What's the Story?
C’mon, you southern Fairy!’ Joe Thompson calls out from a nearby bank, watching gleefully as I teeter closely on the brink of rolling two years of his, and his son’s, hard work on to its side – or even its roof.
Edging very slowly forward, my foot hard on the brake pedal, the trayback Ninety automatic starts to push the laws of physics: had I been in anything else, I have no doubt it would all be about to end in disaster and a fairly hefty repair bill. The offside rear wheel of Joe’s creation, which sits at the end of 38 inches of extreme suspension travel, is now hanging well over a foot in the air – and the trayback continues to lean.
Our Favourite Bit
Joe’s home-made turrets complement the set-up perfectly, increasing suspension travel on the rear axle to 38 inches – enough to tackle virtually any obstacle. The front axle has been left with its two-inch Pro-Comp lift, although further change is in the pipeline, along with hardened driveshafts and a centrally mounted winch.
I get the idea that the truck, although ready for action, is only half-finished in their minds: the list of planned modifications is constantly lengthening.
Unhappy with the approach angle on the front of the vehicle, the two Joes took out the radiator, mounted it on the rear along with electric cooling fans, and shortened the front of the chassis and the bonnet by three inches. The wing tops were made using a children’s play park swing and some 4mm sheet steel (NB: I was assured there were no children using the swing at the time).
And the Verdict from LRO?
Little did I know what was in store – but it was me being pushed to the limit, not the Land Rover. And I should point out that’s mud on my trousers – honest.
The power of the V8 really makes its presence felt as I boot the trayback up a short slope. Regardless of what I throw it at, never once can I stop this thing in its tracks. My bottle gives out, long before the truck would ever stop.
As an inspiration to would-be restorers/modifiers, this Land Rover is a great example of what can be achieved on a low budget. It’ll go just about anywhere and looks good – a real showcase for what you can do with a bit of old scrap and an E-reg Ninety. I’d recommend it to anyone.
This feature appeared in the May 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.