What’s the story?
Riding high on 35-inch tyres and a four-inch lift, Hughie Balfour Paul’s 6x6 Defender juggernaut ambles round the lakeside section of the Northamptonshire off-road course. LRO’s off-road maestro Ed Cobley is still setting out the direction arrows. As we trundle towards him, Ed holds up an arrow, playfully suggesting we take a shortcut through the deep end. Hughie grins and drives down the steep slope.
We plunge in. ‘You’ll get stuck,’ shouts Ed, genuinely concerned. Sure enough, the Defender enters that unique borderline state – part vehicle, part recovery candidate. We’re sinking into deep mud and further into deep water.
Our Favourite Bit
The secret to the Defender’s off-road abilities is its transmission system and its power – estimated to be about 230bhp. Hughie’s been driving and working with Land Rovers for 40 years; that’s plenty of time to work out exactly what he needed from his dream 6x6 machine. ‘I put KAM limited-slip diffs in all three axles with KAM lockers, in the front and rear axles for good measure.’ Usually, differentials are either ‘open’ like the standard factory units, LSD (limited-slip diff) or lockable. Uniquely, KAM provides the option of combining an LSD with a locking diff.
All this traction is fantastic off-road.
And the verdict?
Tuned Td5s often suffer from warped exhaust manifolds caused by the increase in temperatures. With all the demands made on Hughie’s engine, has he had any problems with his manifold?
‘No, not with this one. Machining the faces and having them ceramic-coated seems to work.’ This really is the unstoppable six machine.
This feature appeared in the November 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.