipment.
This isn’t the first incarnation of this particular Defender. It started out as the property of the Environment Agency, fitted with a crew cab body and a HIAB-type forestry crane in the rear. And how did this Defender become the basis for, let’s call it, the MKI logger? Well, the crane came off and in its palce was fitted an alloy drop-side body - mainly used to hold wood chippings - and on the top went a sturdy roof rack. It proved its worth in this guise for four years, dragging an enormous trailer at all times.
The catalyst for this conversion to its current MkII form came when the driver became heartily fed up sharing the cab space with stinky chainsaws…
Our favourite bit?
To make the rear compartment into a completely secure and separate unit, it needed to be closed at both ends. And here’s the clever bit - the cab back was turned around so it fitted backwards, mirroring the rear of the double cab, which gave them a base and sides but no roof that fitted.
Actually, that’s not quite true - they had some of a roof that fitted, but only after they had sawn the one they bought in half and slung the front bit away.
And the verdict from Jerry Thurston?
The result is stunning - not because it’s all shiny and blinged-up, because it’s not. It’s stunning because it’s such a great combination of ingenuity and rugged practicality.
The full story can be found in the December 2015 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.