DEFENDER NAS SERIES GUIDE
NEW DISCOVERY DRIVEN
DISCOVERY TREK SALVATION
BAJA SURF WEEKEND
RECOVERY BY UTILITY JACK
FIFTY YEARS OF ROVER V8
CONTENTS SUMMER 2017 Series 1 / Issue 3
28 FIRST DRIVE
2017 DISCOVERY Desert shakedown of the fifth-generation Discovery 35 EVOLUTION
FIFTY YEARS OF THE ROVER V8 How an American engine became a British icon 40 PERSONA
WILL HEDRICK The man who stood up to the government to save Defenders
ESCAPE TO BAJA A weekend of surfing and camping on Mexico’s peninsula 54 CLASSIC
1958 SERIES II ROVIN’ ROVER An intrepid explorer and the places it has been 62 BUILT
1996 TREK DISCOVERY #4 A veteran competition truck gets a second chance 69 SERIES GUIDE
DEFENDER 110 & 90 NAS 1993-1997
A guide to the North American Spec Defender
GOODS + GEAR
Allow us to get philosophical
Products for a life of adventure
Breaking down complex matters
Land Rover world news
Land Rover fans around the planet
A look at what’s in our garages
North American club reports
Build your mastery on the trail
History told through vintage ads
North Americaâ€™s Independent Land Rover Magazine
SUMMER 2017 Series 1 / Issue 3
Publisher Bryan Joslin
Creative Director Daniel Marcello
Editor in Chief Stephen Hoare
Art Director Christopher Holewski
Copy Editor Greg N. Brown
Contributors Nicholas Bratton Chris Brinlee, Jr.
Contact Alloy+Grit Magazine PO Box 5043 New Britain, PA 18901 www.alloyandgrit.com email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographers Andrew Ling Jonathan Heisler Nicholas Bratton Tom Blizzard Greg Balkin Herb Zipkin
Cover Photo Daniel Marcello
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CENTER STEER Bryan Joslin
WHO DOESN’T LOVE A DEFENDER? One truth I’ve discovered on this journey is that Land Rover means diﬀerent things to diﬀerent folks. Another maxim is that the universal icon for the brand isn’t the green oval badge but instead is the Defender. The last true descendant of the Wilks Brothers’ original concept, it’s a direct connection to the company’s early days—for better or worse. If you’ve ever spent time in a Defender, you know it’s a deeply imperfect vehicle by modern standards. Cramped, loud and slow, it oﬀers, despite its name, little defense against the elements—seriously, drive one in the winter and you’ll discover the extremes of its own microclimates. However, think of the Defender as a really nice tractor rather than a “sport” utility vehicle from a premium carmaker, and it begins to make sense. What it lacks in polish it makes up for in capability, on road or oﬀ—okay, mostly where there’s no road, which is why it’s recognizable in even the remotest parts of the planet, and why most of the world regards the Defender in the same way Americans might view a Ford F150, as a working dog, a hardscrabble tool for life’s tough chores. Americans, however, have a more complicated relationship with the Defender. Even though it may be loved and respected across the globe, we here place it on a pedestal, elevating it to a superstar status generally absent outside of the USA. In fact, we’ll commit acts of dubious legality, even spend unholy sums, for the privilege of owning one. But, why?
Scarcity undoubtedly plays a factor in our worship of the Defender. Over the course of half a decade, Land Rover managed to move just 7,000 Defenders in North America, and most days they didn’t exactly fly out the door. But shortage of numbers alone doesn’t explain our peculiar Defender fetish. After all, now that they’ve become legal to own as personal imports, there are more Defenders coming into the States these days than when they were new. (Technically speaking, most are actually Land Rover 90s and 110s, since the Defender name wasn’t applied until 1991). “Charm” is perhaps the best one-word explanation for our fascination. The Defender speaks to us on a basic human level. It’s simple, honest and approachable. It’s a truly classless vehicle in that it remains both desirable and reasonably attainable by all classes and social strata. The Defender is equally at home hauling relief to disaster-ridden Third World communities as it is delivering the grandkids to the Carousel for ice cream on the Vineyard. For most American enthusiasts, it is a lifestyle decision rather than an occupational necessity, making it something of an inverse status symbol, at once telegraphing a mixed message of encoded privilege and attempted humility. Few vehicles can pull that oﬀ so honestly. Our appreciation for the Defender only seems to grow stronger as time marches on. It’s been seven years since Land Rover first confirmed that the original Defender would eventually come to an end (as it did in January
“...most of the world regards the Defender in the same way Americans might view a Ford F150, as a working dog, a hardscrabble tool for life’s tough chores.” 2016) and that an entirely new generation of modern Defender would emerge (as is expected next year). We don’t yet know what the future holds for the Defender, but we suspect the past will always be kind to it. Throughout this issue, we shine light on the Defender mystique. Our Series Guide looks at the unusual run of North American-spec (NAS) D110 and D90 models. For those interested in importing a Defender, we sit down with Will Hedrick, one of the notable figures in the Land Rover scene—and hero to one group of owners who nearly lost their personally imported Defenders to the hands of the government. Plus, celebrate with us the 50th anniversary of the ubiquitous Rover V-8. Enjoy Alloy+Grit number three!
THE BRIT Steve Hoare
A DISTANT RELATIVE IS STILL FAMILY Seventy years ago this summer, the Wilks brothers were scratching in the sand at Red Wharf Beach in Wales, working out the details on what would eventually become the original Land Rover. Its development cycle was necessarily short, both to meet a market need for a “go anywhere” utility vehicle as well as to raise urgently needed post-war export revenue. The first crude production models went down the line in Solihull less than a year later. A star was born. Before this summer is out, Land Rover will have released its latest creation, the Range Rover Velar. It’s certainly a handsome vehicle, even in pictures, something that can’t always be said of new models these days. And while the company will tell you it’s still building the most capable “go anywhere” vehicles on the planet, the Velar seems a far sight removed from anything the Wilks ever would have conceived. To be fair, like any other thriving automotive concern, Land Rover is producing vehicles driven more by today’s market demands than by historical references. Further homogeneity is result of the multitude of government regulations from around the world. Packed with technology on par with its good looks, the Velar ticks oﬀ a lot of boxes for a lot of potential buyers. Honestly, how many SUV shoppers today would be content with a vehicle
where a heater or a passenger-side windshield wiper were considered optional extras, even if it could drive itself to the top of Mt. Everest in low-first at idle? Not me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my Series One, but I much prefer the luxurious cocoon of a fullsized Range Rover on most days, comforted by the fact my nether regions will be electrically warmed and the windshield will clear itself of the morning frost— no impromptu credit-card scraper required. Nevertheless, I can’t help but look back fondly on those early times, when instead of touting the vehicle’s ability to reach highway speed in barely a handful of seconds, the emphasis was on where the vehicle could take you. Eventually. I recall as well the “happy” days of motoring when I had to kick the bulkhead to coax the electric fuel pump into action. Or when the rear canvas would flap open and suck in road spray, giving me a cold neck and dampening the inside of the windscreen, after which the round Smith’s heater would scream into action and deliver the occasional suggestion of warmth. There was an upside, though. With no GPS and only a 10-gallon fuel tank, I’d often stop to refuel and drop into a local pub for directions, where a warm-up by the fire, a pint of beer, and ham and eggs and chips made Series One
“Land Rover is producing vehicles driven more by today’s market demands than historical references.” ownership much more palatable! I do miss those days, but I also relish and enjoy driving my Defender 110 with its mind-boggling array of built-in luxuries: air conditioning, heated seats, electric windows, and even a radio that I can occasionally hear over the roar of wind and the hum of tires and gears. Even all those amenities, though, can’t hide the fact the Defender feels a bit of a relic compared to the current Land Rover lineup. I often hear that Land Rover’s current oﬀerings have gotten too posh or gone too soft. Okay, some of them, sure. Certainly the Range Rovers, which have always been the refined expression of the brand. It seems to be working, though, as the company is selling more vehicles now than at any other time in its history. Whether or not it’s obvious, Land Rover is still building its vehicles for the adventurous soul.
2018 Range Rover Velar on sale in August and we have no doubt it soon will fill the driveways and porte cochéres of America’s toniest neighborhoods.
Land Rover managed the nearly impossible by surprising the world with an allnew Range Rover model a week before the Geneva Motor Show. At a celebritystudded private party in London, the new Range Rover Velar was revealed to the world, not in concept form, but as a fully hatched production model ready for sale in mere months. Debuting late this summer as a 2018 model, the Velar is the fourth distinct model in the Range Rover lineup, squeezing between the compact Evoque and the notquite-full-size Sport. The Velar shares architecture with its corporate cousin the Jaguar F-Pace, which itself borrows from the Range Rover Sport parts catalog underneath. This means a longitudinal drivetrain (unlike the Evoque) and the option of a supercharged V6 engine.
The Velar signals an even greater emphasis on the Range Rover sub-brand’s move further upscale. Whether or not that resonates with traditional Range Rover buyers remains to be seen (though we suspect it will). Regardless, the Velar is an undeniably attractive vehicle, perhaps even more so than the Jaguar with which it shares hardware. Its flush door handles and nearly button-free touch-screen instrument panels are a clean break from tradition, while the interior’s use of wool-blend textiles and suede-like cloth made from recycled plastic bottles suggests a focus on buyers not necessarily hung up on the ubiquitous wood and leather ambience of past models.
While it cribs signature design cues from bigger Range Rovers, the Velar makes no pretense about being an off-road vehicle. There will be no two-speed transfer case, not even an off-road dress-up package. This one is meant for the streets,
The Velar, which shares its name with the first road-going Range Rover prototypes of nearly fifty years ago, will go on sale in late summer as a 2018 model with a base price starting at $49,995. 8
EXPLORE NEW TERRITORY
Closed course. Professional drivers and drivers operating vehicles under supervision. Do not attempt.
Get behind the wheel of our latest vehicles at a Land Rover Experience Center. Head off-road with an expert instructor who will coach you in skills to tackle the most challenging terrain - from steep inclines and descents to slippery slopes and water crossings.* Whether novice or seasoned pro, you’ll quickly build confidence, refine techniques, and have fun along the way. To find out more go to landroverusa.com/experience or call one of our Centers at these breathtaking locations.
Asheville, NC 1.828.225.1541
QUAIL LODGE & GOLF CLUB Carmel, CA 1.831.620.8854
EQUINOX GOLF RESORT & SPA
Manchester Village, VT 1.802.362.0687
European model shown. 2017 Discovery HSE. *All attendees are required to sign a release and attendees who wish to operate a vehicle at the Experience Center must have a valid driver’s license. Group and Team Building Experiences available. Payment is charged at time of booking. Applicable taxes may apply. © 2017 Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC
Put your off road skills to the test. Visit one of our Centers to participate in an off road trial course for an opportunity to win a spot on a 2017 expedition to Peru. Call one of our Centers for details or visit landroverusa.com/peru2017.
BACK FROM OVERLAND EXPO Of all the activities associated with Land Rovers over the years, expedition travel certainly ranks high on the list. These days it goes by the term “overlanding,” and it’s become something of a lifestyle movement of its own. Countless magazines and blogs have emerged in the last decade to make self-contained vehicle travel a “thing.” We traveled to Flagstaff, Arizona, in May for Overland Expo, the annual gathering of all things overland. More than 15,000 people are reported to have passed through the gates over the course of the three-day event to check out the latest travel gear and specialty vehicles from more than 250 vendors. With everything from first aid kits to all-terrain motorhomes, the array of products being produced (for what is essentially still car camping) is staggering. Not everyone comes for the gear, though. Some attend specifically for training and advice on overland travel, particularly to less hospitable terrains and locales throughout the world. Where else can you step out of your LR4 and get off-road driving instruction from a bona fide Camel Trophy winner? While the overall crowd and product count were measurably impressive, the number of Land Rovers (and Land Rover-specific products) was negligible. Toyotas and Jeeps dominated the scene, along with everything from Subarus to Mercedes Sprinter vans. In fact, we probably saw more BMW GS motorcycles than Land Rovers on the grounds. Land Rover North America was on hand to run the offroad driving course complete with instructors. They also kicked off the first leg of a new driving competition, the Land Rover Experience Tour Peru 2017, with drivers piloting a new Discovery through a scored trials course for a chance to win a six-day driving adventure through Peru this fall. We’ll be in Asheville, North Carolina, from September 29 to October 1, 2017, for Overland Expo East, the smaller but growing East Coast version of the show. 11
Social & Driving Events A selection of upcoming Land Rover enthusiast events in North America. June 16-18, 2017
July 27-30, 2017
September 15-17, 2017
Return to the Rubicon
June 23-25, 2017
August 10-13, 2017
September 16, 2017
33 OVLR Birthday Party
Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival
Telegraph Canyon Trail Run
Silver Lake, Ontario
July 14-16, 2017
August 11-13, 2017
September 28 – October 1, 2017
Rovers on the Blue Ridge
White Rock Lake Meteor Shower Trip
Vermont Overland Rally
Capon Ridge, WV
Facebook – Rovers on the Blue Ridge July 24-28, 2017
Truckee, California norcalrovers.org
vermontoverland.com September 29 – October 1, 2017
2017 Land Rover National Rally
September 10, 2017
The Muddy Chef Challenge is one of the summer’s unique Land Rover events, merging off-road driving with competitive cooking. The cooking challenge is vehicle-based—participants can only cook from the foods and materials they brought in their Land Rover—and divided into three categories: appetizer, main course and dessert. Competitors
must participate in at least two of the events to be eligible for prizes, and are encouraged to pair their offerings with an appropriate cocktail or beverage. If cooking isn’t your thing, there’s always the off-road trail rides, falconry, shooting, and fly fishing. An added twist is that the actual campsite location will remain a secret until you arrive in Manchester,
British Car Festival
Overland Expo East Asheville, NC
where you’ll be sent on an off-road adventure to find the campground. The event, which has been a fixture on the calendar since 2008, has been held in past years at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. This year it moves to Manchester, Vermont, nearby Land Rover’s driving school based at the Equinox Resort.
The world is wait ing.
G et o u t f i t t e d . G e t t r a i n e d . G e t i n s p i r e d . G e t g o i n g . . .
OCTOBER 2017 ASHEVILLE, NC, USA
M A Y 1 2 - 14, 2017 F L A G S T A F F , A Z, USA
Expert driving instruction course built by Land Rover RawHyde Adventures and BMW-sponsored riding courses 180+ different skills classes & seminars for 4WD & motorcycle adventuring, from first aid to outdoor cooking to advanced recovery, riding, and drivingâ€”400 session-hours taught by the worldâ€™s overlanding experts 250+ exhibitors, including authors & filmmakers Local food, the Overland Film Festival, & more Day passes or Overland Experience packages Onsite camping
Free daycare for Overland Experience
OverlandExpo.com Book online
Featuring a new venue in Flagstaff!
Photo top: Into Bolivia by Alison DeLapp (AlisonsWanderland.com). Photo, inset: Alu-Cab camp (OK4WD.com).
TEXAS ROVERS MAKE SCARR 2017 A BIG EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY Trent Landreth
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the Rover events. This year’s South Central Area Rover Rally (SCARR) was the biggest yet, with 240 participants in 125 vehicles taking part in an extended weekend of wheeling and camping. The event was held April 19-23 at Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area in Gilmer, TX. This event truly featured a little something for everyone. In addition to the expected group trail rides, there was also the all-women Barbara Toy Tribute run with 19 vehicles. Bill Burke was on hand offering offroad instruction. The kids weren’t left either, with a movie night and daytime activities. End-of-day happenings included live music and campfires. Texas Rovers did an excellent job of rounding up big-name sponsors as well, with many participants walking away with generous prizes. texasrovers.org 15
VIRGINIA CLUB AT WINTERGREEN PHOTOGRAPHY Dave Short
The weekend of April 14-16 saw the Rover Owners Association of Virginiaâ€™s 5th Annual Rovers At Wintergreen (RAW) event. Hosted at the Wintergreen Ski Resort in Nellysford, VA, it is normally held just after the end of the traditional ski season. The club has re-opened several miles of old logging tracks and made new and exciting trails on the lower half of the mountain. This year saw over 60 different Land Rovers and over 100 attendees. Land Rover Richmond brought along a brand-new diesel Discovery for club members to look over. They also ran it down a few of the easier lanes to show that it still has an off-road spirit. The weekend was capped off with a club dinner with presentations, stories, and a raffle. roav.org 16
GOODS + GEAR
Definitive Defender We all suspect the new Defender will (finally) begin to surface in the coming months. We point to the announcement of Icon, the official Series and Defender history in book form, as proof that Land Rover is laying the marketing groundwork for the new model launch. The only “approved” book about the Defender, Icon will be released in July, though pre-orders are being taken now through Land Rover’s online store. The 200-page book will be hardbound and will sell for £50 (U.S. pricing has not been announced). The book opens with a foreword from TV personality and notable Land Rover enthusiast Richard Hammond.
£50 at shop.landrover.com/uk
GOODS + GEAR
DemerBox Portable Boombox Series Land Rovers and Defenders are a great way to disappear from the sights and sounds of civilization, as long as you’re willing to put up with a metallic symphony of squeaks, rattles, bangs, gear whine and tire hum getting there. Playing a traditional stereo to drown out the noise will probably be fruitless, especially if there’s no such system in the vehicle. Enter the Demerbox, designed by James Demer, who was looking for a quality Bluetooth/wireless boom box to use on remote photo/video shoots. Starting with a familiar piece of kit—the ubiquitous Pelican case—he installed a set of Bluetooth-enabled weatherproof speakers, resulting in a portable, all-weather boom box. The Pelican case offers portability and rugged construction, and it’s sealed against water, dirt, and dust. A subwoofer opening adds richness to the sound and can be capped when conditions call for it. The remaining space inside the Pelican case can be used to store valuables, keeping your cell phone, tablet, GPS, and other small necessities safely in one place. Compatible with both Mac and PC, the Demerbox is fitted with a USB port for charging other devices, and it also includes a 3.5mm auxiliary port as an alternative music input. Once charged, the Demerbox is ready to go for approximately 40 hours, long enough for most short-haul weekend expeditions.
$399 at demerbox.com
Expedition Blend Coﬀee For many of us, getting an on-time start to a full day of adventure requires supplemental stimulation. The most popular way to perk up is with a strong cup of coffee. We know there are countless options when it comes to choosing a morning brew, but few of them also combine our passion for Land Rovers. Enter Toltec Coffee, the work of Niall Johnson, who cruises Costa Rica in his Series II 88” to check in on the harvest and roasting of his beloved coffee beans. The name pays homage to the Toltec civilization, an artisan culture—the name literally means “skilled worker who creates something by hand “— indigenous to Central America between the tenth and twelfth centuries. Roasted in “micro-lot” quantities of 100-percent Costa Rican export-grade Arabica beans, the resulting Expedition Blend is a labor of love that honors the Toltec traditions. Land Rover and coffee...a blend that always provides a welcome jolt.
From $30 per 2lbs at tolteccoffee.com
GOODS + GEAR
Ultimate Camp Kitchen On the scale from “roughing it” to “glamping,” the Austrian-made Camp Champ gourmet camp kitchen tips toward the far edge of the latter. Designed for the well-equipped traveler who has the means and the cargo space to bring his home kitchen on the road, the Camp Champ features everything but the kitchen sink. The storage cabinet is made of marine-grade plywood with stainless steel hardware. Every bit of internal space accommodates the cooking and serving needs for a group of four—plates, bowls, flatware, glasses and cups. The cookware includes a variety of nesting pans, a strainer and cook utensils, as well as a cutting board. A full spice cabinet is built into one of the doors, meaning you don’t have to suffer bland food just because you’re in the woods. The Camp Champ includes premium components from renowned makers such as stainless steel cutlery from Carl Mertens and kitchen knives from J. A. Henckles. The folding four-burner propane stove is from American company Partner Steel, and the cooktop griddle comes from Swiss Diamond. The camp kitchen stores inside its own cover, which doubles as a ground platform, and it’s also made of the same marine plywood. Because consideration was given to weight reduction— melamine plates, acrylic drinkware, and panel lightening by drilling large holes—the whole kit, at 143 pounds, weighs less than it would appear, though it’s still a two-person job to move. Imported exclusively by OK4WD, the Camp Champ is an exquisite piece of craftsmanship worthy of heirloom status. But before your kids start fighting over it when you’re gone, it’s also probably the finest way to cook a fantastic meal on the go, wherever the road may take you.
$5,595 at OK4WD.com
Rover Truck Oatmeal Stout There are probably better reasons to choose a beer than what’s on the label. But how can you resist the opportunity to decorate your next party with these choice cans, which feature the image of a truck very closely resembling a Range Rover Sport? The beer is brewed in the small town of Decorah in northeast Iowa by Toppling Goliath Brewing Company. If you’re an oatmeal stout kind of person, you’ll like the hints of coffee and chocolate, and it’s also a change of pace from the bevy of IPAs everyone’s drinking. Alcohol content is 5.7 percent by volume, and it’s only sold in four-packs of 12-ounce cans. The kicker? Distribution is limited to the Iowa/ Illinois/Wisconsin/Minnesota corner of the upper Midwest. Depending on where you live, however, online retailers like France44.com may be able to ship you a pack.
$8 per 4-pack at France44.com or tgbrews.com
Hand made prints of classic cars & trucks manualdesigns.bigcartel.com
Global Lens Daniel Marcello Owning a Land Rover isn’t always easy, especially if you go it alone. But because our vehicles and (their owners) are so unique, ownership often opens the door to membership. A good Land Rover club not only provides a support system to make the ownership experience more satisfying, but the best ones also offer a sense of purpose. One such club is Australia’s Land Rover Owners’ Club of Victoria, or LROCV.
accessories, and has a test track where members of the public can experience a short trip in a member’s vehicle on a course ranging from easy to hard grade. Over the years hundreds of trips have been arranged, some short, some long. The first recorded official two-day overland trip was in October of 1964, covering some 420 miles roundtrip, 70 of which were in the Victorian Dividing Ranges. Members have been to all corners of Australia, including Cape York, Tasmania, Simpson Desert, Canning Stock Route and many other seldom visited places.
LROCV is the oldest established four-wheel-drive club in Australia. Founded in September of 1963, it was chartered as an overseas branch of the Land Rover Owners’ Club of England. Since then, independent branches have been formed in every state of Australia. The Victorian club has an active roster of over 700 members, with almost 800 vehicles in the club register. The club’s well-attended monthly business meetings include portfolio reports, trip reports, and a guest speaker; visitors are always welcomed.
LROCV trains drivers new to four-wheel drive in order to get them to become more aware of their and their vehicle’s capabilities off-road, as well as intermediate training in recovery techniques and driving on differing road conditions. The club maintains a comprehensive technical library and has specialist equipment available for members to borrow or rent for trips and events, including satellite phones.
Since 1971, The Land Rover Owners’ Club of Australia, Victorian Branch, has assisted in running the Red Cross Murray Marathon as part of its community service work, helping with land patrol and medical evacuation. The club also participates in the Yarra Marathon, the Mini Marathon, Venturer Scouts’ Armstrong 500, Oxfam Christmas tree deliveries, as well as many other local community activities.
LROCV serves as a model club for the Land Rover enthusiast community. Likeminded people with a sense of adventure, a desire to travel, and the ability to turn a wrench when needed are what make owning a Land Rover unlike anything else. I don’t care for cars and coffee meet ups. Too many glossy cars sitting in a parking lot begging to be used properly. So I encourage you to join a Land Rover club. You won’t see us gathered at your local coffee shop, as we will more than likely be on some adventure using our vehicles for what they were intended for.
The Club has a large volunteer force of members who provide assistance in the clean-ups following natural disasters such as fires and floods. Many thousands of volunteer hours are donated each year, particularly in recent years as disastrous bush fires have periodically ravaged parts of the state of Victoria.
For more information on LROCV visit them online at lrocv.com.au and check them out on Instagram @LROCV
For the past 38 years, the club has held the Victorian 4WD Show, probably the world’s first outdoor four-wheel-drive show. The event showcases off-road equipment and
SHAKING DOWN THE ALL-NEW
2017 DISCOVERY Still every bit a Discovery, even if you’re not convinced it looks the part WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOGRAPHY Land Rover
he Discovery’s initial mission—to blend the most practical aspects of Land Rover’s utility vehicles (think Series and Defender) with a level of refinement found in the Range Rover—birthed a line of family SUV that not only faithfully delivered on that charter but has endured, quite successfully, through four generations over the course of nearly three decades. But now this new, fifth-generation of Discovery is set to face oﬀ against an unprecedented number of competitors, each vying to supersede Land Rover’s hard-earned reputation for delivering family-friendly functionality. Does it still have that perfect blend of unalloyed grit (pardon the pun) to go with the polished alloys we’ve come to expect from the marque? History suggests a resounding yes, primarily because of Land Rover’s continued response to the rapid evolution of the Discovery’s market segment. Originally conceived to do battle with dominant competitors from Japan like the Mitsubishi Montero, Toyota 4Runner, and Nissan Pathfinder, the first-generation Discovery excelled against its rivals in refinement and appointments while matching their abilities oﬀ-road. By the second generation, the Germans had gentrified the neighborhood with new entrants from BMW (X5) and Mercedes-Benz (ML Class). The Discovery II had no trouble outperforming these new challengers in terms of utility and rugged skills oﬀ-road, but its liveaxle chassis and body-on-frame construction
proved no match against the on-road finesse of the Autobahners. The third generation (LR3) answered those concerns boldly with a four-corner independent suspension and the introduction of Terrain Response, which raised the technological bar for all-road chassis control. The following LR4 added more layers of refinement, more luxury features, more technology…in other words, more more in the need to keep pace with its peers, all of which had become far more sophisticated. Throughout all its iterations the Discovery has been a rugged yet refined utility vehicle for adventurous families. Perhaps as importantly, it also has been an aspirational vehicle that suggests empty roads and far horizons are just a turn of the key away. Alloy+Grit drove the new Discovery to find out if it delivers on these promises.
SKIN DEEP Before getting to the nuts and bolts, let’s try to wrap our eyes around that element of the Discovery that has everyone talking, the design. From its inception, the Discovery has worn distinctive body panels. Some were, well, charmingly funky (polarizing, others might have said). Either way, nothing else has ever really looked like a Disco. Until now. Viewed in isolation and without context, the new Discovery is an absolutely beautiful piece of mechanical sculpture: a muscular form with balanced proportions, clean surfaces, and tidy 29
detailing that oﬀers a less-is-more elegance in a marketplace filled with overwrought swage lines and heavily scalloped panels. But, it’s also a case of more-is-less: To some eyes it looks just too similar to the rest of the current Land Rover lineup, particularly from the front. To follow further this critical line of thought, we agree there’s not a lot of distinctive Discovery-ness left in it. On one hand, it’s like a chunk of quartz that’s been swept along the bed of a roaring river, its unique, jagged surfaces polished and smoothed, leaving just a hint of its original form. On the other hand, it’s like a chunk of carbon that’s been carved by an expert jeweler, its new form displaying a brilliant elegance that only broadens its appeal. To understand this critique, it helps to know what defined that first-generation Discovery. It was an entirely new expression of Land Rover’s spirit when it first emerged as a family vehicle positioned between the rugged Defender and the luxurious Range Rover. Its tall, stepped roof addressed old complaints about headroom in those other two vehicles, paying tribute as well to the Defender’s iconic safari roof, right down to the alpine windows. And the asymmetry of the rear window’s baseline was functional, shaped to conform to the edges of the spare tire mounted on the side-swinging cargo door. These details helped establish the Discovery’s identity and were carried through the first two generations. The third-generation Discovery (LR3)
“Similar styling quirks are to be found on the new Discovery, but they’ve been finely edited and now serve as little more than design hints at the model’s history without rehashing it.” created a shockwave on arrival. Traditionalists simply detested its industrial minimalism. The step in the roof was less prominent, and the alpine windows were reinterpreted, made integral to a larger glass roof panel. The spare tire was moved to a location underneath the vehicle, but the designers playfully retained the rear door’s signature asymmetrical window line (though the drop moved to the opposite side), using it as the break point for the new split tailgate. Eventually the hysteria subsided, and loyalists accepted the design that was carried through two generations. Similar styling quirks are to be found on the new Discovery, but they’ve been finely edited
and now serve as little more than design hints at the model’s history without rehashing it. It’s clearly a Discovery for a new era, and we have no doubt even the most ardent critics will come to appreciate it once they’ve stood next to one. More importantly to Land Rover, this less polarizing new Discovery should appeal to shoppers who would have never considered the brand.
BENEATH THE SURFACE That slick body is shedding more than just visual baggage, however. By switching to a full unibody chassis (abandoning the corpulent integrated body/frame platform) and pressing 30
almost all of it out of aluminum, the new Discovery casts aside more than 800 pounds compared to its predecessor, even when new features are factored in. The body shell alone is a full thousand pounds lighter. Where the outgoing model’s gait was cumbersome, the new Discovery immediately feels fleet of foot and more responsive to inputs from throttle, brakes and steering wheel whether in the 340-hp supercharged V6 or the 254-hp turbodiesel V6. There has never been a Discovery so quick to react with so little prodding. But, this is a Land Rover, and just as important is its lithe and balanced demeanor oﬀ the pavement, especially on inclines. No
longer a listing ship, it fairly seethes with a sure-footed confidence that only comes from being unburdened by excess mass. One look at the slippery shape of the new Discovery tells you it wasn’t sketched in the Solihull brick factory but was fashioned with significant aid from the wind tunnel. While there is still a dominant verticality to the front of the truck, it’s not as blunt as it used to be. And everywhere you look are small details that manage the flow of air over the body, such as the vertical slits in the front bumper that direct the stream over the front wheels. Even the stepped roofline was kept low to minimize frontal area. The payoﬀ is a big drop in drag coeﬃcient from 0.40 to 0.35. The benefits of such a dramatic weight reduction and sleek shape suggests improved fuel economy, but it didn’t quite work out that way—at least with the supercharged V6. While the outgoing LR4 with that engine managed an EPA rating of 15 mpg city and 19 mpg highway, the new model using the blown V6 eeks out a barely better 16/21 in the government’s estimation. Your fuel mileage may vary.
NUTS AND BOLTS But if fuel economy is what you’re after, Land Rover will now (finally) sell you a Discovery with an eﬃcient diesel engine. It’s the same 3.0-liter V6 found in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport but is the first such option ever oﬀered to American buyers in a Discovery. Quiet and refined, it oﬀers a more acceptable 21/26-mpg figure at a modest $2,000 premium over the gas engine. With 442 lb-ft of torque on tap, it should be popular with buyers who tow or haul other heavy loads, and certainly those with long commutes. The supercharged V6 gas engine has a slight performance advantage, but neither engine is a slouch. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission option, and as with later LR4s, the hi/lo transfer case is part of a “capability” package. The Terrain Response System manages traction electronically, locking and unlocking diﬀerentials based on the surface conditions. Terrain Response II is optional, adding automatic program selection to its list of talents and ensuring that driving in changing conditions is a carefree aﬀair. Traditionalists may find comfort that a coil spring suspension is still standard, though we suspect most will leave dealers riding on the
optional four-corner air suspension, especially as it’s standard on the higher-spec HSE models. Nevertheless, it exists. The air springs give the Disco up to 11.1 inches of ground clearance and allow it to ford up to 35.4 inches of water should the need arise. On the road, the proven setup delivers a tranquil ride on par with its more expensive Range Rover stablemates. Our drive through the dry desert landscape of southeast Utah never challenged its wading credentials but did provide a sense of how well the new Discovery will play on rocks and sand. With its independent suspension, it can’t always keep all four tires in contact with the ground over extremely uneven surfaces, but as long as it triangulates, the truck will remain stable, and its electronic traction kit will almost always pull it through. In fact, as long as just one corner has traction, the system will continue to feed power only to that wheel, making it possible, in most cases, to continue forward. All Terrain Progress Control acts like a low-speed cruise control, allowing you to set a pace in oﬀ-road conditions and maintain that speed, adjusting for such changes in terrain as large obstacles and even water. A stint at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park proved how well the combination of advanced traction control and ample power can motivate the nearly 5000-pound vehicle through even the deepest, softest sand. With the tires aired down for maximum contact, the Discovery made easy work of the windswept landscape. On steeper climbs where power and momentum both matter, the supercharged gas V6 showed an edge over the diesel, better able to add power as momentum diminished. Regardless of engine choice, the new Discovery actually outdoes its predecessors when it comes to towing, besting the previous model’s 7,716-pound rating by another 285 pounds. A trailer hitch with integrated wiring is a stand-alone option. All of our test vehicles were equipped with the 21-inch alloys that come standard on the HSE Lux models, but it’s worth noting that Land Rover fits wheels as small as 19 inches in diameter on the base model. As the brake package is identical regardless of the trim level—14.2-inch front rotors and 13.8-inch rears—oﬀ-road enthusiasts should have no problem stepping back to a 19-inch wheel package for a bit of extra sidewall on the trails.
ADVENTURE READY Where the new Discovery really excels is neither on-road or oﬀ—it’s inside. The standard configuration remains the two-row five-passenger setup, but most will probably hit the road as seven-seaters. The third row, accessible by folding forward any of the three second-row seats, has been designed specifically to accommodate an adult up to about 6 ft 2 in., situating the seat bottom (like those of the second-row seats) quite low, so the space is better suited to longer torsos than legs. Nevertheless, the third row is far from a penalty box. Adding to the Disco’s configurability is a new powered-seat option. Any of the five rear seats can be lowered or raised at the push of a switch, either in the rear compartment or at the seating position. This can all be done from your smartphone through an app, allowing you to pre-arrange the cargo space before you arrive with your payload. Someone in the interior design group has obviously spent time on holiday with a pack of post-millennial kids, as there’s accommodation for virtually all the stuﬀ today’s electronicallyassisted progeny expect to have on hand at all times. There are multiple USB power supplies in every row so no one has to fight for one. Storage spots are also generous throughout. The hidden bin behind the fold-down infotainment screen is a clever touch, perfect for stashing sunglasses or a phone. By eliminating the old-style mechanical gear selector in favor of the rotary knob, the center console is a virtual hidden cave—slide the cupholder component out of the way, and you have a deep storage compartment capable of swallowing four iPads. Other thoughtful touches include door panels sculpted deeply enough to accommodate a one-liter water bottle (even the fat Nalgene bottles). If there’s a drawback to the new body shape, it comes in the form of reduced cargo space. Overall interior volume is down by almost 10 percent compared to the LR4. Much of that appears to be sacrificed behind the third row, where the rounded shape of the rear tailgate and its thick pillars conspire to steal precious cubic feet. While the shape is less boxy, Land Rover has broadened the rear opening to accommodate wider cargo. While we’ll miss the split tailgate of the LR3/LR4, Land Rover insists the new overhead
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FIFTY YEARS OF THE ROVER V8 The Rover V8: Lightweight, compact, powerful. And ubiquitous. WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOS Staff
It powered what seemed like every British performance car for the better part of three decades—MG, Morgan, Triumph, TVR, and Rover alike—but it’s perhaps best known as the gutsy soul of so many Land Rover vehicles. Front and center at the Range Rover’s conception, it would go on to power the Series III Stage I, the Defender, the first two generations of Discovery, and the second generation of the Range Rover. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary since its arrival under British bonnets, though its birth certificate bears the stars and stripes. Before it grew a stiﬀ upper lip and rumbled Brummies across the world, the Rover V8 was a scrappy Detroiter known as the Buick 215. Developed by General Motors in the late ’50s, the compact all-aluminum powerhouse was also employed by Oldsmobile and Pontiac for three short model years before issues with oil and coolant seals—please remember this before cursing British engineering—collided with high production costs and forced the General to sideline it for a more conventional cast-iron design. Seizing on GM’s regressive move, Rover managing director William Martin-Hurst negotiated late in 1964 to purchase outright both the design and tooling, foreseeing the need for more powerful engine options for an expanding British car industry. He also hired away Joe Turlay, Buick’s engine designer, to act as an engineering consultant in the transfer from American to British manufacture. Finally, in 1967, and after a handful of minor design details and process modifications were introduced, the first English version of the V8 made its way into a production Rover P5 sedan.
By this time, work on the concept that would become the Range Rover was under way, and development director Spen King had already decided the V8 was the right engine for this new upper-scale station wagon. When the Range Rover debuted in 1970, the 3.5-liter V8 was the only engine oﬀered, a decision that helped define the model and distinguish it from the less powerful, more agricultural Land Rover Series models of the day. Over the course of four decades, the Rover V8 evolved gradually from GM’s simple 3.5-liter carbureted unit into a sophisticated 4.6-liter with fuel injection that powered several families of Land Rover vehicles. At the core, however, the basic design stood the test of time: Aluminum block with cast-in steel cylinder liners, aluminum pistons, five main bearings, and aluminum valve covers on top of pushrod-activated aluminum heads. From its early days in Detroit to its final days in Solihull, the cleverly designed V8 nevertheless eluded perfection. And if it has, in fact, caused many a roadside tantrum, it also gave the British industry a real V8 with very little development investment. And its biggest virtue— lightness—has endeared it to performance enthusiasts for half a decade now. Land Rover exploited its bargain buy through 2004 before retiring the veteran engine and moving to a modern overhead-cam design that still boasts all-aluminum construction. Turn the page to see the evolution of the Rover V8.
Bore – 94.0 mm Stroke - 71.0 mm Displacement - 3946 cc Compression – 8.13:1 Fuel System – Lucas L-Jetronic fuel injection Ignition System – Distributor, electronic Power – 178-182 hp @ 4750 rpm Torque – 227 lb/ft @ 3500 rpm – 232 lb/ft @ 3100 rpm Applications – Range Rover Classic (1989-95) Defender 110 (1993), Defender 90 (1994-95), Discovery I (1994-95)
Bore – 94.0 mm Stroke - 77.0 mm Displacement - 4275 cc Compression – 8.94:1 Fuel System – Lucas L-Jetronic fuel injection Ignition System – Distributor, electronic Power – 200 hp @ 4850 rpm Torque – 250 lb/ft @ 3250 rpm Applications – Range Rover Classic LWB (1993-95)
Bore – 94.0 mm Stroke - 71.0 mm Displacement - 3946 cc Compression – 9.35:1 Fuel/Ignition System – Lucas GEMS Power – 182-190 hp @ 4750 rpm Torque – 232-236 lb/ft @ 3000 rpm Applications – Range Rover P38 (1995-99), Discovery I (1996-99), Defender 90 (1997)
Bore – 94.0 mm Stroke - 71.0 mm Displacement - 3946 cc Compression – 9.35:1 Fuel/Ignition System – Bosch Motronic Power – 188 hp @ 4750 rpm Torque – 250 lb/ft @ 2600 rpm Applications – Range Rover P38 (1999-2000), Discovery II (1999-2002)
The guy who defended dozens of Defender owners against confiscation of their imports by the feds isn’t just a brilliant and generous attorney, he’s also one of us. WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOGRAPHY Christopher G. Nieto and Will Hedrick
ong before he was an attorney, even before he’d applied to law school, a young William Hedrick was obsessed with owning a Land Rover Defender. As a North Carolina boy, he’d grown up playing with Jeeps and pickups. But there was something about the Defender that got into his head and never left He managed to buy his first Defender while still in college; that led to his first post-collegiate job as a Land Rover sales guide in nearby South Carolina, where his enthusiasm for the products translated into top sales and customer satisfaction. He left that very satisfying role after half a decade to pursue his law degree, though he hardly left the Land Rover community. But in 2014, at a rare time in his adult life when he didn’t own a Land Rover, Will suddenly found himself at the center an infamous, high-profile legal case involving his favorite vehicles. On July 15 of that year, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security agents, accompanied by state and local law enforcement, raided homes, businesses, and garages all over the country in search of dozens of commercially imported Defenders that were alleged to have been brought into the country illegally. As fate would have it, one of the unwitting owners happened to live just five minutes down the road from him. When Will oﬀered to help this fellow Defender disciple navigate the storm of litigation that followed, he had no idea just how big this case would become or how it would forever change his career. Unable to limit his services to just this one client, he ultimately went on to represent in Federal District Court the entire contingent of owners against the United States Government’s seizure of their Land Rovers. The ordeal took nearly a year, and Hedrick left his comfortable job as a state attorney—but he never charged for his services. It would have been easy to simply bypass the story of Will Hedrick at his point. His generous work as the “Defender of Defenders” has been chronicled in other places in the three years since CBP went on the oﬀensive, seizing more than fifty Defenders from private citizens
around the country. But there’s more to Will’s story than just a pro bono eﬀort on behalf of like-minded car enthusiasts.
EARLY DAYS Like a lot of us, Will Hedrick was bitten by the Land Rover bug the first time he got up close to a Defender. “I still remember the first time I saw a Defender. I was in high school. A kid at school drove a white ’94 North American Spec D90 soft top. His family bought it new right here in town,” he recalls. He was obsessed. “I was still in high school, so I really couldn’t aﬀord one. But I formulated this idea that I was going to buy one that had been wrecked and then fix it.” A short time after he turned 16, Will was fortunate to meet and become friends with an older gentleman by the name of Owen Swanson. “Owen’s friends and family called him by his nickname, ‘Spike.’ To us newly licensed drivers with a fascination for all things four-wheel drive, he was known locally as ‘the Jeep guy.’ He always had half a dozen to a dozen Jeeps parked in his yard and driveway.” Swanson generously allowed Will and other young enthusiasts to bring their vehicles over to work on them in his garage and use his tools, but he had one rule. “I was welcome to come over pretty well any time to work on my vehicle. If I didn’t know how to fix or take apart something, he’d provide me with instruction on how to do it. But Owen made it clear that he wasn’t going to do the work for me. I had to do the work myself.” Being young, he couldn’t fully appreciate the depth of the informal education he was receiving at the time, but Swanson’s generosity of spirit, time, knowledge, and positive encouragement left a lasting impression on Will. “It didn’t really matter what I was working on; I came to learn that if I was equipped with the right tools, and I was committed to putting in the proper amount of eﬀort, then I could pretty well figure anything out. “This was still the early days of the internet, in the late nineties. I 41
got really good at finding wrecked Defenders online. I started a website while I was in college called RoverWrecks.com, where I posted pictures, information and links to various wrecked Land Rovers that I found. I eventually met and developed a relationship with a gentleman down in Atlanta who specialized in buying and selling salvaged exotic vehicles. I helped him sell his Defenders through my website. “I had always intended to buy a wrecked Defender, but the very first one I bought was actually just a high-mileage vehicle, and it didn’t need any fixing. It was badged No. 96, a Portofino Red 1994 NAS Defender 90 Soft Top, one of the first hundred D90s brought into the country. I picked it up for $19,500, which was still a bit expensive for a college kid in 1999, but I made it work.” The truck had been listed for sale online in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Money in hand, Will flew out to meet the owner and his “new” Defender. “I left Albuquerque that evening and drove to Amarillo, Texas. The next day, I woke up and drove the Defender 24 hours straight through back to Wake Forest, North Carolina. I had to stop for fuel twice in each state, except for Tennessee, where I actually had to stop three times to fill up. I honestly just didn’t want to get out from behind the steering wheel!” By this time he was already immersed in Land Rover culture through his website connections; now he finally had a vehicle in which to join the club members out on the trails. It had become something of a family aﬄiction; his brother also caught the bug. Following his college graduation, Will, his brother, and their father took a trip to the U.K. and made a stop at Solihull for a factory
tour. They showed up at the back gate by accident, only to discover the plant was closed for a bank holiday. Rousing the attention of security staﬀ, however, they explained their situation and were amazed to be granted a very personal, very much unoﬃcial four-hour tour of the idled plant. This only cemented his relationship with Land Rover and, especially, the Defender. Freshly degreed but still contemplating a future in law, Will took a job in the real world to earn some money for the next phase of his education. He turned immediately to what he knew and loved—Land Rovers. Joining the multi-store Land Rover Carolinas Group of dealerships, he went to work sharing his passion with shoppers as a sales guide. It didn’t take long for him to shine in this role. In 2003 he was chosen to represent his dealership at the Land Rover TReK competition, at Forbes Trinchera Ranch in Colorado. He and his team placed second in their wave, narrowly missing a birth in the TReK finals by only a few points. The following year he attained Gold Certified status with Land Rover North America and went on to lead the Southern U.S. Market Region in overall new Land Rover sales. This also earned him his second trip to Solihull, this time for a more legitimate factory tour, where he was among the first to see the new LR3 in pre-production form. His eﬀorts during 2004 also helped to propel his dealership to win the coveted Land Rover Pinnacle Award in 2005. The award recognizes both sales volume and customer satisfaction achievements, and with all the numbers totaled, Will’s Land Rover Centre ranked first in customer service. His Land Rover Centre was further recognized through the local media and public as the new-car dealer of the year, with the local readers and viewership also voting him the best new-car salesperson. For five years he made buying a Land Rover a more enjoyable experience for the people that walked through the doors of his dealership. And along the way he met a lot of exceptional Land Rover owners. But with law school calling, he had to jump oﬀ that train in 2006. Little did he know this new path would bring him even more notoriety in Land Rover circles. Eventually.
“I woke up and drove the Defender 24 hours straight through back to North Carolina. I honestly just didn’t want to get out from behind the steering wheel!”
THE CASE The morning of July 15, 2014, was a stressful one for Defender owners across the country. A coordinated raid by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security seized imported Defenders from coast to coast. Before owners could communicate to each other what was happening, it was over. More than 30 Defenders were taken into custody, all of them personal imports, all of their owners presumed guilty of importing their vehicles under false pretenses. The epicenter of the activity seemed to be North Carolina, as many of the suspect vehicles had been brought into the country by a Wilmingtonarea chiropractor. One of those vehicles belonged to a man who was practically Will’s neighbor, living just a few minutes away. The owner reached out frantically after first contacting Will’s brother, who by now was also well known for his Land Rover aﬃnity. “You should be talking to my brother,” he said. “He’s an attorney and knows these vehicles inside and out.” The call was made. “When the case came along,” Will recalls, “it was exciting, because it was something I knew a lot about. It was the kind of case I would have dreamed about being involved with in law school but never could have imagined would have actually happened.”
with the court, but it felt like every time I filed a motion the judge would either rule against me or he would sideline it and not rule on it at all. “I did have some major victories in my filings. One of the big ones came literally in the middle of the night. When the government was trying to establish the ages of the vehicles in question, they provided me with these electronic warranty records. This seemed rather odd to me; why would Land Rover have electronic warranty records for vehicles that had been built in the 1980s? I must have looked at these records dozens of times, and in the middle of the night, around 2:00 a.m., I noticed something that I had not noticed before: fine print at the bottom of each document that said, ‘Created on 19/08/2014.’ “All the documents were created on August 19, 2014, over a month after the initial vehicle seizures had taken place. Even more importantly, though, the documents had been created roughly three decades after the vehicles had been manufactured. This was a revelation! In the Rules of Evidence, there is what we refer to as the Business Document Rule. This rule states that in order for a business document to be oﬀered as proof of the happening of an event, the document had to have been created contemporaneously with the event it seeks to prove. This hit me like a lightning bolt! So, I dropped what I had been working on and
immediately began drafting a Motion to Exclude, to have the warranty records thrown out as unacceptable under the rules. The entire court appeared stunned upon my filing of the motion. Because of the implications, I suspect the judge didn’t know how to address it. So, he sidelined my motion to deal with later.” Will ran the case for his clients on a shoestring budget, which paled significantly when compared to the seemingly limitless resources of the federal government. To that end, Will was forced to answer the question on how to make the continued pursuit of this case distasteful to the government. Rule number one in the attorney playbook is to keep the other side busy. “I could have submitted one set of discovery documents that would have covered all the vehicles, but a common legal practice is to load your opponent up on paperwork,” Will concedes. “So, rather than doing one discovery request to cover all of my clients, I decided to do 25 discovery requests, one for each of my clients at that time. Under the rules, the government had to respond in answer to each client’s discovery request individually…oh, and they only had 30 days to do it. It was so much paperwork that just before the 30-day mark the Asst. U.S. Attorney called me to request an extension. This gave me some sorely needed leverage. Needless to say, I declined to agree to such an extension.” Rule number two in the attorney playbook is to make pursuing the case expensive for your opponent. But how does one make something too expensive for the federal government? “I knew that I had the right to conduct in-person inspections of all of my clients’ vehicles. But in thinking about it, I decided that it was unfair for the government to require my clients to shoulder the burden of cost for travel to the 22 diﬀerent locations where the vehicles were being held for the purpose of inspecting them, not to mention the time it would’ve taken to do so. If I were to travel to inspect one vehicle every other week, it would have taken me in excess of a year to go inspect them all. “I felt that it was the government’s responsibility to make the vehicles available for inspection, as they were the side alleging violations. To that end, I filed discovery requests demanding that the government produce all the vehicles in North Carolina for inspection, whereupon if need be they could be viewed by a jury. After all, the case was being litigated here. As expected, the government refused to comply with our discovery request, because it would have been very expensive to pay for transport of the vehicles to North Carolina from California, Washington State, Arizona, Massachusetts, Florida—from all over the country really. And, remember, that was just the cost for transport one way. In the event the government lost, it would then have to pay to ship the vehicles from North Carolina back to their owners. The outlay would have been several hundred thousand dollars just to have the vehicles moved for the purpose of inspecting them. The government was already oﬀ-balance due to its other earlier errors, and I suspected a loss on this issue would topple their case completely.” When it went to the judge, Will says it was like the clouds parted. “He essentially agreed with my position, that I had been doing my due diligence, and that he would give us an extra year to conduct the inspections, but that he wouldn’t start running the clock until we had resolved the issue concerning the government producing the vehicles in North Carolina. The next day I got a call from the Asst. U.S. Attorney asking if my clients and I would entertain going to a settlement 44
can have a replacement. And that’s what this case revolves around. “[This client’s] vehicle was originally built with a 2.5L naturally aspirated diesel engine, but now it has a 200Tdi in it. Well, the engines are basically the same. The diﬀerence is the Tdi has an aluminum head versus the steel head of the naturally aspirated, and the addition of a turbo, which actually reduces emissions, not increases them. To me the EPA’s decision to seize this vehicle at port was nonsensical; it didn’t seem to mesh with the EPA’s directive to protect the environment. It doesn’t make sense that you would deny a vehicle entry because it had a lower emissions engine in it, especially one that was almost identical to the original, to the point that it required zero modification to install it. The 200Tdi was actually sold as a kit by Land Rover to replace engines like the one originally in this vehicle.” He’s still giving back as well. “These import laws have a disproportionate eﬀect on service members deployed abroad, who would often like to bring home the car they’ve been driving while stationed overseas. Whether it’s a Defender or a Mini Cooper, in nine out of ten of the seizure cases I’ve been working on, I discovered these were service members on duty abroad. I now have a working relationship with the military contractor responsible for shipping service members’ vehicles back to the states, serving as a consultant to them and advising them on best practices. “I still like the pro bono aspect of doing this work, so for these service members I oﬀer my services at a significantly reduced rate, just enough to cover my operating expenses. I can’t do it for free anymore, but it’s a
small gesture by which I can thank them for their service to our country.” For Will’s well-heeled clients, he’s been dabbling in automotive tourism as well. “I had some clients ask if I would escort them on a factory tour. This was during the final year of Defender production. So I ended up organizing a trip for some of them to go to the UK. But I said, ‘If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right.’ I ended up arranging for a Celebration Line tour. We went to Eastnor Castle and spent the day oﬀ-roading at the Land Rover Experience, and we went to the British Motoring Heritage Centre and did a tour there. The feedback I got was just awesome. It’s just not something that most clients would ever think about going to do on their own. “One of the things I‘m looking at doing now is a similar trip for a dozen of my clients next spring, but this time to Germany, with plans to visit BMW in Munich. We’ll do a factory tour of BMW and also spend a day with the BMW Experience driving school before making our way to up past the Nürburgring to attend the TechnoClassica in Essen. If my clients also enjoy this trip, then I’ll likely look to organize a trip to another, diﬀerent location in a year or two. Maybe to Italy? It might be fun for us to visit Ferrari…maybe follow the Mille Miglia around the countryside…we’ll see.” Clearly Will Hedrick has carved out a special niche in the automotive world. More than anything, he enjoys seeing people connect with the car of their dreams, and it’s pretty clear he’ll be around to make sure we can all keep doing that.
IMPORTING A WILL’S TIPS FOR IMPORTING A DEFENDER When it comes to importing a car from overseas, there are countless ways to screw up your odds of a smooth delivery. Doing your homework up front will save both time and money. Here is some advice from Will Hedrick on making the process as pain-free as possible.
There are lots of vehicles out there. Be patient. You don’t want to pick the first one you run across (unless it’s something truly unique). Take your time to find the right vehicle. Spend your money overseas on something structurally and mechanically sound, and then spend your money on cosmetic restoration once you have it here. It will pay you back in the long run.
More often than not, it is less expensive to deal with a potential issue on the other side of the pond than when it arrives here. The cost to fight a seizure case will almost always cost more. Will’s base retainer for a seizure case is $3,500. That nets you 10 billable hours of work. My contacts in the U.K. charge $35 an hour plus expenses for travel and inspection services. It is far less expensive to spend a few hundred for an in-person inspection before purchase and shipping. Addressing an error only after a vehicle lands here in the U.S. is likely to cost into the thousands.
Make sure you’re buying a vehicle that is still configured as it was built. I see a lot of Defender 110s that started out as threedoor models, and at some point they’ve been converted to fivedoors. Those vehicles will get seized and/or turned around when they arrive stateside. NHTSA’s regulation states that a vehicle must be imported in its original configuration. If it started out as a three-door and became a five-door, that’s not its original configuration. Most people don’t know how to decode the VIN number to find out what they’re buying. Never buy a vehicle sight unseen…unless you have a reliable resource that can do it for you. I have people in diﬀerent locations that I can call to conduct an in-person inspection to confirm the vehicle is everything it’s represented to be.
Without the in-person inspection, you’re taking a chance on whether the vehicle is fully compliant. This doesn’t necessarily have to do with its configuration or whether the VIN matches or not. Elsewhere in the world, and particularly in the UK, a lot of vehicles are stolen. This can cause problems not just on export but also on import or when you go to title it. Those vehicles get run through a database to make sure they don’t report as stolen.
CBP is going to assume your vehicle is stolen until you prove otherwise. Get documents for everything. When I present my notes that go with the vehicle for shipment, they’re usually anywhere from 40 to 80 pages. If you’ve done work on the vehicle and you say you’ve replaced the seats, I want to see the receipts for the seats. It’s not just stolen vehicles that CBP is looking for, it’s also looking for stolen parts. It’s up to you to prove that your ownership interest in the vehicle is 100-percent legitimate.
There are a lot of scammers out there professing to sell you something good, especially on eBay. In reality, a lot of what they’re selling should be scrapped. Unfortunately, a fair number of American buyers will overpay for the vehicles given what they are.
Having a reliable and trustworthy local contact that can assist you will often yield significant benefits. Most people prefer to sell to locals in their community, and they will be skeptical of overseas buyers. And, like it or not, if the foreign seller knows you’re American, then more often than not the price on the vehicle will go up. The same is true of the asking prices on vehicles where the seller’s target customer audience is American.
BORDE R CROSSING
Exotic and accessible all at once, a surfing and camping weekend in Baja California makes the perfect adventurerâ€™s getaway.
WORDS Chris Brinlee, Jr. PHOTOGRAPHY Greg Balkin
or several months, I had been on something of a personal campaign to “Celebrate Discomfort.” The celebration nearly came to a spectacular end when, while backcountry climbing in the Canadian Rockies with my partner, I triggered and was subsequently caught in an avalanche that ripped oﬀ the entire snow-covered face of the mountain we were descending on part of Alberta’s Endless Chain Ridge. Despite nearly being wiped 2,000 feet down the side of a mountain to our deaths and having barely enough food to get through the trip, we managed to walk oﬀ the mountainside safely, and within 48 hours of the big event, we were back in Colorado. As a follow-up, I spent the next three weeks ski-touring in the European Alps. Suﬃciently discomforted, what I really needed was a break. Nothing brings comfort like time spent with old friends. Which is why, while still in Europe, I agreed immediately to an invitation to spend a weekend camping with friends in Baja on my return. The call came from my friend Andy Cochrane, marketing director for Oru Kayak, and the plan was simple: Drive down to Baja, hang with him and a few of his friends, and spend a few days surfing, kayaking, and fishing in the azure waters of the Pacific. No avalanches, guaranteed. Baja. Every young explorer between San Francisco and San Diego has probably made the trip as a rite of passage into adulthood. But for this intrepid traveler, it’s still a special place. Geographically, it’s simply an extension of the State of California, but once you cross the border it’s a diﬀerent world. There are few places in North America that you can so easily drive to and experience a near-euphoric sense of freedom, adventure, and escape. For the uninitiated, mention of the place probably conjures up visions
of sketchy nights in Tijuana—the seedy, cartel-ridden border town just south of San Diego. Fair enough; the reputation is well deserved. But venture beyond that and you’ll discover the true nature of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula: a place punctuated by pristine wild beaches, warm and gracious locals, and probably the best tacos in the world. To get there, I’d simply have to find an appropriate rig. While you can make the trip in just about anything with wheels, it’s nice to show up over-prepared. What better way to arrive than by Land Rover? I texted my friend Wes Siler, founder of IndefinitelyWild, shortly afterwards: “Can I borrow the Disco?” “The Disco” in this case happens to be a fairly famous one in outdoor adventure circles. Wes bought the 1997 Discovery I from Sinuhe Xavier, creative director at Overland Journal. Considering the Disco’s owners, past and present, you can imagine how well equipped the vehicle is. Refined over years of ownership by access to the best gear in the industry, Sinuhe outfitted the Disco with just enough gear and hardware as necessary for lightweight, self-contained overland adventures. Nothing is there for show; it’s either functional or it’s gone. Not even a rooftop tent. Instead, a Nemo Wagontop tent lives in back, both lighter and more spacious than the rooftop option, leaving simple kitchen appointments and secure storage as its main improvements. Modestly THIS PAGE The sun rises slowly over the Baja peninsula. OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Surfing in the pacific; our overland steed, Wes’ trusty 1997 Discovery 2.
into Google Maps on your phone, then save that area for oﬄine use. The fun part will be navigating to the coordinates, and then exploring in person to find a suitable spot for camping.
in the middle of Ensenada; in Tijuana, a couple of children were juggling while standing on others’ shoulders. Despite all of that urban commotion, the quality of the main highway (which is a tollway, so be sure to bring some small bills) is superb; drivers seem comically calm compared to those raging through the streets of L.A. The border crossing from California into Baja is easy; you likely won’t even have to stop. You will probably encounter military checkpoints along the highway, but don’t be alarmed—chances are that they’ll just wave you through. The border crossing on return to the U.S. can be a pain, however. Expect to wait anywhere between two and four hours. Don’t try to bring food, animals, or (obviously) people you just picked up back across the border, or it will slow the process down even more. Most people you encounter along the way will speak only Spanish, but a rudimentary vocabulary and some sign language will go a long way. The people are really friendly, and in my experience they are almost always ready to help if anything goes awry. The U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere; most transactions will require cash, the exception being purchases made from chain stores (like Home Depot, or Wal-Mart; yes, they exist and they are also convenient stops for cheap groceries and supplies). Most gas stations, like Mexico’s own Pemex, will accept debit or credit cards too—just be sure to set up a travel plan with your bank before heading south.
WHAT TO EXPECT As its name would suggest, Baja California shares a border with its neighbor to the north; in many ways, the Mexican peninsula shares a lot more with California too, from its Mediterranean climate (which transitions to arid further inland and south) to the proliferation of incredible Mexican food throughout. Make no mistake though; upon crossing the border, it will become very apparent that you have traveled to a totally foreign place. For starters, there’s a certain madness on the streets. Vendors compete for the attention of passers-by, hocking everything from fresh churros and sliced mango to Mexican blankets and copper embossments depicting the Last Supper. Stoplights in the cities are transformed into impromptu performances akin to Cirque du Soleil by truly entertaining performers. We saw one person juggling fireballs while wearing six-foot-tall stilts
WHAT TO BRING The three most important things that you should bring are pretty obvious: your passport, some cash (for small purchases and emergencies, $300 should be more than enough for a long weekend), and the spirit of adventure. These three things alone will get you pretty far. If planning to camp, bring all of the necessary equipment: a tent; a sleeping pad; a sleeping bag, blankets, or a quilt; stove and fuel; cookware and utensils; a knife or axe for processing firewood; and a cooler. It can get pretty windy near the ocean, so pack some extra paracord to guy out your tent. If planning to drive oﬀ road, be sure to pack some overland equipment. A pair of MaxTrax can be a lifesaver in a sticky situation, but a five-dollar shovel from the Home Depot in Ensenada can go a long way too. It’s also a good idea to pack a tire patch kit and a compact air compressor. Mexican law requires that you have special insurance for your vehicle as well. It’s liability only and won’t cover any damages to your vehicle, but it’s a good idea to arrange this beforehand. A quick Google search for “Baja Insurance” will lead to what you need. The two things that you shouldn’t bring for any reason are firearms or ammo. Taking those across the border is one of the quickest ways to spend some time in a Mexican jail.
SHOULD I GO? The answer to this question is a resounding “Yes.” Baja is so incredibly accessible, and the experiences waiting for those who venture south are sure to be memorable. The real question you should ask is, “Why haven’t I gone to Baja yet?” Chances are that Chris Brinlee, Jr. wrote this from the road (or on a boat, plane, or train) while traveling around the globe. Wanna see what he’s currently up to? Follow his adventures and stories on Instagram.
â€œWith the exception of a few local fisherman, we saw no one. Days blended together. We were in paradise and we had it all to ourselves.â€?
They Called it the Rovinâ€™ Rover An intrepid adventurer that has seen the world and has the pictures to prove it.
WORDS Steve Hoare PHOTOGRAPHY Daniel Marcello & Herb Zipkin 55
out for Germany where he had some special modifications made to the brand-new truck by an outfitter long forgotten. Fuel and water capacities were increased with the addition of jerry cans, extending the vehicle’s range significantly in areas where both these commodities would be scarce. Mounted to the front bumper, these additional cans meant the front position lamps and turn signals would need to be relocated; a pair of pods mounted atop the fenders was the typical solution for this common addition. At the same time, safety guards for the headlights and bumper-mounted fog lights were installed to protect against unknown hazards on the open road. A similar treatment was done out back—two additional jerry cans each for water and fuel positioned in custom locking holders. The water tanks were plumbed directly into the truck’s interior for refreshment on the move or while parked. As in the front, this required moving the light clusters to a new, higher location. A rearward-facing spotlight serves double duty as a standard reverse lamp or as a work light at the flip of an override switch. A front-mounted drum winch operates by hand-controlled mechanical linkages from inside the cabin. Interior handles also control a pair of roof-mounted spotlights. Redundant rearview mirrors on both the front doors and the front fenders deliver expanded fields of view.
Redundancy is carried over to the spare tires as well: One is mounted on its traditional perch atop the hood with another located on the rear cargo door. A novel use of aerodynamic science (yes, on an early Land Rover!) is the rear air deflector mounted over the rear door, which helps eliminate dust build-up on the window. A pair of short alloy ladders, mounted one to each side, allow access to the roof while also doubling as sand ladders for recovery. An access door was cut into the left-hand rear tub and a storage container installed for tool storage. By most standards, this expedition vehicle was well prepared for almost any challenge. None of this equipment was terribly exceptional for the type of journey Herb had planned. The hinged turret mounted through the doubleskinned safari roof was rather unconventional, however, even for a safari outfitting. But this turret wasn’t for a gun; instead, it allowed Herb to pop through the roof with his photographic gear (including a handheld movie camera) to capture his memories on film to share with friends and family back home. He also had a dashboard mount made for his movie camera as well as a tripod mount for the rear cargo door. The interior was equally well outfitted for a life of adventure. A pair of fold-down bunks provided sleeping quarters in the rear, opposite a folddown countertop and sink. A custom cabinet provided clean, safe storage
“Soviet authorities somehow missed the concealed rifle compartment as well as the revolver stored beneath the steering column.”
The Dormobile interior conversion changes the first two rows of seats into a rather comfortable bed in a matter of seconds. With custom window coverings and a hot water heater as well, this truck is fully self–sustaining.
for valuables, while a second cabinet was built specifically to store Herb’s audio tape recorder. A pair of reading lamps in back provided ample light inside the cabin, while curtains were fitted to the windows to keep light (and prying eyes) out. At the business end of the cabin, extended instrumentation included an altimeter, a barometer, a compass and a 24-hour clock. An adjustable map light was fitted to aid navigation in the dark. Beneath the driver’s seat was a flashlight mount should illumination be required outside the vehicle, reachable through a special side panel that eliminated the need to remove the seat for access. This spot also held essential tools. Less obvious was the machete sheath on the inside of the passenger bulkhead and the hidden compartment for a rifle beneath the couch. After exploring southern Europe for several weeks, Herb moved on to Egypt and continued south through Sudan and into the Belgian Congo. As he trekked through Africa, it wasn’t unusual for locals to take notice when the Land Rover appeared; after all, in most of these places it was quite rare to see any vehicle let alone one outfitted to cross an entire continent. To Herb’s surprise, a Dutchman once sprang from the bushes in one village, running after the Land Rover, his arms flailing about to catch Herb’s attention. This gentleman had heard of Herb’s imminent arrival and was looking forward to making the acquaintance of an American once again. His previous encounter with a Yank had been with one Theodore Roosevelt, who, before he was president, had passed through on safari in 1909. Along the way, Herb made some modifications to the Rover as he adapted to life on the road. First he altered the windshield sun visor, cutting a relief on the passenger’s side that allowed the full scope of a wide-angle lens to be employed when photographing or filming from the passenger’s seat. Next he added a pair of roof-mounted air horns. More useful in traﬃc than the weak factory tones, they also proved an eﬀective way to remove unwanted monkeys from the roof. His travels continued southward, terminating in Cape Town, South Africa. Upon arrival at the Cape, the Land Rover (along with hundreds of photographs and thousands of feet of movie film) was packed up and shipped back to America. Herb hopped a flight and returned home to resume his normal life.
Bulgaria and into the USSR. Staying only in designated “tourist hotels,” the overnight accommodations were very basic and hospitable, if unimaginative and rather boring. Everything changed on the first day of May 1960. Unbeknownst to Herb, the Soviets had shot down an American U2 spy plane flying in the stratosphere over the Soviet Union. The pilot, Gary Powers, was captured, and the incident triggered some of the most contentious months of the Cold War. As an American within Soviet borders, Herb was arrested and interrogated for 12 hours. While he was being interrogated, the Land Rover was impounded, stripped and searched for evidence of nefarious intentions. Soviet authorities viewed all the film Herb had shot and listened to his audio recordings. What they somehow missed was the concealed rifle compartment Herb cleverly had built into the vehicle’s rear seating area. They also failed to discover the revolver stored inside a special compartment beneath the steering column. Judged to be harmless, Herb was released from custody and freed to continue his educational journey. He headed south into Turkey and on to its capital, Istanbul. Herb had arranged to pick up his mail from the U.S. Embassy there but discovered more than just letters and business correspondence awaiting him. Because of the Powers incident, members of the OSS and CIA greeted him, demanding a detailed debriefing of his time in the USSR, as well as details on anything and everything he’d observed and experienced in the secretive state. This had become a strange trip, indeed. Once again freed of the authorities, he continued east through Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and India, each of these countries commemorated by a hand-painted icon on the front fender as a badge of honor. Crossing from India into Burma, Herb picked up the Ledo Road, sometimes known as the Stillwell Road, after the American General Stillwell. The 1,700-mile road starts in Ledo, Assam, India, and connects to the Burma Road and on to Kunming, China, through northern Burma, now Myanmar. This road was built to help supply China with military supplies during WWII after the Japanese cut oﬀ the Burma Road. Once the war ended, the makeshift route fell into disrepair and the jungle reclaimed countless miles. Herb’s tour of Asia ended in Japan, where legend has it his Rovin’ Rover was the first imported vehicle to be issued a civilian license plate. Many Land Rovers and their owners set out in search of new experiences and exotic destinations in that time before today’s geopolitical complexities made it so diﬃcult to do. Few likely saw as many places as Herb and his Series II, however, not to mention having pictures and movies as proof. Herb passed away in 2008, but not before he put the Land Rover to good use on several coast-to-coast American trips, which his son Eric recalls with excitement. With Herb’s passing, the veteran traveler came under Eric’s stewardship. The storied Rovin’ Rover sat under a cover for a number of years untouched, but Eric has started overhauling most of its vital systems now that his sons are approaching driving age. There’s a possibility Eric may enter it in the Great American Race soon. Few vehicles have driven so much of the planet as this Series II. Still in the family of the original owner, the old rig doesn’t appear to be slowing down, either. We wouldn’t be surprised if, in another half a century, we’ll be telling the next chapter of the adventures and exploits of the Zipkins’ Rovin’ Rover.
NOT SO EASY THE SECOND TIME AROUND It wasn’t long before Herb gave in to the resounding call of the open road; in 1960 he and the Rover headed back to Europe. This time the plan was to head east and explore parts of Asia. But this was 1960, and the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States was heating up. While overseeing additional modifications to the Land Rover specifically for this round of travel, Herb was granted a special visitor visa, allowing him to travel through Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. He was to be part of a so-called “student tour.” Having picked up his Russian minder…sorry, obligatory guide, Herb and the Land Rover rolled through Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, following a special map with only one road marked through East Germany, Poland,
B U I LT
B A C K O N T R e K A labor of love returns a rusted-out champion to its former glory. WORDS + PHOTOGRAPHY Nicholas Bratton
Rovers after exploring the Pacific Northwest and Utah desert in his Discovery II. Impressed by what the vehicle could do without modifications, he sought an older model with a manual transmission — and had no inkling that he would find an uncommon treasure. In March 2012, Chuck came across an unusual listing on eBay. It appeared to be a 1997 Discovery XD, finished in that model’s distinctive AA Yellow paint and equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox. However, the markings weren’t quite right and some of the features were a bit diﬀerent. The ad also listed the truck as a 1996 model. With a bit of research and some calls to Land Rover North America, Chuck confirmed the seller’s assertion that this yellow Discovery was one of ten such examples built specifically for — and used to its full potential in — the 1996 TReK finals. In fact, this particular truck was identified as competitor vehicle #4 from the event. Surprised by the rarity of the find, Chuck bought it sight unseen and had it shipped across the country. This impulsive purchase ignited a five-year quest to restore a piece of Land Rover history. When the #4 TReK Discovery arrived at Chuck’s house, he was crestfallen. The vehicle was in worse condition than he had feared. The seller, an enthusiast living on the Massachusetts coast, was the original owner of the truck and was using it temporarily while restoring a Series III. However, he fell in love with the yellow Discovery and kept it until it no longer passed state inspection. Although the truck drove well, it was heavily corroded from years of exposure to northeastern winters and the salty maritime climate. Recognizing the magnitude of a restoration, Chuck nevertheless determined to breathe back new life into the crumbling champ. Drawing on his expertise with the inner workings of jet liners and an earlier stint as an Army mechanic, he began tearing apart the distressed Disco. Each layer peeled back revealed more damage, including rust that permeated the sills, inner fenders, floors…everything. Despite the carnage, Chuck carried out almost all the repairs himself in his garage using home tools. “I had a lot of late nights and long weekends,” he recalls with a smile. “The bumper is like a unicorn’s horn — these were made specially for this batch of ten trucks, and I had to remanufacture most of it.” Meanwhile, Chuck continued researching the history of his vehicle and the TReK itself, benefiting from the encyclopedic knowledge of Land Rover’s Bob Burns. His job title was a mouthful — Training and Development Manager of Oﬀ-Road Programs for Land Rover North America — but, under the direction of his inventive boss Bill Baker, Burns’ real job was transforming the way the company did business on the continent (see Alloy+Grit, Spring 2017). At a time when marketing romanticized the American SUV craze by perching spotless vehicles in picturesque locations, Bob took a diﬀerent road and developed the TReK challenge, pressing Land Rovers into real action and showcasing their abilities and accessories in a single, dynamic package.
he mid ’90s was a pivotal period for Land Rover in America. After years oﬀering just a single model, the Range Rover, its growing roster of dealerships finally had a full lineup that now included the family-friendly Discovery and the rough-and-tumble Defender. Also in full swing at the time was the high-profile Camel Trophy oﬀ-road competition, which helped shape global perception of Land Rover as a brand for rugged individualists with a thirst for adventure. But, the company still faced an obstacle closer to home: How did it convince the people selling its product that all this adventure stuﬀ wasn’t just marketing hype? The solution, quite simply, was to transform perception into reality. Enter the TReK competition, an event that Land Rover North America launched to bring a taste of the grueling Camel Trophy to dealerships across the continent. The concept was to give sales staﬀ an immersive experience testing the capabilities of the Discovery while fostering teamwork and developing a shared understanding of what Land Rover was all about. Like the Camel Trophy, it involved tasks demanding driver skill, navigation, pioneering, and problem solving — but in the course of just two days instead of two weeks. This contest was not just a team-building exercise; it was about creating a mythos around the Discovery. Land Rover convened the inaugural TReK competition, open to all of its dealers, in two stages. The initial round set teams of three employees from each dealer against other dealers at the regional level, each team driving a Discovery. The winners of the five regional contests advanced to the final, hosted in Georgia on a 300-acre property that belonged to an Atlanta-area dealership owner. This expensive gamble by Land Rover reflected a sophisticated understanding of its sales network and the power of authenticity. If the company’s dealers could channel the spirit of the event through their own experiences with the Discovery, the legend of its capability would be more eﬀectively communicated to potential buyers and thus translate into sales. Fast forward to 2012, when a 38-year-old Boeing aircraft mechanic living near Seattle was on the hunt for a special Land Rover to add to his growing collection. Back in 1996, Chuck Prowse had no idea the TReK competition ever existed, nor did he anticipate its unexpected intersection with his passions. Chuck had fallen in love with Land
OPPOSITE Chuck navigates the trails in Olympic National Forest.
“YOU START A PROJECT LIKE THIS, AND YOU HAVE TO FINISH IT. EACH PART I COMPLETED WAS A STEPPING STONE TO THE NEXT.” For the first TReK competition, Bob commissioned ten stock Discovery XD models — desirable for their basic trim and lack of sunroofs — painted AA Yellow (named for England’s Automobile Association, the equivalent of our AAA) with a full complement of accessories, most available from the factory. These included a Warn winch, Safety Devices roof rack, auxiliary lights, tail light guards, rubber floor mats, seat covers, tool kit, and rear ladder. Special touches included decals, winch bumper with brush guard, black alloy wheels, and even a Land Rover-branded fire extinguisher. Remember, these Discovery models were mechanically identical to versions that customers could drive oﬀ a dealer’s lot. The message was clear: Land Rovers deliver impressive oﬀ-road performance right out of the box. While conceived as a challenge for its dealerships, Land Rover also took the novel step of turning the TReK competition into a media event. In a year when the United States hosted the summer Olympics and NASCAR was building a huge audience through high-speed drama on the track, Land Rover convinced ESPN to film a special on their comparatively low-speed and rather unconventional 4x4 competition. This program introduced Land Rover to a broader audience and boosted the Discovery’s reputation as a highly capable vehicle. In fact, 1996 was a good year for Atlanta in particular. In addition to hosting the Olympics, the Braves went to the World Series, and it was hometown dealership Land Rover North Point that won the inaugural TReK contest – in truck #4, the very vehicle that wound up in Chuck Prowse’s garage. Past glory did nothing, however, to preserve the state of the truck. Chuck was nearly overwhelmed by the pervasive rust. Even when body parts disintegrated in his hands, he maintained the resolve to soldier on with the increasingly complex project. Ultimately he outsourced a few tasks, including replacing the radiator core support, straightening the frame horns, and repainting the roof. “I thought I would need another tetanus shot,” Chuck laughs. “I never want to see another rusty truck again.” When asked if there were any moments when he wondered if he’d gotten himself in too deep, his Army pride bristles at the suggestion. “Never,” he asserts. “You start a project like this, and you have to finish it. Each part I completed was a stepping stone to the next.” Once he had conquered the corrosion, Chuck had a clear vision for
the future of this rare creature, though not as a museum piece or the crown jewel for a private collection. Wanting to keep the appearance as close to original as possible, he decided to leave most of the body panels untouched. The driver’s side rear quarter panel boasts a dent, possibly inflicted in the course of competition. Chuck has grown attached to the faded look of some areas, notably the hood blackout with its missing decal, as a sign of graceful aging. This is consistent with his desire for the truck to proudly wear the patina it has acquired over time. Only the roof has been repainted. The interior, by contrast, escaped the ravages of the environment and is completely original. The floor mats are worn and the seat covers are discolored from many a sweaty back, but this speaks, more than 20 years on, to the durability of the factory accessories. Chuck even has the original toolkit and carry bags made for the event. He drives it weekly, takes it oﬀ road, and goes on trips with the Pacific Coast Rover Club and Northwest Overland Society. “I want to enjoy this truck,” Chuck explains. “I want to save it, but I also want to show it to the world and tell its story. When I bought it I had no idea what the TReK event was, and I figured other people didn’t, either. I feel obligated to preserve this piece of history.” He has added a few personal touches along the way, including a Mantec snorkel, Old Man Emu suspension, and some underbody armor. With the restoration complete, Chuck continues his search for the other nine competition vehicles from the first TReK event to keep track of the survivors. He has located six or seven of them across the country, including one in nearby Portland that a friend of his recently purchased. Truck #4 remains special even among this rarified company, as Land Rover repurposed it as a competition vehicle in the Team USA Camel Trophy selection trials for 1997 — hence the diﬀerent decals on the doors and TReK logo removed from the hood. Chuck is also turning his attention to other projects, including retracing the path of another historic Land Rover event, the Great Divide Expedition, in his 1991 Great Divide Edition Range Rover. It’s hard to imagine which current Land Rover some enthusiast might decide to restore 20 years from now for history’s sake. Perhaps a first-edition Discovery 5? If Chuck has anything to do with it, his 1996 TReK Discovery will still be rock-solid and running strong.
DEFENDER NORTH AMERICAN SPEC 1993â€”1997
One short production run was all it took to create a legend WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOS Tom Blizzard & Land Rover
“The limited availability and one-time oﬀer of the Defender 110 created exclusivity and helped reestablish Land Rover as a soughtafter premium brand in America.”
for Canada, for just a single model year, 1993. They would feature the highest equipment specification yet oﬀered on a Defender and, with power coming exclusively from the same V8 as the Range Rover, would be positioned as a premium lifestyle vehicle. These were not your Welsh uncle’s wheezy little sheep tenders. The limited availability and one-time oﬀer of the 110 created exclusivity and helped reestablish Land Rover as a sought-after premium brand in America. The Defender returned for 1994 though with no pre-set production limits and this time only as a 90-inch softtop. A 90-inch hardtop option was added for 1995; the model sat out 1996 but returned for 1997. After that, changes to American safety standards would have required airbags, an expense Land Rover couldn’t justify for the low-volume vehicle. All told, a little over 7,500 North American Spec Defenders were sold between 1993 and 1997. While those numbers may not seem significant in the grand scheme, simply selling the Defender alongside the Range Rover and the Discovery helped round out the company’s image. The Defender may have been dealership
set dressing to some extent, but it brought shoppers in the door, many of whom probably landed on a more practical Discovery instead. Perhaps more importantly, the Defender helped to authenticate Land Rover’s reputation at a time when Ford was practically giving away Eddie Bauer Explorers and Jeep was peddling countless high-spec Grand Cherokee Limited models. Even today the Defender continues to sell new Land Rovers — and countless other high-end products if you get the right catalogs — by association alone, it’s that powerful an icon for the brand. Here’s a deeper look at the all too brief history of the Defender in North America.
1993 Defender 110 NAS The Defender 110 NAS was previewed to the press in January 1992 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but it was not actually displayed to the public. The company announced that sales would begin in August of that year. Orders streamed in from notable celebrities and other high-profile buyers who didn’t want to miss out on being one of 500, and deliveries began on time later in the summer.
All 500 of these Defenders (535 actually, counting the 25 for Canada plus one prototype and another 9 pre-production models) were identically equipped. Under the hood was a 3.9-liter V8 that produced 180 hp and 227 lbft of torque. This was backed up to a 5-speed manual gearbox exclusively, Land Rover’s own LT77S. Power was split between the front and rear axles by a gear-driven transfer box, the LT230, with both high- and low-range ratios and an open but lockable center diﬀerential, allowing for smooth full-time four-wheel drive. The suspension consisted of live axles front and rear, controlled by tall coil springs and separate shock absorbers. Up front a conventional Panhard rod located the axle laterally, while radius arms managed the vertical travel. The rear suspension was similar, but a center-mounted A-frame acted in place of the Panhard rod. The front axle used the traditional Land Rover swivel-ball constant velocity joints to transmit power smoothly while turning. Four-wheel disc brakes were standard, but ABS wasn’t oﬀered. Tires were skinny 7.5 x 16 Michelin X oﬀ-roaders. Alpine White was the lone color option, and
it was applied to the roof rack and the 16-inch steel wheels as well. Nevertheless, one notable customer talked Land Rover into painting his Defender black before completing his order. You can make those sorts of demands when your name is Ralph Lauren. In addition to the integral roof rack, NAS 110s were also fitted with a rear ladder to access the roof and its standard, removable, full-length roof basket. Up front, a full-width brush guard protected the grille and wrapped around to defend the front fenders and lights from damage. The spare tire was mounted directly to the rear door, just above the factory receiver tow hitch. Lighting was made DOT compliant with the addition of rectangular side reflectors on the body and amber front running lights adjacent to the headlights. The front bumper also contained rectangular turn signals, while out back the NAS model received a cluster of rectangular lamps in place of the Rest of the World (ROW) models’ individual round lamps. A single reverse lamp was mounted in the driver’s side cluster. Inside, the American-spec Defender 110s all featured nine-passenger seating: two individual
seats up front, three places on the secondrow bench, and four individual inward-facing positions in the cargo area, all with seatbelts and trimmed in gray houndstooth Moorland cloth. Between the two front seats was a lockable center storage bin that also contained a Clarion AM/FM/cassette stereo that played through four door-mounted speakers. Gray carpeting was standard, a major upgrade over the rubber mats found in European models, and the headliner was finished in felt. The passenger’s side of the dashboard contained three round analog gauges, unique to NAS models. These included an analog clock plus an oil pressure gauge and an ammeter. Air conditioning was standard, blowing through dash-mounted vents. Despite this apparent luxury, Land Rover still saw fit to equip them all with electric windshield defrosters as well to keep the view ahead clear regardless of humidity. All North American Defender 110s were issued a numbered plaque mounted to the right of the rear cargo door, indicating their sequential build number. The nine preproduction models were unnumbered. All of this could be yours for just $39,900,
“Land Rover decided to try out a more conventional option for the follow-up, this time a softtop Defender 90.”
from a Range Rover as you could get while sharing so much hardware. Nevertheless, Four Wheeler magazine loved it for its rugged simplicity and named it their Four Wheeler of the Year. A total of 1,943 examples of the Defender 90 were built for North America as 1994 models. A late run of 100 special editions were painted Beluga Black and fitted with leather upholstery, along with a stainless steel A-bar on the front bumper and matching running boards. The Surrey top was standard issue on these special editions. Another late-run anomaly was a batch of 65 with removable hardtops, all painted Coniston Green. Though not technically a special edition, this small batch is unique, as the hardtops were neither the fiberglass accessory top that Land Rover would introduce for 1995 nor the full factory station wagon top oﬀered elsewhere in the world. Instead, they used a factory aluminum conversion hardtop. This top utilized a folding upper tailgate in combination with the Soft Top’s standard swinging lower tailgate. All 65 trucks were imported as Soft Tops but had their roofs installed at the port of entry before they were sent to dealerships. As a result, they’re often referred to as Port of Entry or P.O.E. Hard Tops.
1995 Defender 90 NAS For 1995, Land Rover refined its oﬀerings for the Defender line. The V8 engine remained unchanged, and the only transmission was still a 5-speed manual, in this case the R380 that had been introduced at the end of 1994. Minor improvements came in the form of new wiring harnesses that featured weatherproof connectors. The Defender also benefitted from an engine immobilizer, making the vulnerable open-top trucks less easy to steal. One thing the company was beginning to understand, however, was that even hardy outdoorsmen like a break from the weather once in a while. So North America finally got a proper hardtop option. The Defender 90 Soft Top soldiered on largely unchanged, except for revised lighting clusters that brought it more in line with Rest of the World (ROW) appearances. That meant round individual lamps in the rear and the omission of embedded turn signals in the front bumper. At $28,650, the ’95 Soft Top
retained the previous year’s twill-eﬀect vinyl upholstery and minimalist interior protection in standard form. It did, however, gain storage pockets behind the front seats and in the door panels. The big news was the 90 Station Wagon, a proper hardtop in the tradition of the Defender 110 before it. In addition to the fixed aluminum roof with Alpine windows, the Station Wagon also featured a full swinging rear cargo door complete with heated glass and a wiper/washer system. The top also featured a pop-up sunroof in front and sliding side windows in the rear, while the doors were fully framed and included roll-up windows. Regardless of exterior color (Alpine White, Arles Blue, Consiton Green) the roof of each Station Wagon was painted white. Full carpeting was standard on the Station Wagon. The seating was finished in the same gray houndstooth cloth as used in the Defender 110, while two inward-facing rear benches were also standard, accommodating up to four additional people. Although air conditioning remained optional, the Defender 90 in full grown-up trim punched the till at just $32,000, a mere $3,350 more than the bonebasic Soft Top. A total of 1,190 Soft Top D90s were built to North American spec as 1995 models. The Station Wagon, for all its added value and protection, was limited to just 510 examples. There were no special editions of the Defender for 1995.
1997 Defender 90 NAS It’s been suggested that Land Rover missed out on selling the Defender in North America in 1996 because it anticipated changes to U.S. safety regulations for that year that would have made the vehicle impossible to sell. It’s also been said the company was just delaying until they had the automatic transmission ready for market. Either way, the Defender sat out 1996 but came back big for 1997. Once again, the venerable V8 returned to the lineup unchanged, but for ’97 it was hitched exclusively to the ZF 4-speed automatic transmission the company had used seemingly forever in the Range Rover as well as the Discovery, divided front and rear by the trusty LT230 transfer box. Changes otherwise were few and mostly beneath the surface. The air conditioning 77
system, still optional across the board, was revised for better airflow, while the instruments were now electronic instead of mechanically driven, a digital odometer giving away the change. More obvious was the new center console that featured, what else, cupholders. The Soft Top finally got a bit more serious with a standard full-length safari roll cage and complete cloth top. The Station Wagon returned for 1997 unchanged from before except for the improvements noted above. With the beefy ZF automatic now the only transmission, pricing rose to $32,000 for the improved Soft Top while the Station Wagon climbed modestly to $34,500. There was one special edition for 1997, the Defender 90 LE. These were the final 300 Defenders to be oﬃcially imported into the United States by Land Rover. Each one was a Station Wagon finished in Willow Green and fully outfitted with Land Rover oﬀ-road accessories. Equipped essentially the same as the 1993 Defender 110, Land Rover threw the accessories catalog at the last run, including the roof rack, access ladders, front light guards, spare tire cover and countless other bits. The D90 LE, as equipped, came in at a somewhat heady $40,000. The automatic seemed to be the key to opening up the Defender to new buyers, as 2,799 examples were sold, making 1997 the strongest year ever. But it was too little, too late. Starting in 1998, Federal safety standards were finally going to mandate at least a driver’s airbag in all new passenger vehicles. Given the low volume of Defender sales in North America, Land Rover just couldn’t justify developing and certifying a new safety system exclusively for one small market. As proof, the last Defender ever built rolled oﬀ the line without an airbag — and that was in 2016, nearly 20 years later.
BUYING ONE TODAY While the North American-spec Defender may have been something of a tough sales proposition when new, the passage of years has bred desire. The low production numbers for NAS models, combined with the fact Land Rover ended Defender production entirely, has only made these models more valuable. In fact, a Defender 90 NAS in reasonable condition can command as much as its original
Bulkhead rot The only other major steel structure on the Defender is the firewall (in Land Rover terms, the bulkhead). This complex stamping incorporates the vertical firewall, the forward footwells, the door supports, and the windshield base. The basic design is also an evolution of the Series vehicles, right down to the cowl vents that allow fresh air to enter between the bottom of the windshield and the top of the hood. The vents are operated directly by knobs in the dashboard; the action is a simple pivot with locking detents to control the flow. It’s a wholly antiquated ventilation system with predictably modest success at keeping the elements outside when closed. And therein lies the biggest issue with the bulkhead. Water pushes past the seals on the vents and makes its way downward. Wherever moisture travels in the bulkhead, it eventually leads to rust. The vent openings are a good place to start looking for exposure to water; rusted openings and damaged or missing seals on the flaps
almost certainly means a repair or replacement is in order. However, a close inspection of the floor is even more telling, as water from any number of sources — wet shoes, rain, snow — can eat at the lower section of the bulkhead. Depending on the location and extent of the rust, it may be possible to repair sections of the bulkhead and preserve as much of the original piece as possible. Replacing the bulkhead with a complete new piece will be costly, not just because it’s an expensive piece to reproduce, but also because there are few (and dwindling) pieces available. Later-model non-NAS Defenders got a solid bulkhead that eliminated the troublesome fresh air vents. Some restorers and customizers prefer this option even though it’s not period correct. Not only does it significantly reduce the opportunity for water to enter the cabin, these parts are also more readily available. Replacing the bulkhead is no small undertaking, however, as it serves as the cornerstone for all the other bodywork as well as the dashboard. Given the amount of labor
required to change the bulkhead, it is often done as part of a larger restoration or overhaul project, since so much of the truck has to come apart in the process.
Bimetallic corrosion Are you noticing a trend yet? Essentially, wherever there is steel on a Defender, you’re going to get corrosion. The combination of steel substructures and aluminum bodywork creates its own unique problems, most evident in the doors. Beneath the aluminum door skins of every Defender lies a doorframe made of simple square steel stock. Like the other steel components found in the truck, the doorframes are somewhat protected from corrosion before they’re wrapped in shiny aluminum sheetmetal in the factory’s body plant. Wherever steel and aluminum come together and water is introduced, chemistry takes over. The water serves as a catalyst between the two metals, introducing oxygen. The resulting reaction oxidizes the aluminum,
1993 - 1997 DEFENDER â€“ NORTH AMERICA SPEC Dimensions and Capacities Wheelbase (in.) Overall Length (in.) Overall Height (in.) Overall Width (in.) Front Track (in.) Rear Track (in.) Body Type Contruction Curb Weight (lbs.) Turning Circle (ft.) Approach Angle (deg) Breakover Angle (deg) Departure Angle (deg) Ground Clearance (in.) Max Wading Depth (in.) Wheels Wheel Size Std. Tire Size Engine Type Displacement (cc) Valvetrain Valves/Cylinder Power (hp@rpm) Torque (lb-ft@rpm) EPA Economy (Cty/Hwy) Fuel Capacity (Gal) Towing Capacity (lbs.) Transmission Type Transfer Case Suspension Front Rear Brakes Type Interior Seating Capacity
110 NAS (1993) 110.0 181.1 81.3 70.5 90.0 90.0 Aluminum/Steel Body on Frame 4848 42 50 28 26 8.5 20
90 NAS (1994-95) 92.9 160.5 80.2 70.5 58.5 58.5 Aluminum/Steel Body on Frame 3560-3913 40 51 34 35 9.0 20
90 NAS (1997) 92.9 160.5 80.2 70.5 58.5 58.5 Aluminum/Steel Body on Frame 3560-3913 40 51 34 35 9.0 20
16.0 x 6.5 Steel 7.5 x 16
16.0 x 7.0 Alloy 267/75R16
16.0 x 7.0 Alloy 267/75R16
V8 Gasoline 3947 OHV Pushrod 2 180@4750 227@3500 10/12 20.4 7700/5000
V8 Gasoline 3947 OHV Pushrod 2 182@4750 232@3100 13/16 15.6 5000/3500
V8 Gasoline 3947 OHV Pushrod 2 182@4750 232@3100 14/15 15.6 5000/3500
5 Speed Manual Hi/Lo, CDL
5 Speed Manual Hi/Lo, CDL
4 Speed Automatic Hi/Lo, CDL
Coil Springs, Radius Arms Coil Springs, Radius Arms
Coil Springs, Radius Arms Coil Springs, Radius Arms
Coil Springs, Radius Arms Coil Springs, Radius Arms
www.SeriesDefender.com • 202-656-9749 • email@example.com
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RECOVERY BY JACK That jack on your rack is more than just a lifting device. WORDS Steve Hoare PHOTOS Staff
ne of the least expensive, most versatile pieces of equipment you should have in your recovery arsenal is a ratcheting utility jack. Old-timers might call it a “handyman” jack, but today you’re more likely to know it simply as a “hi-lift.” Both Hi-Lift® and Handyman® are trademarked brand names as well as generic terms for a whole class of copycat jacks, but whatever their origins, in the oﬀ-roading world they’re as ubiquitous as power winches—and arguably are the more useful tool. A rugged device thanks to its simplicity, the basic design goes back more than 100 years and over time has received a mere handful of modest improvements. Highly reliable and fully serviceable, the modern version of this type of jack is, when used properly, an extremely useful piece of kit. As a vehicle jack, one of its major advantages is extended range of operation over your vehicle’s typical compact, standard-equipment jack. The basic bottle jack in your Land Rover
tool kit is designed to provide enough lift to raise a tire on level ground oﬀ the pavement for a typical tire change. That amounts to a matter of just a few inches. In contrast, the HiLift® jack we’re using to illustrate this article comes in lengths ranging from 36 to 60 inches and is a must for vehicles with modifications that make a factory jack essentially useless, including lifted suspensions or taller tires. Unlike that factory jack, a ratcheting utility jack can apply force in either direction; that is, it can spread or compress. Also, the jacking head accepts a variety of attachments to greatly expand its versatility and functionality. Further accessories convert the basic ratcheting capability of its simple vertical action to uses ranging from a hand-operated winch to a tire-dismounting tool. In many ways, the Hi-Lift is the Swiss Army Knife® of your oﬀ-road recovery kit. Below are some of the ways to get the most out of perhaps the most useful tool you’ll own for serious oﬀroading. 83
“Unlike your factory jack, a utility jack can apply force in either direction and also accepts a variety of attachments to greatly expand its versatility.”
CONVENTIONAL VEHICLE JACK The jack has the ability to lift through an extremely high range, allowing you to lift out of deep ruts or to clear large obstacles on the trail. Depending on the placement of the vehicle and access to jacking points, there are a number of ways to lift the vehicle vertically. You should always seek the most solid footing on which to position the jack, keeping in mind the direction the vehicle will shift once it becomes lifted. The standard jack base will work well on hard-packed trail and asphalt, but softer surfaces like sand or gravel will require a jacking pad with a broader footprint. Plastic base plates are available from Hi-Lift (as well as from other jack manufacturers), but in a pinch a sturdy piece of lumber or plywood can oﬀer improved footing as well. Be careful when using logs or stones found on the trail, as they could shift or disintegrate under the vehicle’s weight once lifted.
For a tire change, you’ll want to lift from a solid chassis attachment point. This could be a frame rail, a heavy-duty bumper (not the factory bumpers, however), heavy-duty rock sliders, or the receiver hitch. Avoid lifting at suspension points, however, as these components may shift, especially when torquing wheels oﬀ or on. Lifting the vehicle at these points can also be eﬀective extricating the front or rear of the vehicle out of trail ruts, or lifting an axle, diﬀerential, or chassis member high-centered on logs, stumps, or rocks. Once elevated, rocks or logs can be placed under the wheels to raise the vehicle oﬀ the obstacle. Otherwise, the vehicle can be intentionally pushed laterally on the jack to shift it sideways in order to clear the obstacles below. Before pushing the vehicle oﬀ the jack, however, be sure there are no other obstacles the vehicle will fall upon. In tight spaces with no room 84
to turn around, it is also possible to use the jack in the same way to turn a vehicle around within its own length. One particular application where the extended range of the Hi-Lift is ideal is using it to raise the vehicle high enough to reseat unbound coil springs when they become unseated from overflexing. As previously mentioned, be sure the vehicle is fully secured before getting anywhere near the vehicle. Under no circumstances should you perform service operations beneath the vehicle without the jack and vehicle being fully supported.
VEHICLE WINCHING For any number of reasons, your truck can become stuck on the trail. It’s one of the challenges we enjoy about exploring oﬀ-road. A power winch is an ideal companion in these situations, but not everyone is equipped with one, and sometimes they just aren’t reliable.
Follow Our LED Forget everything you know about candles and watts. Relative to other major automotive systems, lighting technology has progressed at a comparatively slow pace, with few advances—though each of those steps forward was extremely significant. Early on, gas lamps were perched here and there, carried over from the days when automobiles still shared the roads with horse-drawn carriages. Then came the great leap with incandescent lighting, which is still the dominant technology—except for the headlights. There’s a little more to the story when it comes to forward lighting. The advent of tungstenhalogen bulbs in the 1960s improved lighting eﬃciency and produced a brilliant white light ideal for headlamps and foglamps. By the 1990s, high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps produced even more light with less energy, and without a metal filament to burn up they promised longer life as well. Because they were also expensive, the signature blue cast they threw became a status symbol, at least for the 18-24 demographic. But while the aftermarket was scrambling to make HID retrofit kits for Civics and Jettas, the industry was already onto the next big thing, LEDs. Light-emitting diodes were first developed in the early 1960s and initially were used in small electronic devices. Their first automotive application was in the compact brake lights used for the center high-mounted module that became mandatory on passenger cars in 1986. It wasn’t until the turn of the twenty-first century, however, that the technology was adapted for use in headlights. Think of LEDs as the new HIDs. Naturally, the technology has spilled over into the aftermarket, where every lighting manufacturer worth its salt is producing replacement and auxiliary lamps for every application it can. But what exactly is an LED, and is there any benefit to spending the money to upgrade an older vehicle? More importantly, is it safe or even legal to retrofit LED bulbs to lamps not originally designed for them? 88
Choosing the right lamp for your needs Before you start shopping for LED lamps, you’ll need to determine just what it is you want to light up. Do you need a work light that only requires a field 50 feet deep, or are you looking for flamethrowers that will light up a mile of desert nightscape? They all look bright when you stare into them at the outfitter’s shop, which, without going all Dr. Oz on you, probably isn’t the best way to judge, but you will need to know their illuminance at the distance they’ll be expected to cover. Forward vehicle lighting generally comes in four categories: headlights (which have very specific guidelines for light projection), foglights (made to cast light a short distance but low and wide), driving lights (designed to illuminate the full scope of a roadway at distances beyond the range of traditional high-beam headlights), and pencil-beams (longdistance but narrow beams). There are LED applications from a variety of manufacturers that cover all of these, but, again, not all are created with the same quality of materials. Most top manufacturers will publish their illumination patterns (including distances) for reference. They should also be able to provide specs on Lux at standard distances. Examine the quality of the optics (glass vs. plastic lenses, reflector brilliance, lens aperture, etc.) before making a final decision. Better still, see what works in the real world by sitting behind lights already installed on another vehicle. Another consideration is LED replacement bulbs for existing lamps. These will almost always produce more light with less power, but there is no guarantee the light will be accurately projected to where it’s supposed to go. That’s because a lamp deigned for a halogen bulb has reflectors and/or lens patterns optimized to capture the light coming oﬀ a wire filament in a very specific location in the housing. LED replacement bulbs are small arrays of cells on a central circuit board. Because the individual elements are often spaced apart and situated typically on flat
surfaces, the light output is less even, resulting in hot (bright) spots and cool (dark) spots on the road ahead. Be aware that even though some of these may be “direct-fit” replacements, it doesn’t make them DOT compliant. With forward lighting, you’ll also want to consider color temperature, indicated by the lamp’s Kelvin rating. Since LEDs can be tuned for color, countless options abound. Natural daylight falls between about 5000 and 6500K, so lamps within that range are easier on our eyes. However, warmer light (in the 3000-3500K range) renders contrast better, with less washout in details. That’s particularly important in low-contrast conditions like fog, snow and rain, explaining the rationale behind yellow foglights (and France’s former requirement for yellow headlights). For task lights, distance is often less of a concern. An LED spotlight is perfect for lighting up the hitch area, for instance, letting you confidently hook up a trailer in the dark. The multiple-array LED light bars made popular in recent years are great for illuminating a campsite or lighting up the trail immediately around the vehicle, making night runs both more exciting and safer. Because of the limitations of their optics, they don’t generally make good forward lights, despite being mounted on the roofs, hoods and front bumpers of many oﬀ-road vehicles. They will, however, make a whole lot of light immediately in front of the vehicle, which is fine for trails but a nuisance to other drivers on the road. Finally, there are accessory lights. LED bulbs are sensible upgrades to parking lights, turn signals, license plate lights, and the interior lamps. They’re brighter, use less energy and will probably outlast the vehicle you put them in. Finally, without going all Chief Dan Mathews on you, they also won’t get you in trouble with other drivers or the law. “10-4, 21-50 out.”
Lumens Per Watt Rating
Color Temperature Chart
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BREAKING THINGS TO FIX THEM 2000 Discovery II Bryan Joslin
When Alloy+Grit decided to transform my personal Discovery project vehicle into the coveted prize of a reader sweepstakes, the main priority was to enhance its oﬀ-road capabilities without sacrificing any of its family-friendly qualities. I’m a big fan of having a vehicle that I can drive every day (for the usual chores assigned to a motorized dad) and then pack up for a weekend away. And while I enjoy getting
out to club trail rides and oﬀ-road weekends, I’m more of a traveler than a wheeler. Safety and reliability, though, will be no less important for this build than achieving greater functionality. And the work has already started. As luck or misfortune would have it, just before we started digging into the fun stuﬀ, a weekend in the woods reminded us we should start with a detailed assessment of, well, everything under the Discovery’s skin as well as some much-needed routine maintenance. Bouncing through the Poconos on unimproved trails, it seems, is an excellent way to deform the rear suspension’s Watt’s link bushings as well as untie the front tie rod ends (not a completely accurate description of the problem). Nothing broke on the trail, though. In fact, it was a couple days later before I noticed a clunking sound from the rear suspension when backing up on a gravel driveway. The Disco still tracked straight, but any light lateral movement served an aural reminder that something back there would need to be addressed before any modifications could be installed. The first step was fitting a slew of new 94
suspension bushings from British parts supplier Bearmach, setting a solid foundation for the next phase, a suspension lift. The plan is to install two-inch taller springs in the front and two-inch lift mounts in the rear (so that we can retain the factory rear air springs), along with a set of heavy-duty shock absorbers. Okay, I hear the screaming: “Why in the name of coiled steel would you keep the air springs?” A few reasons. First, I actually prefer the way the Disco rides on airbags. I’ve owned a coil-sprung Disco II as well, and the air springs ride better. Second, both the rear bags were replaced recently with new components from Arnott, and because they were replaced before their slow leaks became gushers, the pump was never overburdened and thus continues to perform reliably. Finally, I really like the functionality of an adjustable suspension, especially on a vehicle that serves multiple duty. When I filled it with 40 boxes of magazines (roughly 1,500 pounds) to drive from upstate New York to Philadelphia, its back end went from a tail-dragger to proud and perky in just a couple minutes. And on the same trip that wrecked my suspension bushings,
TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK 1959 Series II 88” + ToyLander 2 Christopher Holewski
Tackling two project vehicles while moving into a new house has been, to say the least, a struggle. Nevertheless, a few precious hours left at the end of my workdays have given me time to make some progress on both the Series II and the ToyLander. The Series II has already made itself at home inside my new garage, backed into position so its nose is facing the garage door. The first priority is getting the engine running, and I’ve removed the hood and both front wings for better access to the bay. For the components needed, Alloy+Grit has accepted the assistance of established British parts distributor Bearmach (bearmach.com), which is currently expanding its oﬀerings stateside both directly and through a number of reputable Land Rover specialist retailers. Its catalog oﬀers all the parts needed to bring my truck back to life, and the first shipment— basic stuﬀ to refresh the ignition system (spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap, 96
points, etc.)—began its way across the pond from England as Alloy+Grit went to print. While overhauling the engine, I’ll also need to address the first stages of restoration by draining and replacing all of the fluids, starting with the gasoline. The truck sat for at least five years before I bought it (likely more if I’m being realistic), so any fuel left in the tank is well on its way to becoming varnish. I’ll be draining the tank and using a chemical fluid to clean and de-scale the inside surfaces before relining it with a sealant. That way I’ll know, when I eventually start the engine, it’ll be getting clean, fresh gasoline. With the front wings oﬀ, I’ve gotten a better look at the frame and its expected rust— which thankfully appears to be limited to nonthreatening surface corrosion. A few hours of wire-brush work, a rust sealant and chassis paint should ensure the chassis remains impervious to further oxidation for years to come. I’m still hoping the truck will be running
1993 – 1997: Jungle Fever? When it came to enticing American buyers, Land Rover got cheeky while playing up the Defender’s reputation as a vehicle suited for life in the world’s most remote corners. 98
A free preview of the Summer 2017 issue of Alloy+Grit, North America's Independent Land Rover Magazine. Not all content is visible. Full dig...
Published on Jul 21, 2017
A free preview of the Summer 2017 issue of Alloy+Grit, North America's Independent Land Rover Magazine. Not all content is visible. Full dig...