What’s the story?
It took us nearly two days to scrape all the tree sap off the bonnet,’ admits LRS Offroad’s Derrick Johnson, recalling his first dealings with his ex-EDF Energy Td5 Defender 110. ‘It took another two days to T-Cut the entire body before we could finally begin polishing it.’
It’s a working-class Land Rover that has done its fair share of graft since seeing the light of day in 2004. It had quite a collection of dings and dents, and the gearbox had cried ‘enough.’ It was unloved and unwanted, especially by the dealer who’d been trying unsuccessfully to sell it for months.
But Derrick saw the potential to transform this vehicle into the perfect overland travel vehicle. Having been running his own Land Rover business for more than seven years, he knew what could be done with the dog-eared 110.
Our Favourite Bit
The off-road ride and control of the 110 is extremely impressive. It almost feels like you’re riding on air suspension rather than coils: supple, but not bouncy.
Lifted set-ups can make it feel as though you’re riding on the back of an elephant as they sway and wiggle over humps and bumps, but not this 110. It might be different with a heavy roof tent up top, but somehow I doubt it.
Rolling a vehicle in the bush can have devastating consequences if you don’t have a strong roll cage. Derrick’s Defender has one of the strongest-looking cages I’ve seen for some time. Made by AT 4x4 to Derrick’s own specification, it’s anchored to the chassis and rear crossmember in eight places. It even wraps itself around the back end of the Defender. The close-fitting cage – made from 4mm CDS (cold-drawn steel) tubing – carries the sturdy Front Runner roof rack on custom mounting brackets.
And the verdict?
Derrick has completely re-invented this Land Rover Defender 110. With its striking two-tone graphics and colour scheme, it’s a real attention-grabber. More to the point, it’s far from being ‘all show but no go’.
Derrick has created an extremely capable and pleasant vehicle to drive, whether around the corner or around the world. The choice is yours.
This feature appeared in the September 2011 issue of LRO. Current and Back issues are available to download on digital devices here. Please note, we only hold stocks of the the last three back issues.