I bought my Defender in 2011, when my son-in-law Alex was working for a company that purchased insurance write-offs.
It had major crash damage, so the insurers had written it off as a Cat C. Alex has been around Land Rovers all his life and realised the main section of the chassis was unaffected, with just an outrigger requiring to be cut away and a new one welded back in place. The only other bits it needed were a new front axle and a replacement wing. We noticed the Defender was a bit special, as it was fitted with an additional fuel tank, air compressor in the engine bay, and air conditioning.
It also had a wheel carrier on the rear door that allowed removal by a winding mechanism to lift or drop the wheel without having to physically take the weight, plus a dual-battery system. Intriguingly there were six ‘game reserve’ stickers on the side window for areas in South Africa’s Natal district. It was obviously well-travelled, so we started an investigation… The Defender was a CKD unit, built in Solihull, crated and shipped to South Africa, then re-assembled and badged as ‘Built in South Africa’, where it spent its first nine years. We believe it was driven by a lady, hence some of the labour-saving devices installed. When she came back to the UK she brought the vehicle with her, but shortly after its homecoming it was hit in the side.
Auction day came and my daughter Sarah got it for £5050. Some clever eBay purchases for the wing and front axle, plus the new outrigger from a specialist dealer, came in at around £400, including the welding. The use of a winch to re-form the bumper, and some fine panel beating, finished off the necessary repairs.
Alex then bought a different 110, so I grabbed his old Superwinch X9, fitted a NATO hitch to pull our two Sankey trailers and our Scout group’s cooking trailer. The Superwinch came in handy at Paddington Station where I was asked to winch a historic railway carriage on to the platform. Our Land Rovers are always in demand!
Published in the November 2015 issue of Land Rover Owner. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884. Please note, we only hold stocks of the the last three back issues.
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