Thoughts and advice on the care and feeding of fine automobiles from Machine Aficiionado and bestselling author John Elder Robison, owner of JE Robison Service in Springfield, Massachusetts

We are independent restoration, repair, sales and service for Audi, BMW, Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Rolls-Royce automobiles.

Bentley archives

Land Rovers

D90defenderland roveroff road

Cleaning up an ex-NATO Defender

This week we are wrapping up some modifications to an ex-NATO Defender 90. If you’ve looked inside one of these Army truck you know they are pretty bare. We decided to fix this one up a bit.

If you’re looking for a truck for serious off-roading, the military Defenders have a number of advantages over their civilian counterparts. First of all, they are almost all diesel powered. Second, they have heavier frames and more rugged chassis components. Finally, they are more basic and there’s less to strip off or damage in rough country.

We’ve decided to make the particular truck a bit nicer to drive while still retaining its Army character. To start, we stripped out the basic Army seats and repaired some minor corrosion in the floor. After welding up the damage we treated everything with WaxOyl.

Army truck are all bare metal inside. We fitted the rubber seat box cover and floor mats from a civilian D90. Those rubber bits improve the appearance a lot, and they give a quieter ride too. We changed the rubber boots over the shift and brake levers at the same time.

Then came the big upgrade. We fitted a pair of leather/cloth Exmoor seats with lumbar supports and seat heaters. In between we installed a Tuffy box for lockable storage. The Tuffy box even has space for a cup holder in front – a useful feature the Army guys never thought of.

We wired the seat heaters to switches on the front of the box.

Next we added some tunes. We fitted the latest Alpine head unit, with an iPod control built in. For speakers we rigged a Jeep-style overhead console that also gave interior lights. Sweet.

The final touch was a pair of inner door panels from Rovers North. These panels include inside door pulls – a real treat.

Here at Robison Service we’re proud to be known for our custom work on Land Rover vehicles. Visit our main website here, or stop by to see us the next time you’re in Springfield, MA.


Anonymous said...

Awesome! My favorite feature is the overhead speakers and lights. Very slick.

Eric said...

Too cool. I've got friends in the UK who swear by the diesels, would love to have one. I like the Jeep touch as well, used to sell them in Northampton. Great job John, a wonderful urban assault vehicle for the wilds of Western Mass.

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