When my partner gave me the news, three years ago, that we were expecting our baby, Anthony, I knew I had less than nine months to swap my splendid Defender 90 pick-up for something with more seats. Of course, it was going to be a 110! So I ‘reproduced’ my old 90 in the form of a 110 double cab, based on a well-used Td5 110 – the main reason I chose it was that it matches my trailer.
Because it gave me the opportunity to build my perfect Defender twice, the second iteration came out really well.
First, power: to help pull the trailer, I opted for a Twisted tune and silicone hoses, along with an Allisport intercooler and K&N filter, all helping the Td5 produce 180bhp.
Exhaust gases are expelled via a 3in stainless pipe. I added a Discovery 2 transfer box, so the 110 now cruises smoothly on tarmac, and opted for twin snorkels to improve air intake – ideal for towing the trailer.
The axles have been refurbished and upgraded with a KAM locker at the front. Power is transmitted to them via a double-cardan propshaft at the front and a wide-angle propshaft at the rear. The rear axle is really impressive, with 12in of travel, so I installed extra-long braided brake lines.
The whole set-up rides on Mach 5 9x16in beadlock wheels, wrapped with 305/70R16 Cooper Discoverer STTs. The suspension features a complete MIB, radius and trailing arms kit, with Pro Comp 900 GS dampers and +2in Terrafirma springs. Hopefully I’ll never need my remote T-Max 9500 winch!
To bling it all up, I fitted a Puma bonnet, sprayed it in the same deep metallic burgundy as the body, then went on a Bolt On Bits shopping spree: LED lights all-round, including headlights, plus winch bumper and more...
Inside, I’ve fitted Recaro seats from a 1980s Ford Escort RS, covered with leather by Sam’s Trim in Birmingham, along with a full leather headliner, complementing the smart Raptor dash holding an Alpine DVD Sat Nav, CB and gauges.
I turned my ¾-ton, narrow-body Sankey trailer into a straight copy of the Defender’s back. I heavily modified the chassis to fit a used Td5 90 tub, and designed a custom-made soft tonneau cover. Underneath this is everything I need for camping, and then some: cooler, 25-litre water tank, sink and electric pump, split-charge battery, 5kg gas tank, two gas burners, tool chest, another CB and radio, more USB sockets – and, of course, tents and chairs for the family!
The mule logo goes on all of my builds: my teenage daughter Charlotte came up with the name Mule as a kid and somehow it’s stuck. I might need to print some more in future...
Originally featured in the December 2014 issue of Land Rover Owner International. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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