What’s the story?
It’s like being on the set of Tomb Raider III. We’re deep in the steamy ‘jungle’ of central Worcestershire. Perhaps I’ve stumbled across the secret filming location for the Tomb Raider prequel – Lara looks a lot younger than I remember. She appears to be an inch or two shorter than I imagined, but who am I to be ‘heightist’, all five-foot-six-and-a bit of me.
The tuned 110 Tomb Raider, also known as Lara, declares its intentions through a three-inch, straight-through exhaust before bursting out of the undergrowth and leaping up a huge embankment. Drama student Anouska Jarritt (aka Nush), plays the part of the glamorous action hero perfectly. Nush has had plenty of practice, making lots of appearances with this and other Tomb Raider Defenders for several years – she’s absolutely besotted with them.
Nush’s passion for Tomb Raider Defenders and the whole showbiz scene is only matched by Ian Woolley’s own attachment to this particular vehicle, overland adventure and off-roading in general. Tearing the photographer away from a new career in glamour photography, I refocus the action on to this superbly refurbished vehicle, and turn our joint attention to finding out more about the 110 and Ian.
Our Favourite Bit
‘The brief was to make this Defender look like Lara Croft’s more adventurous sister, the one who goes out on the town in fishnets and suspenders,’ laughs Ian. ‘The roof rack lights have always been Hella so I chose Hella Black Magic. You can’t get them in Europe; these came from the States and they look very dark when not in use.’
‘I’ve replaced the original Mantec raised air intake with a Southdown stainless steel one because I think it’s a slightly cleaner line and I prefer the way it attaches and goes through the wing.’
‘The front wings were totally battered from crossing ice-strewn rivers,’ recalls Ian. ‘The whole front was stripped down, everything was re-powdercoated, the chequerplate was painted black, and the suspension was changed to Devon 4x4’s King Suspension system.’
And the verdict?
All in all, Lara has had a thorough going-over and now looks magnificent. But is she finished? ‘I think she is,’ says Ian. ‘During the rebuild, we fitted new wings and they look great. In the next phase, I think I’ll probably work back, replacing the old door skins. There’s a little bit of bubbling that’s only going to go one way.’ Er, not finished, then.
‘This one’s a keeper and I’m not going to sell her if I can help it. I’m sure, no
This feature appeared in the December 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.