'Honestly,’ said Alberto Peila, ‘it’s a Discovery 1.’ Not that you’d know it from the outside, nor from the inside either. The only giveaway this extreme challenge truck could be Land Rover-related is the original Discovery steering wheel and gearlever.
When it came to building a truck to contest the XTC Trophy Challenge in Italy, Alberto knew a Discovery would form the perfect canvas on which to create his masterpiece. After three previous builds on the chassis he finally settled on this, the fourth version of the challenge truck, claiming it to be almost perfect.
Stripping the vehicle down to the chassis, he binned the bodywork and any other superfluous additions in a major weight-saving operation, getting the challenge truck down to just 1420kg. In just one week, he’d designed and built a custom-made roll cage and fitted Sparco bucket seats to keep him in place.
To get the balance right, Alberto moved the original 300Tdi engine back by a foot and installed the radiator, taken from a Ford Transit, in the rear. The mismatch of parts doesn’t end with the radiator, though. A pump from a 50cc three-wheeled Piaggio pick-up supplies the power steering and the oil cooler is from a Mitsubishi Pajero.
As a mechanic, Alberto was adept at manufacturing parts and used his experience to fabricate his own suspension dislocation cones and a 35-litre stainless steel fuel tank, all on the drive of his house in Turin, Italy.
Huge 39.5-inch Interco Super Swamper tyres give 90º approach and departure angles, but sometimes even they aren’t enough to enable the truck to claw its way along sections. In these situations, Alberto and Gabriele Pezzenda, his co-driver, call upon the front-mounted Warn 8274 winch or rear-mounted T-Max EW9500, which can also be rigged to pull through the top roll hoop.
Alberto has panelled the gaps within the skeletal frame of the vehicle with thick plastic sheeting. As well as hiding the mechanicals, this helps keep the weight down, which enables the truck to scramble up sheer cliffs and be more agile in challenges by endowing it with such an impressive power-to-weight ratio.
It’s taken four attempts to get his perfect vehicle, evolving it each time. But, finally, Alberto has a challenge truck to be proud of.
Originally featured in the February 2013 issue of Land Rover Owner International. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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