I got my Defender 130 just over a year ago, after selling my 1984 ex-MoD One Ten. I sold it when I went back to university but needed another Defender, one that could transport my motocross bike and more than just two friends.
Clearly, there was but one solution: a 130. After a bit of searching, one appeared five miles from my university in Loughborough, where I’m studying for a Masters in Automotive Engineering.
The vehicle was mostly perfect, other than the pointless addition of a second, unconnected snorkel. It’s a 1998 Defender 130 with one of the last 300Tdi engines produced, and was bought with 160,000 loud, slow miles on the clock. I didn’t think it was ‘mostly perfect’ for long and soon began personalising it, much to my insurer’s agony.
The biggest upgrade is its audio system. I needed something to beat the sound of exploding diesel and helical gears being forced to rub up against each other; and my choice was a seven-speaker, 1500-watt system that I fabricated myself. The 130’s interior is quite the opposite of a Tardis, and it was a real struggle to fit it all. It cranks out about 128dB now, which makes it vibrate even more than before!
Having decided that fighting fire with fire maybe wasn’t the best angle of attack, I spent a small fortune on foam, mass-loaded vinyl and vibration dampener, which added 50kg. Safe to say it’s still not quiet… It was made even louder when I added 265/75 R16 mud-terrain tyres and black zero-offset modular wheels, which needed wheelarch spats on the rear for legality.
I’ve added a few styling bits such as daytime running lights behind the KBX grille. I’ve also tinted the windows myself and my mother and I made a load bed cover from an old patio table cover (an oval one, I might add!). She also made me an amazing cake.
My most recent additions have been – with my father’s help – a two-inch Terrafirma Pro Sport suspension upgrade and a rather lovely polished 14-inch Moto-Lita steering wheel and boss.
In the future, I’d like to fit a full-width intercooler to give some more power; but I think next on my to-do list is a full-height rear canvas to add some practicality and style.
Published in the Spring 2015 issue of Land Rover Owner. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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