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FALL 2017

CONTENTS FALL 2017 Series 1 / Issue 4


2018 RANGE ROVER VELAR This handsome newcomer fills the gap with style 38 BUILT

MLO’S L320 RANGE ROVER SPORT Main Line Overland elevates a Supercharged Sport 44 CLASSIC

EARLY SERIES I 80-INCH One of the first in the States in now part of the family




RANGE ROVER CLASSIC 2-DOOR A very personal interpretation of a noteworthy Classic 60 ADVENTURE

ROVERLANDING EXPEDITION NORTH Arizona to Alaska and back in 30 days 69 PERSONA

THE ENIGMATIC WORLD OF PT SCHRAM Equal parts shadetree mechanic and philosopher 74 SERIES GUIDE

DISCOVERY I 1994-1999 A guide to Land Rover’s iconic family adventure vehicle 60







Allow us to get philosophical

Products for a life of adventure

Breaking down complex matters







Land Rover world news

Land Rovers 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 America’s Independent Land Rover Magazine

FALL 2017 Series 1 / Issue 4

Publisher Bryan Joslin

Creative Director Daniel Marcello

Editor in Chief Stephen Hoare

Art Director Christopher Holewski

Copy Editor Greg N. Brown Contact Alloy+Grit Magazine PO Box 5043 New Britain, PA 18901

Photographers Nick Dimbleby John Edelmann Andrew Ling Bryan Minear Kirk Monhay Dave Smith Ed Watson

General Contact

Cover Photo Daniel Marcello

Subscriptions/Change of Address

This magazine is enhanced with Augmented Reality

We encourage responsible off-highway driving

Use your mobile device to unlock additional content whenever you see this logo. Simply download the free AURASMA app from your app store, subscribe to the official Alloy+Grit channel (AlloyandGrit), and scan the tagged images throughout the magazine to access exclusive features like videos, photo galleries, sound clips and more.

Maintaining access to natural areas by vehicle requires cooperation between drivers and landowners. Please respect natural resources and wildlife by driving on existing trails, moderating speed on loose surfaces, being mindful of the environment when crossing water, and leaving behind no litter or waste.

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Alloy+Grit is a trademark of Alloy Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions in whole or in part without written consent is prohibited. Alloy+Grit is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alloy Publishing Group, Inc.


EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER. If you’ve been with Alloy+Grit from the beginning, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that adventure is a consistent theme. Adventure is, after all, at the root of our shared passion for Land Rovers. It’s a vital element that ties the marque’s past to the future, regardless of how the hardware may have changed and the lines softened over the years. Of course, it’s easy for Land Rover enthusiasts to define adventure solely in the context of the vehicles themselves, that the rock crawling, winching, mud bogging, and back-road exploration is the full extent of the adventure. But I think we often overlook the entire meaning of the word. It’s about so much more than just driving somewhere we’ve never been or arriving at a destination that challenges vehicle or driver – or both – simply to get there. It’s been suggested that true adventure requires the threat of death, or at least of a lifealtering injury. That may be fine for adrenaline junkies, but I contend there’s a better, easier path to adventure: Leave your vehicle and experience something unfamiliar – a new touch, a new smell, a new flavor, a new accent, even an entirely new language. But to do that requires undivided attention on the real, live experience in front of you. At least that was my thought as I watched

my daughter and my wife exploring a creek bed near the Delaware Water Gap over the Independence Day weekend. My wife, an environmental educator by profession, was tuned in to the native sounds of the forest like I’m tuned in to exhaust notes at a car show. My daughter, fast approaching her twelfth birthday, was knee-deep in the flowing water, her eyes searching the current for crayfish and frogs. While they were both at the wheel of some powerful engine of discovery, I was, sad to admit, kind of just along for the ride. Until, that is, my daughter pointed out something extraordinary, resting on a high spot in the middle of the creek. A stone about the size of a football, split down the middle, the ancient fossil of a leaf long ago encased in sediment. We’d walked a mile and a half on a rough trail to get to this revelation in rock, and it was purely by accident. It would have been easier to simply park at the visitor’s center, check out the curated displays, and take a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk paths. But, we wouldn’t have seen any of the special wonders we were discovering off the beaten path. I heard it echo in my head. That thought. That word. Discovery…the true goal of adventure. I’ve long believed that “Discovery” is the most brilliant name any marketing gurus could ever have hoped to apply to a vehicle intended


“Adventure is about doing things you could never have imagined doing…it’s all about discovery.” for the pursuit of family adventures. Truly genius. It speaks genuinely and concisely to the spirit of the Land Rover brand and the model it embodies like no other label ever could (No need to get defensive, Defender defenders; you’ve got it easy compared to Evoque owners). Given the insight into adventure derived from my family’s outing, it’s appropriate that this issue’s Series Guide looks at the first generation of the Discovery, the foundation for a model range now synonymous with Land Rover, and one that continues to deliver on the promise of family adventure. Thanks to my wife and daughter for slowing me down long enough to recognize that connection. Don’t let a trail ride be the limit of your adventure. Let it be the beginning. Get out and discover.

THE BRIT Steve Hoare

INNOVATE OR DIE I’ve already lost track of how many times I’ve heard that the new Discovery looks like this SUV or that crossover. Granted, traditionalists are often quick to write off Land Rover’s newest offerings without so much as a second glance, but by now we should all know to look deeper, to investigate what lives beneath those sleek alloy wrappers. After all, Land Rover’s innovation and improvements reach back to its very roots. Land Rover’s original parent company, Rover, began in 1877 when John Kemp Starley had an idea for a safer bicycle. He got his start repairing and modifying sewing machines for his uncle’s Coventry Sewing Machine Company, which eventually branched out into the bicycle business that built a penny-farthing, that awkwardly tall Victorian classic that kept surgeons busy mending broken bodies. Starley’s solution (together with William Sutton, with whom he started the Starley & Sutton bicycle company) was what we now consider the common bicycle: a triangular frame with wheels of equal size and pedals driving the rear wheel. Originally designed in 1885, it was known as the Rover Safety Bicycle. So, in a nod to Land Rover’s ancestry, it might be nice to give the old “Rover wave” when you next see a cyclist on the road or trail. Shortly after Starley’s death in 1901, the Rover Cycle Company built its first motorcycle. The natural progression in those days of mechanical simplicity was to move on to automobile production, which soon followed in 1904. By the mid 1920s, Rover bikes and motorcycles were out of production, but its cars were earning quite a reputation for quality.

The leadership of one Spencer Wilks saw the company through the tough years between the Great Depression and WWII. During the war, Rover was secretly involved in jet engine development. Though it deferred the aircraft engine business to Rolls-Royce, it gleaned valuable knowledge that went into gas turbine development for road use instead, leading to the world’s first gas turbine car, Rover’s JET1, which in 1952 set a world speed record of over 152 mph! To help get the devastated nation back to work following the war, Wilks and his brother Maurice conceived what was to be a stop-gap vehicle, a so-called “Land Rover” utility based upon the American military’s Jeep. With steel in short supply, they built their new vehicle from Birmabright, an aluminum alloy that wouldn’t corrode from farmer’s fertilizers or the wet British weather. Other innovations included freewheel gearboxes that would disengage drive to the front axle when coasting downhill, allowing for a permanent four-wheel drive system without transmission “wind up” and delivering better fuel consumption. A star was born. Fast-forward to today’s Land Rover. Construction now uses aluminum and resin composites, and, in a technique borrowed from the aircraft industry, the sub-assemblies are riveted and heat-treated for superior bonding, high strength and low weight. The bodywork also continues to get lighter with each new Land Rover. In fact, so much aluminum alloy is now used that Land Rover looks as if it’s returning full circle to that first utility vehicle. Progress is even more apparent inside, where the touch-screens of current models


“Perhaps give the old “Rover wave” when you next see a bicycle on the road or trail.” resemble space shuttle gadgetry, and, unlike the sparse center dash of the original Series One, allow drivers to control a much wider range of settings for such amenities as climate control and entertainment systems. Further innovations just seeing the light of day include obstruction detection. Using multiple ultrasonic sensors placed around the vehicle, it informs the Terrain Response system to adapt automatically to the landscape, adjusting the vehicle’s speed to maintain an even keel without compromise to passenger comfort. As for the future? Sure, I’m as rooted in the company’s heritage as anyone, but I’m also excited about such forthcoming features as central tire inflation (on the new Defender, perhaps?) and brake fluid temperature monitoring (valuable on future high-performance SVR derivatives). Land Rover continues to push boundaries, filing more than 100 patent applications a year. How about precise range prediction for electric vehicles, hybrid or otherwise? I wish only that John Starley could be there to see how his innovative utility vehicle has blossomed into a veritable garden of delights. Let’s all give him an old Rover wave in appreciation.





Discovery SVX the Most Extreme Discovery Yet Land Rover quieted all concerns the new Discovery has gone soft when it revealed the new SVX at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 12. Based on the all-new

for the Discovery SVX will come from a 525-hp version of the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 found in the Range Rover and Rover Sport. Off-road hardware includes front and rear skid plates, exposed recovery hooks rated for more than six tons, and an integrated electric winch in the rear bumper. A pair of LED light pods sits at the leading edge of the roof for additional visibility in poor conditions; shielding the driver and front passenger from their glare is a black-out panel at the back of the hood.

fifth-generation Discovery, the SVX is aimed at traditional off-road enthusiasts. Boasting a 525-horsepower supercharged V8, lifted body and suspension, and 20-inch off-road tires, the SVX is the first Discovery to be enhanced by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division. To achieve additional ground clearance, the SVO team first lifted the body on its subframe mounts. The four-corner air suspension was then modified with long-travel shocks and revised control arms. Finishing the platform are 32-inch Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires in a 275/55R20 fitment, mounted to unique forged aluminum alloy wheels.

The SVX is shown in satin-finish Tectonic Grey paint. A “Dynamic” grille and side vents in Narvik Black accent the exterior, along with silver-finished roof rails. The interior is trimmed in Lunar and Light Oyster leather with Rush Orange accents, and the seats include perforated inserts with the model’s signature “X” motif. Land Rover will begin production of the Discovery SVX in 2018 and it will go on sale as a 2019 model, including in North America. Each one will be hand-built at the SVO Technical Center. Pricing has not been announced yet, but given the specification and hand-built nature, this will be a very special vehicle indeed. Interested enthusiasts are encouraged to register at to receive further information as it becomes available.

The Discovery SVX introduces Hydraulic Active Roll Control, designed to allow for increased wheel articulation on rough terrain while reducing body roll and harshness on-road. A specially tuned Terrain Response 2 system optimizes offroad traction through the locking center and rear differentials. The standard Drive Select rotary dial for gear selection has been replaced with a more traditional pistol grip lever for better feedback during demanding driving situations. Power 9


LATEST REPORT ON THE DEFENDER It has been six years already since Land Rover gave us the first glimpse of the future of the Defender with its controversial DC100 concept vehicle, and nearly two years have passed since production of the original Defender ended. The good news is the DC100 does not represent the next iteration of the iconic lineage; the bad news is we’ll have to wait at least another year to find out the full details of the next Defender, and even longer before we see it on the road. Sources tell us the new Defender will arrive in the 2019 calendar year. We’ve heard conflicting reports as to whether it will be unveiled next October at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, or in March of 2019 at the Geneva Motor Show. Either way, we currently expect a fall 2019 market launch (including North America), and the truck will likely make its big-screen debut in the unnamed twenty-fifth James Bond film scheduled for release on November 8, 2019, with Daniel Craig reprising the role. Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern has stated the new design will not be retro-styled but

rather will be a fresh interpretation that honors the Defender’s legendary capability and durability. Multiple body configurations, including opentop and hardtop bodies, are expected in at least two different wheelbases. We anticipate a wide range of options will allow buyers to choose from a very basic “utility” specification (at least in some markets) all the way to a highly personalized “luxury statement” and everything in between.

transfer cases should appear across the lineup as standard equipment. Dynamic capabilities, we’re told, will surpass that of any previous Defender.

The next Defender will be based on an all-aluminum unibody structure, sharing major systems with the current Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Discovery models. That means independent front and rear suspensions with either steel coils or air springs. Engines will include turbocharged 4-cylinder gas and diesel options, including plug-in hybrid versions for extended range, and likely the supercharged gas V6 and turbocharged diesel V6 currently found in other Land Rover models. Manual transmissions are expected to be standard on the non-hybrid 4-cylinders, though the V6 models and hybrids will likely see automatics only. Two-speed

One detail we’re uncertain of is whether Land Rover will stretch the Defender “family” to include a compact variation as has been done with its other two vehicle families, Range Rover (with the Evoque) and Discovery (with the Discovery Sport). A less expensive, urban-focused Defender would likely sell well, but it also could effectively tarnish the authenticity of the Defender name. If Land Rover should decide to launch a second model range, it would probably happen a year or two after the debut of the full-size Defender.


Finally, don’t be surprised if Land Rover pulls out all the stops by offering a full range of add-ons directly from the factory. The team in charge of development knows personalization and maximum functionality are keys to the Defender’s appeal, and we suspect they’ll want to cash in on that from the start.


REBELLE RALLY 2017 The second running of the all-women’s Rebelle Rally off-road navigation rally will kick off on October 13 in Lake Tahoe and will finish near San Diego on October 20. Once again, two-woman teams will compete for top honors as they navigate an unfamiliar sevenday trek through the California and Nevada deserts using only maps and compasses to find their way. [See Alloy+Grit, Spring 2017, for our coverage of last year’s event.] Last year’s inaugural Rebelle Rally saw thirty-six teams compete in the 4x4 class and another six teams compete in the crossover class, all using mostly stock but entirely street-legal vehicles. The grueling event challenged vehicles and teammates alike, but everyone managed to finish despite some obstacles. This year’s event has added a new element with the addition of the “4030” designation. Conceived as a way to honor vintage vehicles at least forty years old

(and playing to the sentiment that “forty is the new thirty” among certain competitors), those competing in qualifying vehicles will receive special “4030” crests for their trucks and team jackets for the driver and navigator, though they will not be broken out for scoring purposes. Even if you can’t drive the Rebelle Rally, you can

SPOT US AT OVERLAND EXPO EAST 2017 Alloy+Grit will be on hand at Overland Expo East in Asheville, North Carolina, September 29 through October 1, once again at the Biltmore Estate. Our own Bryan Joslin will be on hand to cover the event. In addition to checking out the latest in overland travel gear, he will be there in search of unique Land Rovers and their owners to cover in future issues of the magazine. Find Bryan on the show field (the Alloy+Grit logo on his shirt and jacket will be your clue) and show him your Land Rover key to receive a special gift. For more details about Overland Expo East, visit 11

follow along in real time. Each vehicle is equipped with satellite tracking devices, and progress can be viewed on the Rebelle Rally website throughout the event. Daily standings will also be posted as they’re tabulated each day. For more information or to follow the rally, go to


Social & Driving Events A selection of upcoming Land Rover enthusiast events in North America. September 28 – October 1, 2017

October 13-15, 2017

November 4-5, 2017

Vermont Overland Rally

URE 14

Guy Fawkes Rally

Reading, VT

Uwharrie National Forest, NC

Cooperstown, NY September 28 – October 1, 2017

October 14, 2017

November 11, 2017

Overland Expo East

Series In The City

Hassayampa Box Canyon Trail Run

Asheville, NC

New York, NY

Wickenberg, AZ September 29 – October 1, 2017

October 14, 2017

NCLRC Fall Rally

Harquahala Peak Trail Run

November 11-13, 2017

Hollister, CA

Phoenix, AZ

Rovers on the Rocks 9 Rauch Creek, PA

September 30, 2017

October 21-22, 2017

Hill Country Rover Rally

ROVERS Club Fall Robesonia Trials

Marble Falls, TX

Robesonia, PA

November 18-19, 2017

Last Chance Canyon Run Johannesburg, CA

October 5-8, 2017

November 3-5

December 2, 2017

Mid Atlantic Rally (MAR)

Arizona Land Rover Rally

Sunflower Mine Trail Run

Goldfield, AZ

Phoenix, AZ

Pembroke, VA

ALLOY+GRIT NOW AVAILABLE AT BARNES & NOBLE We are proud to announce that starting with this issue select Barnes & Noble Booksellers will now carry Alloy+Grit on their newsstands. Even if you’re already a subscriber, you can now direct fellow Land Rover enthusiasts to your local B&N store to pick up their own copy (while politely asking for yours back). Availability is based on individual store orders, and not all locations may stock it. Please request it if you can’t find it on the rack. Of course, you can still buy subscriptions and single copies of Alloy+Grit, including back issues, directly at 12


Wha t a re y ou w a i ti n g f o r? Expert driving instruction course built by Land Rover Specially constructed adventure bike training tracks 390+ different skills classes & seminars for 4WD & motorcycle adventuring, from first aid to outdoor cooking to advanced recovery, riding, and driving—480 session-hours taught by the world’s overlanding experts 300+ exhibitors, including authors & filmmakers Local food, the Overland Film Festival, & more Day passes or Overland Experience packages Onsite camping

Free daycare




S E P T 2 9 – O C T 1 , 2 01 7 ASHEVILLE, NC, USA At the Biltmore Estate

MAY 18 – 20, 2018 FLAGSTAFF, AZ, USA At Fort Tuthill County Park

Ov e r l a n d E x p o . c o m Photo top: Classic at the Canyon, sunset, by Anthony Sicola. Photo, inset: by Henri Danen.

OverlandJournal-17_OverlandExpo2017-18.indd 1

5/29/17 4:58 PM



One of the biggest Land Rover events each summer is the Land Rover National Rally, hosted by the Solihull Society based in Colorado. The 2017 rally was based in the mountains southwest of Denver in the mining town of Leadville the highest incorporated city in the US at 10,152 feet. First settled in the 1860s, the surrounding mountains have yielded gold, silver, tin, lead, zinc and other valuable elements, but this year saw a run on aluminum and steel as Land Rovers rolled in.

Hall of Fame and Museum and included the opportunity to wander through the exhibits and see examples of mining practices and equipment over time. The vendor day and BBQ took place at the Leadville Fish Hatchery, an 1890s Victorian-style building located a couple of miles southwest of town. Judge Neal Reynolds, the guest speaker at the awards banquet on Friday and a local historian and fifth-generation Leadville resident, delivered an entertaining and insightful talk about the history of Leadville, its mines, and some of the characters who called Leadville home.

Needless to say, the natural terrain provided the perfect playground for serious off-roading. Some of the trails once served as roadbeds for the narrow gauge and tram gauge rail lines that served the mines and mills.

In total, 106 people driving 58 trucks made the trek to Leadville, some from as far as the UK. The location of next year’s rally has not been announced, but it’s certain to continue the tradition of placing Land Rover enthusiasts in some of the most scenic and challenging terrain in the US.

Colorado Mountain College served as the check-in point as travelers arrived for the week-long rally. A number of other key locations added context to the event locale. The members’ reception was held nearby in the National Mining 14





Canada’s Ottawa Valley Land Rover Club (OVLR) held its 34th Annual Birthday Party with a long weekend of camping and off-roading near Maberly in southeast Ontario in late June. A large gathering that always draws a huge collection of classics (Land Rovers and enthusiasts alike), this year’s event was no exception. The long weekend kicked off on Thursday, when most of the arrivals rolled in. Friday and Saturday were focused on off-roading excursions. Heavy rains leading up to the weekend ensured plenty of challenges on the trails, with runs taking place on various routes ranging from mild to severe. The evenings’ activities centered around fireside socializing and shared meals. A movie night on Saturday entertained the kids (and some adults) while a number of drivers hit the trails for a nighttime run. On Sunday, before everyone broke camp to head home, prizes were raffled and handed out. Next year marks 35 years for the club, one of the oldest and largest in North America. The 2018 OVLR Birthday Party promises to be another big one. 16



Several members of the Northern California Land Rover Club (NCLRC) headed into the Sierra Nevada Mountains over the weekend of August 11-13 to check out meteor showers in the unpolluted night skies north of Truckee, CA. A family-focused weekend, the trip was designed with novice drivers and unmodified trucks in mind, but nevertheless delivered on the spirit of adventure. The group camped at White Rock Lake, which offers non-wheelers a chance to swim, fish or hike. Saturday night was the peak of meteor activity, with the parent comet (109P/Swift/Tuttle, if you’re curious) putting on a show for the gathered group. 17



The Summer Picnic has been a tradition of the Minnesota Land Rover Club (MNLR) since its inception in 1984. This year’s event took place August 12-13 at the Gilbert OHV Park in Gilbert, MN. While the picnic changes venues every year, this off-road park is part of the fabric of the club; run by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, MNLR members have played a role in its development through planning, legislation, and even tree removal and trail clearing. A wide variety of Land Rovers and their owners showed up to run the trails and camp as well as socialize at Saturday night’s “potluck in the woods.” Sunday continued on with more trail rides. If anyone doubts the flatlands of the upper Midwest offer any real challenges, at least one vehicle sheared a steering rod against a rock on the “Money Talks” trail, leading to an impromptu field repair with a welder.


Maintain, Restore, Create Your Ultimate Land Rover. 1 800 403-7591



Overland on a Shoestring By Peter Hurdwell If you’re cheap and don’t care much for reading, here’s a book you might actually enjoy. In the early 1960s, Australia was coaxing people from the UK to start a new life down under. These “ten-pound tourists” (so called for the amount of money they’d have) would arrive by whatever means necessary, and many of them ended up staying. In 1964, eight UK citizens decided to emigrate to Australia. Peter Hurdwell and his group procured several ex-WWII Jeeps and a 1955 Bedford van for the princely sum of £50, then prepped the vehicles and themselves for the overland trek, but not before a few detours through Scandinavia and Europe. This 80-page book, published in 2013, chronicles the journey of those eight people on their five-month adventure from the UK to Australia. It’s a cool tale of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. While they didn’t employ any Land Rovers on their travels, the book is an interesting read as well as an inspirational reminder that great trips don’t have to cost a fortune.

Approximately $35 at



Dubarry Meath Boots Dubarry is a name that may be new to you, but the Irish company is renowned for its all-weather footwear and outdoor clothing. The company is probably best known for its waterproof country boots, which blend the impermeability of a traditional rubber Wellington with the comfort and style of a top-quality leather boot. The Meath is one of several country boots in the lineup that’s ideal for life with Land Rovers. Dubarry selects and processes only those hides that meet their exacting standards. The tanning process includes a proprietary treatment to create their signature DryFast-DrySoft™ waterproof leather. The hides are then hand-trimmed to the design and length of boot before being sewn by a craftsman. The finished boots are waterproof from the outside in, and a breathable Gore-Tex liner keeps them dry from the inside out as well. The Meath is a calf-height boot with a reinforced leather heel and aggressive sole thread pattern, ideal for jobs like rigging up a winch recovery in deep mud. Once they’re broken in, the boots will be as sure-footed and comfortable off-road as your Rover and with care and maintenance will return years of service. Think of them as an investment in happy feet.

$479 at

Estilos Coffee Land Rovers have been put to work on farms all over the world, including countless coffee plantations. From Puerto Rico comes Estilos Cafe, a 100% Arabica bean coffee that is hand picked and hand processed. Everything from planting to processing takes place on a single farm in Puerto Rico whose owners have been growing and processing coffee for over 90 years. The coffee is known for its complex but balanced flavor and medium body. Making it sweeter is the fact the farm also employs Series Land Rovers to haul the beans from the bushes to drying racks and roasters. Estilos coffee is available to order directly from Puerto Rico as either roasted whole beans or pre-ground.

From $20 at



Overland Armor Tool Roll Carrying tools in your truck is smart, but toolboxes can be bulky and noisy. A classic tool roll is a great way to carry an assortment of the right wrenches, pliers, and screwdrivers specifically for your vehicle. Measuring 20x40 inches when open, the Overland Tool Roll is designed to hold far more than just a couple tools. Made by Armor Manufacturing, better known for its tough dive bags, the Overland Tool Roll is hand-made of the highest quality materials in the US by disabled veterans. It is cut from heavy-duty cotton canvas and contained by saddle-grade leather straps with solid brass hardware. Inside pockets accomodate a variety of tools. Armor sees the Overland Tool Roll as a legacy item designed to last the life of your vehicle and even passed along to future owners.

From $99 at

Outback Adventures Overland Table It is not often we find a quality Jeep accessory we’d put on our own Land Rovers, but sometimes the stars and the moon align to produce something equally welcome to either truck. The Outback Adventure Overland Table was designed to mount to the swing-away tailgate of the Jeep Wrangler, but it happens to fit well on a variety of Land Rovers with swinging cargo doors, including the Defender and Discovery I/II. Made in the US of aircraft-grade aluminum and stainless steel, the main fold-down assembly mounts to the door with four included RivNuts. Beneath the stainless table surface, a slide-out table extension measuring 11x20 inches can be deployed to either side. The table extension is available in either white Sanlite HDPE polymer, or as an upgrade, genuine bamboo. When not in use, the table assembly folds flat against the rear door and measures less than two inches thick to save space. The table assembly is a snug fit on the back of a Defender door, requiring careful fitment to avoid interfering with the latch mechanism. The same is true on a Discovery cargo door, which also requires drilling a new hole in the table’s mounting frame to catch the door edge properly.

From $299 at



ARB Adventure Light 600 A well-made flashlight is an indispensable piece of kit. ARB’s new Adventure Light 600 is versatile, compact, and exceptionally powerful. Measuring 9.0 inches long, 2.0 inches wide and just 1.2 inches thick, it’s the perfect size for your glovebox or toolbox. The 600 in its name indicates a maximum output of 600 Lumens of brilliant, efficient LED light, which the fully charged lamp will produce for up to three hours. There’s also a low setting, which produces 300 Lumens for up to six hours. Recharging can be done with either 120V AC or 12V DC power supplies (included) through a USB cord. The light is molded of heavy-duty plastic with a soft-touch outer skin for excellent grip. On the back, a pair of hooks and a high-strength magnets offer various mounting options.

$59 from

Tembo Tusk Wine Cooler Traveling with wine can be burdensome, mostly because of the tall glass bottles that add weight and often don’t fit in smaller coolers. Sure, you can always go with boxed wine, but if your preferred pour comes only in glass, you’ll be looking for other options. Tembo Tusk’s wine cooler lets you decant a 750ml bottle of wine (or other adult beverage of your choosing) for easy packing. Inside, a tough plastic bladder ensures leak-proof storage, while the outer canvas cover offers protection against bumps along the way. The easy-open pouring spout is protected by an external alloy cap. The cooler bag can be hung from a belt loop or secured in the vehicle using the included carabineer hook. When empty, the cooler folds flat for easy storage and takes up almost no space, making it ideal for a variety of adventure trips.

$25 from



iLAND Advanced Diagnostic Tool If you’re still using an old-style scan tool to ward off the Three Amigos or check your engine’s vitals in real time, you may want to consider upgrading to an app-based solution. The new iLAND tool is a diagnostic device that uses your smart phone or other mobile device as its control panel and display. Capable of communicating with all Land Rover models from 1987 to present through a Bluetooth-enabled reader, the iLAND app allows for diagnosis, programming, and maintenance on most Land Rovers and Range Rovers, and it offers thousands of functions and capabilities specifically available for late-model Rovers from 2003 onward. Compatible with iOS and Android mobile devices via the iLAND app, it also allows you to reset service reminders, properly manage ABS brake bleeding, program replacement tire pressure sensors, and restore key programming. The iLAND Bluetooth adapter connects to your Rover’s diagnostic port and requires no batteries, communicating wirelessly to your mobile device. The adapter is small enough to store in your glove box, offering anywhere, anytime functionality.

$399 at or call Eric at Atlantic British: (800) 533-2210, ext. 231

Eagle Klaw Floor Mat Anchors Loose floor mats can be a distraction when driving, and can even wind up under pedals if not restrained, creating a driving hazard. Clips and hooks almost never hold up, and most other mat fastening systems are lightweight anchors that eventually pull through the carpeting. The Eagle Klaw is neither a clip nor a hook. It’s a stout anchor that uses barbed spikes to hold tightly when inserted into the carpeting under a floor mat. With the anchor set in the vehicle’s carpet, a locking lug secures the mat to the floor with a turn of a screwdriver. Eagle Klaws are available black, beige or gray to coordinate with most vehicle interiors.

$15 per set (to secure two mats) at



Everything you ever wanted in a Defender.



Global Lens Daniel Marcello YouTube Vloggers Nicole Eddy and Ben Brown recently took Pumba, their 300tdipowered Defender 110, on an expedition throughout Africa. The loop included Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho before finishing back in Cape Town, South Africa. Their journey shows how accessible Africa is with a well-equipped vehicle and a willingness to step out and explore the unknown. With a little help from Front Runner, who sponsored part of their trek, the couple had a proper rack, a rooftop rent, an LED light bar and countless other accessories to make the trip more comfortable. Africa not only boasts some of the most gorgeous camping in the world, but also a number of more civilized retreats and villas, which Nicole and Ben also took full advantage of to make some nights more relaxing after a long day on the road, while also grabbing a shower, local cuisine, and a connection to update their vlog.

running well. Lucky for them, there is always a Land Rover mechanic around the

The expedition was full of amazing scenery, including immense sand dunes, curious wildlife, water crossings and sketchy bridges, as they tried to stay off the main roadways. It also delivered plenty of drama as the fully loaded 110 had some cooling issues; a head gasket problem which turned into a cracked head while in Namibia. The pain of uncertainty is visible on their faces when Pumba isn’t

Make sure to check out Nicole and Ben’s ongoing African expedition.

bend in Africa. A trip to Johann Strauss’ workshop in South Namibia provided some much-needed Land Rover camaraderie, comforting Nicole and Ben, in the fact these simple yet rugged machines can be mended in the middle of nowhere. It all makes for a great story in the end, and is part of the charm of owning a Land Rover. Throughout their expedition the couple took full advantage of their DJI Mavic drone, capturing some epic footage and some new Canon gear which shows in Nicole and Ben’s unique photographic style. The amazing thing about vlogging is you have a new episode almost each day. You can experience their incredible trip in real time. Africa seems like a perfect place to travel around with your significant other. The wildlife, the landscapes and the hospitality seem so welcoming. All I know is, Africa next on my list.

YouTube: benbrown100, therealnicoleeddy Instagram: @MrBenBrown, @NicoleEddy, @PumbaTheLandy Websites:,





2018 RANGE ROVER VELAR Land Rover pulls out an old chisel to carve a new niche. WORDS Steve Hoare PHOTOGRAPHY Nick Dimbleby for Land Rover




ver since it blindsided the automotive world with the announcement of the production-ready Range Rover Velar earlier this year, Land Rover has been busy explaining two things to the press and the public: the origin of the name, and why there needs to be a fourth Range Rover model in a market flooded with premium crossovers and SUVs. The name part is easy, especially for enthusiasts schooled in Range Rover lore. The second half of the reasoning is a bit more complicated. Almost from Land Rover’s inception, when “the Land Rover” was merely a utility model for the Rover Company (whose lineup of premium sedans was selling well to an emerging upper middle class), the company has been looking for ways to refine its trucks’ on-road performance without sacrificing their off-road prowess. The first “Road Rover” concept dates back to 1950. Several additional concepts were built, but the project remained stillborn until 1966, when Charles Spencer King was put in charge of new vehicle development.

Rover was still searching for a Land Roverbased luxury estate car, and King accepted the challenge along with engineering head Gordon Bashford and market research visionary Graham Bannock. The team not only breathed new life into the project, the vehicle that emerged – the 1970 Range Rover – was the first of many that would bridge the gap between a luxury car and a Land Rover. But before it was called Range Rover (until rather late in the development cycle, in fact, it was known simply as the 100-inch station wagon), there were prototypes to be tested. On the public roads, where prying eyes were bound to see this radical new model. In need of a name to decoy its origins, the team revived a moniker once used on an Alvis sports car concept. Many of the twenty-eight road-going mules left the factory wearing “Velar” badges, giving no indication of their Land Rover underpinnings. For the company’s latest Range Rover model, the Velar name (which was never actually used in production) was once again called into service. This time it’s for good, 29

delivering not only a nostalgic nod but also a more literal connotation. Velar, it turns out, is derived from the Latin for “veil,” a fitting reference to the graceful shape that conceals the newcomer’s considerable hardware.

SO THAT EXPLAINS THE NAME. Now, the second explanation: The fastest growing segment in today’s automotive space is mid-size premium utility vehicles – in essence tall station wagons with all-wheel drive but absolutely no pretense of having the technology needed to conquer untamed outback. And preferably with the cachet of a luxury badge. You might think that between the Range Rover Sport and Evoque (not to mention the Discovery Sport), Land Rover has the bases covered, but the most lucrative part of the market wants something a bit more accommodating than the compact Evoque, more driver-friendly than the Sport, and more premium than the little Disco. And that is where the Velar comes in: the perfect in-betweener. Before you conclude that the Velar is


Detail shot of the Velar’s new wheels and Bronze detailing. Detail shot of the Velar’s new wheels and Bronze detailing.

“The very first Range Rover was, in fact, the original ‘gap-filler’ from Solihull.” simply a venal grasp for market share, riding the coattails of previous Range Rovers, it’s important to understand this is not at all new territory for Land Rover. The very first Range Rover was, in fact, the original “gapfiller” from Solihull. By combining a supple coil-spring suspension and a lusty V8 engine, it redefined Land Rover performance and opened up the brand to a wider audience, including those who had no real need for a utility vehicle but still identified with the company’s aura of adventure. Sound familiar? The new Velar is merely the latest iteration of that strategy.

BEAUTIFUL FROM THE OUTSIDE IN From first glance the Velar is recognizable as a Range Rover with its clamshell hood and floating roof, and with its rear bumper and hatch window angled appropriately to present the signature tailgate identity. And then there’s the prominent chiseled shoulder line below the greenhouse, visually anchoring the upper half of the car. The major form and surface details of the Velar’s bodywork are quite pleasing, especially in person, and it’s also the slickest Land Rover yet, managing an

admirable 0.32 Cd in the wind tunnel thanks in no small part to such fine details as the flush-fit pop-out door handles. Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s design chief, calls the Velar’s design avant-garde, which may be a rather generous application of the term, but his claim is accurate at least in the context of the cookie-cutter designs that clutter most contemporary showrooms. McGovern’s openly affectionate regard does explain why the Velar was not unveiled at last spring’s Geneva Motor Show but instead was shown to a private gathering at the London Design Centre. Even our first on-road introduction to the Velar took place in the Norwegian town of Alesund, renowned for its Art Nouveau architecture and art. The true measure of the Velar’s “avantness” may be whether it’s ever invited to the Louvre, where the original Range Rover, an “exemplary work of industrial design,” was displayed in 1971. (Or, maybe if Salvador Dali returned from the grave driving a Velar.) The interior may truely be regarded as revolutionary. Utilizing the theme of “reductionism,” McGovern’s team aimed for a cockpit uncluttered by buttons and 30

switches, replacing them with touch-screen inputs, a la iPad. The Velar’s command center eliminates the myriad protrusions and instead employs three main glass screens and two multifunctional knobs. The system’s logical menu constructs make it surprisingly intuitive to use, and it’s also more responsive than many recent Land Rover touchscreen interfaces. An all-new, cutting-edge infotainment system links multiple high-tech functions, more than in any previous Land Rover offering. The system can also “learn” from driver input and thus can anticipate certain driver wants without being intrusive. As the newest member of the Land Rover family, the Velar brings several new features to the marque, including traffic warnings, autonomous emergency braking, an allaround camera system, and a head-up display. The first Velars to roll off the production line wear external copper-colored accents and “First Edition” paint options might appeal most to those early adopters who like to demonstrate their avant-garde interests, but to those who can look beyond the extraneous the Velar follows the form-and-function heritage


of the brand. A vivid illustration is the pop-out door handles. Normally retracted, the handles contribute to the Velar’s slick side profile, and that form also helps reduce drag without any loss of function. In addition, whereas previous inset Land Rover door handles were exposed to off-road hazards (including being yanked open by nimble-limbed trees or bushes), the Velar design retracts out of harm’s way. Engineers even simulated a Siberian winter to prove that the recessed door handles can be deployed through thick layers of ice. Material science contributes an interesting development inside the Velar. As an ever more global manufacturer, Land Rover knows not all markets or all customers favor animal hides for upholstery. To meet the demand for alternatives, the company developed a new premium textile in conjunction with Europe’s Kvadrat, better known for its commercial and residential materials. Made from recycled plastic bottles with a bit of wool thrown into the mix, the suede-like fabric appeals to those individuals seeking a high-end product that’s more environmentally or ethically conscious. This feature will be limited to certain color combinations and trim levels, but rest assured

the choices reflect an artist’s palette.

ALL LAND ROVER UNDERNEATH Rather than share its pricey bits with Rover cars (now part of a Chinese-owned concern anyway) the Range Rover Velar co-ops hardware from various other models under the Jaguar Land Rover roof. Its main architecture has much in common with Jaguar’s F-Pace, though not as much as you might expect. Land Rover claims the Velar borrows only a few floor panels in the single-shell alloy chassis. Everything else is purely Land Rover. The Velar’s monocoque is strengthened and reinforced to further reduce body flex and to meet Land Rover’s standards when off road. The suspension and drive systems are adapted from the Range Rover Sport, with a longitudinally-mounted engine feeding power rearward – not sideways as in the Evoque – to multilink front and rear axles and permanent full-time four-wheel drive. The slate of boosted engines includes a 4-cylinder gas turbo, a 4-cylinder turbo diesel, and a supercharged V6. Regardless of engine, the only transmission on offer is the 8-speed ZF automatic. A singleratio transfer case is the only option for North 31

America, where it is expected most buyers will have no use for a low-range gearbox anyway. A locking rear differential, however, is available as an option. On-road performance is stellar. The supercharged V6 we drove is quiet and always has adequate power on demand. The Velar will certainly be happy cruising all day, no matter where you set the cruise control. The ride is refined – not quite as harsh as the two models it sits between – and body roll is well managed even when powering through switchbacks, inclines and declines. If there is any drawback, it’s in the seating position, which is low compared the traditional command position of Rovers past. The top of the door panel is too high to rest your elbow, and the door’s armrest feels unnaturally low. As for off-road performance…well, avantgarde looks or not, it’s still a Land Rover. It may not be a clodhopper like a Series truck, but no other vehicle in its class will be able to match its agility and ease of use when the road disappears. Even on high-performance street tires, the various traction systems work together like a SEAL Team to keep you moving forward when the moving gets




rough. Regardless of how slow you attempt an obstacle, the terrain response, brake balancing, and other driver assist systems work their magic. Put a Range Rover Velar and Jaguar F-Pace side by side, and it will be hard to find any similarities; take them both offroad, and whatever family traits were evident soon disappear in the Velar’s mirrors. One new feature is brake assist. Imagine traversing a downhill section, and you need to stop temporarily to check out the surrounding terrain. When you release the brake pedal, the system will gradually release the brakes to retain maximum traction and reduce the risk of tire slip. The navigation system is accurate, gives plenty of notice of upcoming turns, and its head-up display is great for keeping an eye on vehicle speed against the current speed limit. Also very appealing are the LED Laser Headlights. With a range of over 550 meters (approx. 1,800 feet), “down the road” becomes far more visible, and the need for additional off-road lighting is all but eliminated.

A WINNER THROUGH EVERY EYE At the risk of sounding like a Vegas tout, this old anorak predicts that Land Rover has a winner on its hands with the Velar. As a mid-size premium utility vehicle, it’s a very attractive package, especially for younger buyers who will embrace its more, uh, avant-garde nature and its thoughtful considerations toward environmental sustainability. It is certainly meant to appeal to a decidedly urban audience and is likely to be purchased by someone who might have considered a Land Rover before but would never visit Utah’s rock country. And the rational enthusiast? Even if you’re not looking for something different, you’ll recognize that the Velar’s functionality and performance is equivalent (or more) to a traditional Land Rover. It also offers a lot of the Range Rover Sport’s performance at a comparably lower price. That’s a hard combination not to like. Prices start at $49,995 for base models; fully outfitted First Edition variants begin at $90,295.

2017 RANGE ROVER VELAR SPECS Dimensions and Capacities

2.0T SI4 (P250)

2.0 TD4 (D180)

3.0 SC (P380)

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.)







I4 Turbo Gasoline

I4 Turbo Diesel

V6 Supercharged Gasoline






















Std. Tire Size Engine Type Displacement (cc) Valvetrain Valves/Cylinder Power (hp@rpm) Torque (lb-ft@rpm) EPA Economy (Cty/Hwy/Comb) Fuel Capacity (Gal) AdBlue Capacity (Pint)




Towing Capacity (lbs.)




Transmission Type







Double Wishbone,

Double Wishbone,

Double Wishbone,

Coil or Air Springs

Coil or Air Springs

Air Springs

Integral Link,

Integral Link,

Integral Link,

Coil or Air Springs

Coil or Air Springs

Air Springs

Transfer Case Suspension Front


Brakes Type

4-wheel disc

4-wheel disc

4-wheel disc





Interior OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Two dials and a volume button represent the extent of the physical inputs on the control systems. Subtle Union Jack motif perforated into seats and speaker grilles are subtle but distinctive.

Seating Capacity




Cargo Space Behind Second Row (cu. ft.)




Cargo Space Behind First Row (cu. ft.)






THE ROAD TO VELAR WAS NOT ALWAYS SO PRETTY Early concepts for a more car-like Land Rover were a lot less graceful than the new Range Rover Velar. Working with limited resources, the development team mashed together the first mockups by pulling from both the sedan and truck parts bins at Rover. Those nascent prototypes were awkward at best, but laid the groundwork for what would eventually become the Range Rover and lead to today’s Velar.



Based on the Series I Land Rover, this early “Road Rover” concept barely has its roots. Deeper fenders and full doors gave it a more finished appearance, and the roof clearly resembled the custom coachwork made by Tickford for the same series. Outboard headlights allowed for a more conventional Rover sedan-like grille.

The second evolution of the Road Rover takes on a more car-like appearance, abandoning all traditional Land Rover cues. It also featured an independent front suspension and was designed to accommodate an inline six-cylinder engine. Its long hood, squat greenhouse, and sloped rear hatch are echoed in the new Velar.



Spen King and Gordon Bashford reimagined the Road Rover concept in the mid-1960s as a taller, more truck-like design. The now familiar Range Rover form starts taking shape in this first prototype, known simply by its 100-inch wheelbase. In terms of styling, only the face of the vehicle remains to be rectified at this point.

Prior to unveiling of the Range Rover at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 1970, Land Rover performed on-road testing in nearly finalspec vehicles, wearing badges that read simply “VELAR.” The public had no idea these first 28 vehicles were even Land Rovers. Their VELAR badges were removed in time for the June media launch. 34





OVER THE WOODS AND THROUGH THE RIVER Main Line Overland takes its L320 Sport to new heights. WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOGRAPHY Bryan Joslin



The Range Rover Sport was a true game changer for Land Rover when it was introduced some twelve years ago. Marketed as a more personal expression of the Range Rover ideal, the smaller, less expensive and, yes, sportier Sport quickly found itself at home in some of the world’s flashiest driveways, often alongside flavors of the month from other European luxury brands. Until the market went soft in 2009, Land Rover was busy selling Sports by the boatload to image-conscious trendsetters, most of whom had never before owned a Land Rover. Given the Sport’s conspicuous genesis, it’s easy to understand why many traditional Land Rover enthusiasts were suspect of the newcomer. Under the familiar Range Rover silhouette was hardware gleaned from the company’s volume family vehicle, the LR3, BELOW With nearly a foot and a half of clearance beneath the chassis, water crossings pose little threat. OPPOSITE FROM TOP IPF 900 LED driving lamps illuminate the night. Tucked inside the ARB Summit bumper is a Warn Zenon Platinum 10-S winch tethered to a FlatLink E shackle and synthetic line, both by Factor 55. Even at its new resting height, the Sport looks menacing.

which itself had remained unproven as a valid replacement for the Discovery II. The aftermarket was just as slow to embrace the Range Rover Sport, offering for it scant development of off-road accessories. Until now. As the first-generation Sport has aged and become somewhat less precious, owners and accessory companies alike have decided to take a chance on the mid-size Rangie. It has only taken a little over a decade, but there is now finally an appreciation for this model, which has proven remarkably reliable as well as capable. It turns out the L320 Sport (2006-13) actually can make a solid platform for a trail rig, as Main Line Overland set out to prove. The bucolic countryside west of Philadelphia, with its myriad equestrian farms, hunt clubs, and private universities, might seem an odd spot to set up an off-road shop. But Matt and Pete Henwood, founders of Main Line Overland, grew up there playing with cars, trucks and motorcycles with older brother Tom, who more recently joined the crew. While the shop is typically busy upfitting everything from Jeeps to Unimogs for serious backcountry travel, it wasn’t long before Land Rovers crossed the Henwoods’ radar as well. Having grown up around their father’s


collection of Jaguar E-Types, they understood they might not return from the British rabbit hole once it lured them into its depths. Pete was the one who first suggested making the move into unknown territory after discovering that the Range Rover Sport is mechanically almost identical to the LR3. Strip both down to their underwear, and their shared genes become obvious. The Sport simply amounts to a sexier wrapper, and that appealed to Pete’s youthful sensibilities. He realized, too, the one big advantage of the Sport that no LR3 possessed: a supercharged engine. “I wanted to build from a vehicle that already had the power to move the additional weight we would be adding; as a bonus it certainly has the stopping power for it as well,” Pete says, referencing the massive factory-issued six-pot Brembo brakes on supercharged models. “I knew that with limited options for re-gearing the LR3/4, the supercharger was the way to start out.” He set out looking for an ideal project vehicle, with hopes of finding a post-2009 model with the more powerful 5.0-liter engine. These 2010-and-later models left the factory with their Roots-type blowers whistling to the tune of 510 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of


torque, an increase of 120 horses and 51 lb-ft over the original 4.4-liter versions. With 5,700 pounds to lug around in stock form, the Sport was powerful yet sluggish and would need every advantage it could gain once upgrades were fitted. Last spring he fell in love with the Santorini Black over Nutmeg leather combination on a 2010 model parked at a local dealership. The dealer was just about to send the 92,000-mile truck to auction, but Pete worked a deal and brought it home. Immediately the guys went to work replacing some seriously worn-out driveline hardware: the front hubs, plus brake rotors and pads all around. It also needed a new rear driveshaft; the carrier bearing was toast, resulting in driveline vibration on deceleration. This is all fairly typical of the wear thrust upon the load-bearing surfaces of a three-ton vehicle. With maintenance out of the way, Pete’s main goal with the truck was to prove that the L320 could make an ideal “do it all” rig, something he could drive every day to the shop but also pack up for a weekend in the New Hampshire woods, where the Brothers Henwood recently opened a second MLO location. The first order of business was getting bigger tires under the chassis. He had hoped to squeeze 35-inch rubber on the stock wheels, but quickly found out what a challenge that would be. In the end, the stock wheels couldn’t be counted on to get the right fit, so Pete installed a set of 20x8.5-inch Black Rhino Mozambique alloys. The final tire choice came down to Goodyear MTRs sized 20x35x12.50. To fit these required a lot of measuring and a bit of cutting as well. “It was a pretty lengthy task making sure to select the correct wheel to clear the large front brakes and also keep the top of the tire away from the upper control arm,” Pete recalls. “Cutting away part of the front fenders and the lower corners of the back doors and sills was the point of no return. It was a lot of progressive trimming and test flexing to make sure we cut just enough, but not too much!” To keep the big tires far enough away from the chassis and body, Pete used an electronic height controller from Australian firm Llams. The unit adjusts the default ride upward by 30mm and can be lifted even higher in off-road mode. To keep everything in control at these

new heights, Pete installed a set of Proud Rhino bump stops and limit straps. So far the suspension is still running the factory air springs and control arms, though the camber has been adjusted to retain near-factory settings in the new default position. On the road, the suspension feels surprisingly tight and factory-like. The only element that seems out of place is the driving position. It now feels like you’re at the helm of a big rig, and it’s especially felt when climbing in and out of the truck. And while they’ve been working on an override for the Terrain Response system to allow for higher running


speeds in off-road height, the amount of positive camber in the rear at full lift makes that a precarious proposition on the road. Ground clearance addressed, Pete next fit an off-road bumper up front to house an electric winch, choosing ARB’s Summit Bull Bar – a piece originally designed for the LR4 – which also needed some tweaks to make it fit the L320 bodywork. The mod worked as expected but required filler panels beneath the Sport’s smaller headlights to help blend the bumper visually. For the required pulling power to recover the vehicle, Pete chose a Warn Zenon Platinum 10-S winch. He then finished off the


“Cutting away part of the front fenders and the lower corners of the back doors and sills was the point of no return.”



front end with a pair of IPF 900 LED driving lamps mounted to the bumper. Now Pete moved underneath to begin a robust makeover of the chassis, first ordering from Terra Firma a set of LR4 rock sliders, chosen for their slim profile relative to the body. Given the Range Rover Sport’s 5.6-inch shorter wheelbase compared to the LR3/LR4, the sliders required substantial shortening to fit comfortably between the front and rear tires. That was the easier modification; more difficult (at least mentally) was cutting off the bottom edges of all four doors to clear the sliders. The doors are made of aluminum, so there’s no threat of rust, but it’s not the kind of hole you leave open, so the guys are working on custom trim panels to quickly close up the cuts for future installations. As you might imagine, that small amount of aluminum removal was nothing compared to the weight the Sport had gained through the added equipment. Between new hardware and larger tires, the Supercharged Sport, already notoriously thirsty, was killing long-distance

travel with all-too-frequent pit stops to refill the paltry 23.3-gallon fuel tank. The limited range was becoming a burden, so Pete went hunting. It turns out LRA – as in Long Range Automotive – had a solution on the shelf… sort of. Like everything else on the project, the available tank was designed for LR3/LR4 fitment, but Pete managed to adapt it to the Sport with some careful measuring and light modification. The fuel capacity is now more than doubled, with an additional 28.5 gallons on reserve. “I have to say,” Pete admits, “when the low fuel warning comes on and I push the button on the LRA fuel tank gauge, seeing the main tank gauge rise while cruising at 85 mph is pretty awesome.” However, he warns, “you just have to make sure you use the bathroom when you fill up, otherwise the driver becomes the limiting factor to your uninterrupted range.” Rounding out the upgrades for now is a pair of locking differentials, RD217 and RD218 Air Lockers from ARB. An onboard ARB air compressor makes the pressure to actuate them. The MLO Sport is far from done. In fact, 43

this one is something of a test bed for the Henwoods as they figure out exactly what works best on the L320. “In the coming years, as values drop even further, it’s only natural that some guys are going to want a Sport for a trail rig. And they’ll want it to work right.” Pete has the testing covered: “We did a lot of flexing with the forklift for tire and wheel fitment, but we’ve also wheeled it a good bit around our farm/training grounds. We’re excited to head up to the Vermont Overland Rally with it this month and put the new lockers to the test.” Future developments for the Sport will include skid plates as well as a proper rear bumper with a swing-out spare tire mount. Soon the project will also receive a dual battery system as well an SPOD SE Touch system for auxiliary wiring. Eventually Pete would love to develop a long-travel coilover suspension with extended-length control arms and axle shafts. For now Pete is content to keep exploring the limits of the L320 platform. There is no shortage of Range Rovers where he’s from, but none of them looks like this one.


All in the family When Bob Parisot was given a 1950 Series One, little did he know he’d been gifted a piece of Land Rover history. WORDS Steve Hoare PHOTOGRAPHY Daniel Marcello & Parisot Family




ome of us buy into the Land Rover family late in life, but others, like Bob Parisot, are lucky enough to grow up with an almost genetic connection to the marque. Back in the early 1960s, Bob, his brothers and their cousins would get together at an uncle’s home in rural Connecticut, and the highlight of their visit was driving his 1962 Series IIa. About eight of them typically would pack into the Land Rover, its windscreen down and canvas top removed, and bound through nearby cow pastures. The cousins always had a great time in what they called the “Magoo Ride” (recalling the nearsighted cartoon character), and those early larks ignited the young man’s love affair with the little English trucks that over time has only grown more deeply committed. At the age of twelve Bob decided to build his own, scaled-down Land Rover, the idea sparked by a miniature Land Rover custom built for the King of Jordan’s children and shown at the New York Auto show. Bob walked away with a photograph for reference and then mustered together his dad’s electric jig saw, some spare wagon wheels, 2 x 4 axles, and some scrap plywood sheets to cobble together something, that, as he recalls, looked something like a Land Rover if it had been built by the Little Rascals gang. By the time Bob moved to New Mexico to study architecture, he had managed to acquire a real Land Rover, a 1967 Series IIa. In defiance of mechanical fate, he actually commuted between New Mexico and Connecticut between school years and at breaks in his Land Rover, crisscrossing the country twelve times. When he wasn’t too busy studying, he’d take off in it to explore the American southwest and Mexico.

Bob wasn’t the only family member bitten by the bug. Brother Rick joined in with a 1950 Series One Land Rover he’d picked up in the spring of 1979. A teenage kid had bought it just a year earlier from the original owner to make some extra money plowing snow. With no heater in the truck, the kid had fabricated a plywood roof and lined it with carpeting to stay warm. Presumably it was a fruitless effort, as he ditched the truck after just one season, though not before pulling off the front bumper and Land Rover factory snowplow to install on his replacement vehicle, a Jeep. The original owner lived in nearby Wilton, Connecticut, and had used it as a tractor on his property to plow snow and, with the aid of a PTO-powered wood splitter, to prepare firewood from his cuttings. It probably never left the property in his twenty-eight years of ownership, explaining the exceptionally low tally on the odometer. The Series One was a little less than perfect when Rick acquired it, as the teenage owner had clearly not treated it gingerly in his short time with the truck. He got it running well enough to drive it around the family estate and was thinking about eventually stripping it for parts, perhaps as spares for a Series IIa that he already owned. Bob pleaded with Rick not to part it out, especially since it did not really share that much with the later truck. Bob promised that if Rick just held on to it, he’d eventually restore the Series One.

BELOW The bare chassis looking better than new after its restoration




Rick instead found a NATO Series IIa 109” pickup that better suited his needs, deciding to throw his kid brother a surprise by giving it to Bob as a Christmas gift in 1984. Needless to say, he was over the moon. The Land Rover’s odometer showed just 16,400 miles, a plausible figure given its light use for most of its first thirty years, though the engine clearly had many more hours on it than miles. The happy new owner rummaged through all the paperwork that came with it, including the factory manuals that listed the original owner’s name. As Bob mulled over the paperwork, he came to realize the special provenance of this little Land Rover. In 1950, Land Rover’s first year as an official importer to the United States, only fourteen Series Ones were brought in, with just six coming into New York. According to data collected from the British Heritage Motoring Museum by historian Ben Smith, Bob’s is one of those six, a left-hand-drive export

model with a 1.6-liter engine and canvas top. He knew this one was a keeper, relieved his brother had decided against cannibalizing it. As promised, in 1986 Bob embarked on the task of a frame-up restoration, beginning with a complete disassembly. Galvanized replacement frames were just starting to show up for other Series trucks, and it got Bob to thinking about the longevity of the Series One, already approaching forty years old. Given the light road use the truck had seen, a full frame wasn’t necessary. Instead, Bob made a few necessary repairs to the original chassis and sent it off to be hot-dip galvanized before shooting it with a self-etching primer and a coat of original bronze green paint. With a solid foundation, Bob then moved on to rebuilding the engine, gearbox, axles, and other hardware, sourcing parts from the UK and America. After Bob stripped the Land Rover down to bare bones, it became 49


“He knew this one was a keeper, relieved his brother had decided against cannibalizing it.” obvious it had sat inside a garage or barn most of its life. The first owner’s gentle use became wonderfully evident as internals were examined and every surface looked as good as new. Only exposed parts and bodywork had taken a beating, presumably from the less attentive second owner. Rather than pursue a pristine restoration, Bob choose to carefully maintain the beautifully kept Rover’s natural patina. His goal was simply to bring the vehicle back to the way it would have naturally looked had the second owner not beat up the body so badly with hard plowing. He also wanted to put his own mark on the Series One by adding some period-correct Land Rover factory accessories, not least of which included the Smiths heater, a bonnet-mounted spare tire, Aeroparts capstan winch, and Trafficator turn signals. That restoration was completed in 1988, when the vehicle still showed less than 26,000 miles in total. Since then Bob has continued to drive it, showing up regularly at rallies in the Northeast as well as at local weekend coffee gatherings. He prefers back roads, as the Series One is most content ambling along at 40 mph. Travelling by Interstate brings the risk of the Land Rover being run over, and even when travelling the back roads Bob hangs a prominent warning triangle over the tailgate. And since Bob insists “the Land Rover is a tool box on wheels,” he still regularly puts it to work – including using the rear PTO to mix cement when he built his house in 1999. In fact, he hitched it to another industrial artifact, a large half-yard cement mixer from the 1920s. Each morning he’d fire up the Land Rover, set the hand throttle, and the mixer would run for the rest of the day, assisting in the construction of two fireplaces with full-height chimneys over a period of a few weeks. The Land Rover still earns its keep hauling yard waste and performing other duties around the garden. Bob cites the simplicity of the Series One as especially endearing. “In architectural practice, our design process is traditionally derived from a holistic approach of problem seeking followed by problem solving. The Series One Land Rover is, for me, one of the most iconic and expressive forms of design function and problem solving in automotive or industrial design.” Bob has even adapted the classic to camping, creating a six-foot-long platform that rests on a four-piece trestle and frame, rear tailgate and dashboard. He’s even accommodated the gear shift lever, which locks

into place in reverse gear. The flat sleeping platform is comfortable enough for two adults to stretch out on, and there’s even a small side table for morning ablutions. The table hooks over the side of the back body, with a shaving mirror attached to a side buckle on the canvas. He sees this adaptation as a natural extension of the Land Rover ethos. “If you really look at any Series One, or II, IIA, III and into Defender for that matter, they soon become tailored to suit their users’ specific needs. For the same model types that rolled out of Solihull, they all really end up looking very different from each other. This individuality is something I think is most unique to the marque and contributes to a sociology that develops around the ownership of any vintage Land Rover.” Maintenance and considerate use have been keys to the truck’s longevity. It has so far consumed its original generator (for which there was no roadside remedy), the exhaust has been replaced, and the front swivel balls have been rebuilt. The brake’s hydraulic system also gave up (on a road trip through Massachusetts back roads), requiring new hard lines. As Bob has done since initially restoring the chassis, all of his repairs are performed with an eye on longevity, so the new brake hardware is made from more corrosion-resistant materials than the factory had access to nearly seven decades ago. It’s almost needless to add that Bob changes the oil every 1,500 miles. The Series One is certainly a member of the family – all three of Bob’s children learned to drive with it – but it’s not the only one. His Series III 88” has been around for over thirty-five years and has covered over 500,000 miles, benefitting from the same meticulous care Bob has lavished on the Series One. Bob occasionally wonders which of his kids will eventually find it in their Christmas stocking, but mostly he’s looking forward to tooling down back roads in his Series One for many more years.

OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Bob perched on the bonnet of his prized Series One. Factory accessory rear PTO. Original workshop manual. A cheery face after all these years. The camping platform with the gear lever in its parked position. A bit of history. Front capstan winch.




A Range Rover for the Gentleman Driver A perfectionist puts his own touch on a two-door Range Rover Classic

WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOGRAPHY Andrew Ling


alk to Richard Griot long enough and you’ll hear the word “perfection” come up with regularity. It’s something of a hallmark for a guy who has spent most of the last three decades developing car care products for the most demanding of enthusiasts. It’s not just a business motto; his true life mission seems to be perfecting the art of perfection, and that applies to every vehicle in his personal fleet. The latest subject to receive the Griot treatment may seem an unusual choice for someone more commonly associated with sports cars: a diesel-powered 1990 Range Rover that he imported from Portugal a year ago. His passion for vintage Range Rovers is the result of a lifetime with Land Rovers in his orbit. When he was eleven years old, he spent a year out of school traveling through Europe and Africa with his family in a VW bus. While in Africa, they joined a tour company taking college students across the Sahara in old Land Rover Series trucks, and he was hooked. As he recalls, “[the tour operator] had them packed down with nine of us in there and the gear, and these things were totally beat on, but just kept going, even when one of them blew a head gasket. The trucks were just amazing.” In the 1990s, as his business was taking off and his family was growing, Richard drove a first-generation US-spec Range Rover for several years, piling at least 150,000 miles on it before replacing it with a second-gen (P38) Range Rover. More recently, at his New Zealand vacation home he kept a Defender, which he bought new and drove for five years before replacing it with an LR4. “I got tired of making three-point turns just to park it in my driveway. Frankly, I just wanted something more civilized when I was down there.” So clearly he’s not a newcomer to the fold, but nothing in the current lineup pulls at his heartstrings the way the older Range Rover does. “I decided to go back to where I started, with a Range Rover Classic, but this time with a two-door. And I think it’s a masterpiece. Most people in the States have never seen a two-door Range Rover. ‘How’d you get that?’ almost always comes up.” Richard’s simple answer is, “I just bought it when it came up for sale through Cool n Vintage,” the Portuguese website specializing in,

well, vehicles that are both cool and of a certain vintage. “It looked great, and I bought it sight-unseen. That was about a year ago. When it arrived, we just put a battery in it, fired it up and drove it out of the container. It was as perfect in real life as it looked online. Sometimes it feels like I stole this one.” He speaks from experience, having since purchased another couple of examples from Spain that haven’t turned out to be quite as pristine in the flesh. “This one has absolutely zero rust. Underneath, the springs and axles still have their chalk markings. It was just remarkably cared for and lightly used,” he beams, recalling that the truck had covered just 86,000 kilometers, about 53,000 miles, in more than a quarter century on the road. Even its original Colorado Silver paint was in fairly good condition; a handful of minor dings were the only blemishes on its surface. As good as the truck was, Richard purchased it with eyes on making it better, creating an idealized version of a classic Range Rover for his specific needs and wants at this stage in his life. “I take two- to threeweek stints where I just drive. I tell the office I’ll be gone, and then I hit the road,” he says. And so his vision for this Range Rover was not to build it up for the back woods but rather for the open road. Richard admits the changes to the vehicle got underway with a rather uncommon starting point – modifying the seating position. “Most people would scoff at that, but if you’re six feet or taller, you’re really pretty high up in a Range Rover, and there’s really no need for it on the road.” After lowering the front seats by two inches, he no longer needs to step up so far into position, his hair no longer sweeps the headliner, and he also has a better view of the gauges. With no kids to haul around, he felt the back seat was unnecessary, so out it came, along with nearly 200 pounds of dead weight. This philosophy extended to the internally mounted spare tire, which was liberated to the tune of another 80 pounds. “Flat tires are a surprisingly uncommon occurrence these days,” he says. “I always carry a small tire repair kit and an inflator. I’ve repaired maybe six tires on the road in the last 20 years. So why carry the spare?” Richard’s attention turned next to the center console, which he



“This one has absolutely zero rust…the springs and axles still have their chalk markings” always lamented for its awkward storage bin and lack of proper cup holders. The factory plastic console was banished, replaced by a custom-tailored unit with a pair of well-positioned cup holders and an iPhone dock. It modernizes the functionality of the interior but in a subtle, well-integrated fashion typical of Richard’s approach to personalizing his vehicles. The iPhone feeds an Alpine digital media processor, housed in a custom console in the center of the dash, where the pencil tray normally resides. Richard is openly proud of this feature. “We took a mold off the instrument pod and then scaled that down to make everything fit in the pencil holder. So the screen is in your line of sight, and we made it look like it was designed to be there in the first place. It’s totally reversible as well.” The Alpine unit acts as an interface: Simply plug in the iPhone and then control everything – music, phone, texts – through the touchscreen. The original seats were velour, and they were in great shape as well. But Richard really felt the cockpit of this touring machine deserved to be trimmed in leather, choosing a combination of oxblood red and black hides to cover not only the seats but also the dashboard, door

panels, cargo area panels and that new center console. Though the interior work took the majority of the project’s time, the results are phenomenal. The factory nylon carpet was retired, making way for more luxurious Haargarn wool, the same type used in Porsches and Mercedes in the early 1970s. The plastic steering wheel looked rather low-rent in the classy new cockpit, so Richard sourced a sports car-like steering wheel in the same diameter as the original rim from a Croatian vendor for about $60. Wrapped in black leather, it has the traditional three-hole, threespoke design in black. Richard had a faux horn button (the actual horn button is on the left stalk) made with the Range Rover logo to cap it off. The finished product looks surprisingly appropriate and feels so much sportier. Minus the rear seats and the spare tire, the Range Rover’s cargo area appears positively cavernous, reimagined with less clutter. The only hardware in back now is a custom-made luggage rail, designed to keep cargo from catapulting forward should the brakes suddenly be called into extreme duty. A small cubby houses the tire repair kit and tools, and one side panel hides the audio system’s subwoofer. Otherwise it’s an open bay. 55





“For me driving is a passion. We live up in Washington (state), and we see the sun maybe three days a year,” he jokes, “so to have that bright and airy cockpit is important. You have the thin A-pillar, and on the two-door there really isn’t a B-pillar. It’s there, but it’s so far back, you have turn your head around to see it.” Not much has changed on the outside. For now, anyway. The original paint still glistens, and Richard elected to retain the Euro-spec H4 headlamps. Wider alloy wheels replace the factory steel rims, allowing for 235-section tires to be fitted, better filling the fenders and giving the truck a wider stance. Under the hood, the Italian VM turbodiesel works hard to keep the truck moving, but Richard has actually grown rather fond of it. “It has its own special charm. You’re not going to win a drag race; it’s a little more relaxed. If anything it’s a little noisy. We installed Dynamat everywhere, but taking out the rear seats made it more of a boom box for sure. The stereo mostly fixes that though,” he jokes. “It does okay in the mountains; you just have to keep it on the boil. There’s five gears; you ought to be able to pick one that works. So far I’ve been getting around twenty-nine miles per gallon around town and on trips. People say they have problems with the VM, and it appears the turbo has been replaced in mine at some point, but otherwise it doesn’t smoke or leak or anything.”

For now, Richard is ecstatic with the changes made to the Range Rover. “I love this car. I love the industrial look and the lines. If there’s one car I could drive every day and be happy, it’s this one,” he says – before revealing the project isn’t actually done. In fact, this truck is essentially a test bed for a handful of additional examples he hopes to build out for other family members. It’s a rolling prototype, of sorts, with more changes on the way. “I’ll probably lower it an inch and half or two inches with shorter springs. I plan to backdate it with the vertical grille and re-profile the bumpers for the earlier look. I had it prewired for fog lights, but I haven’t found a setup I like yet. I’m also having the original steel wheels widened by a couple inches to run the same 235 rubber that’s on the current alloys, but with the classic look that’s more appropriate for the truck.” Richard reveals one more major development on the horizon. “I wish I would have redone the headliner in a light gray; we did black, and it’s too dark. So we’re going to change that out. But to really brighten it up, we’re going one step further. We took a mold of the roof, and I’m having a custom panoramic sunroof glass made.” Whether this project is ever truly done remains to be seen. For certain, though, with each change he makes, Richard gets one step closer to the perfection he seeks.





EXPEDITION NORTH Three guys, three Defenders, 9,000 miles, 30 days

WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOGRAPHY Dave Smith, Ed Watson, John Edelmann, Kirk Monhay



f all the gear we dream of throwing at our trucks to get more out of them, time is the one component we can’t buy. The most incredible collection of hardware in the world doesn’t do you any good if you never have the time to do anything with it. Down deep we all know that, but sometimes life has to hit you in the face with time’s limits before you respect having it. Ask Dave Smith. Three years ago, Dave received news that his friend, Jim, whom he’d met in college, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Last year Dave and another of their college friends, Steve, took their longtime pal on a “bucket list” trip, visiting the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and New York City. Jim continues to battle the tumors and so far has survived three surgeries. The gravity of his situation forced Dave to consider the finite nature of life, and on the flight home he and Steve began to share their own bucket lists. A commercial pilot, Dave had been to many places far and wide, but he still craved new places to visit and thought it might be best if he got on with the visiting while he still had his health. A driving expedition to Dead Horse, Alaska, was highest on his list of must-dos. By Land Rover, of course. Unfortunately, neither Jim nor Steve had much interest in camping, let alone traveling several thousand miles in a Defender, so it wasn’t long before Dave started looking for other accomplices willing and able to share the trip. He found two compadres in John Edelmann and Ed Watson, both fellow Defender enthusiasts, members of the Arizona Land Rover Owners club (AZLRO), and, the clincher, both adventure-minded travelers. Dave, John, and Ed all happen to live near each other in the Phoenix area, which made planning the logistics fairly easy, though the trip would take nearly a year to put together and a month to complete. John had previous experience driving to Prudhoe Bay but was largely unfamiliar with the Canadian interior. Neither of the other two men had been to Alaska. For months the three studied Google Maps and sought recommendations from various Land Rover online communities. They also poured through the pages of Canada’s Milepost magazine, a huge resource that turned out to be their “bible,” before devising a plan that would see them on the road for no more than 33 days – allowing time for the, well, anticipated delays of traveling by Rover. John, founder of Knightsbridge Overland, made arrangements to work from the road, staying connected to the real world through regular email updates and the occasional call-in from the driver’s seat. Ed is a retired obstetrician and was able to commit to the month away from home for this lifetime opportunity. Dave, a commercial airline pilot, had vacation time booked up and carefully scheduled the departure date of the trip to fit the opening. The scope of the trip changed slightly as the plan developed. “Initially our goal was to go to Dead Horse, but that would have added five days to the trip,” insists Dave. “We couldn’t swing the time. So we decided early on we’d just try to make it as far as Denali.” One last detail remained: a name. All great expeditions require a name. The trio agreed on the simple union of “Rover” and “overlanding” to arrive at Roverlanding Expedition.

ON THE ROAD On July 18, the men pulled out of Phoenix. Dave’s 1989 One Ten station wagon, which he’d picked up from a Honduran seller, was loaded for a month on the road. Ed took the helm of his 1997 Defender 90 NAS hardtop, a former daily driver that he’d bought new while in Miami. John got comfortable in his 1984 One Ten station wagon, replete with a Dormobile conversion and a fresh 300Tdi conversion. “Our initial plan was to map out, day by day, our destinations,” says John. “We created some side tracks or loops, and the thought was we could just cut out a loop if we felt like it because of vehicle trouble or weather or whatever. We were driven by our plan, but not bound to it. We had a lot of flexibility.” With nearly 9,000 miles to cover, on-the-fly maintenance was a given. As seasoned Land Rover owners, our trio also knew it was unlikely that all three vehicles would make the complete trip without some sort of breakdown. The guys secured some assistance from Bearmach, which supplied them with such consumables as oil filters, air filters, and fuel filters, as well as the kind of repair parts that owners of obscure British trucks never expect to find on a Napa shelf in the wilderness. Assuming there’s even a Napa store. The list of spares included a fuel pump, starter, motor mounts, and water pump for the NAS 90. The two 300Tdi trucks were supplemented by a full set of hoses and belts, a head gasket kit, starter, alternator, vacuum pump, water pump, motor mounts, and transmission mounts. More generic parts included brake caliper repair kits as well as headlight switches and ignition switches. “It was all the stuff we’ve seen break on other people’s trips. In the end we really didn’t use very much of what they sent,” recalls Dave. The first objective was to get to Canada as quickly as possible, using interstate to head north. The convoy planned to move swiftly from Phoenix to Provo, Utah, to McCall, Idaho, to Spokane, Washington, before crossing the border. The first minor setbacks came on that first leg, however. In Provo, John discovered his EGT probe had popped out of its fitting. He reinstalled it in the hopes the condition was a fluke. Dave, meanwhile, was smelling diesel fuel inside the cabin. He had changed the fuel float just before the trip, as the gauge had been reading full no matter how much fuel was in the tank. “No big deal, I figured. Probably just the sealing collar was cross-threaded,” Dave says. “We got to Boise and dropped the tank; I reinstalled the collar and filled it up, and lo and behold it leaked again.” At that point the group went to dinner and met an enthusiast who had driven a hundred miles to have dinner with them. “He invited us to come up to his house in McCall and use his barn to work on it,” continues Dave. “We camped in his yard, and the next day we dropped the tank again. It wasn’t that the collar was cross-threaded; the pump’s rubber sealing ring was completely gone. [Dave concedes he probably forgot to reinstall it back in Phoenix as he rushed to get ready for the trip.] Ed remembered he had a spare fuel pump, and it turned out the rubber seal ring was the same, so we put it back in, and it solved that leak.” On the way to Spokane, a fellow enthusiast joined the convoy for a time, and that night they camped from their vehicles in a residential area. Back on the road the next day, absent any leaks, the trio rolled across the longest continuous international border in the world with no drama, arriving in Canada with plans to slow the pace a bit and

OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Denali greets the three travelers from a distance. Ed’s D90 in full expedition mode. John’s Dormobile among the redwoods.





take in everything the Canadian northwest has to offer. But not before receiving the full scrutiny of the Canadian Border Patrol, which helped itself to a thorough inspection of the trucks before deeming the crew a non-threat.

and almost feels like a state of the union. The people are incredibly helpful and friendly, and of course there’s no language barrier. The group also discovered the unexpected joy of Tim Horton’s donuts and Canadian Tire, the national retail chain that stocks just about anything a car enthusiast might want or need well beyond just tires. Near Calgary, outdoor photographer Kirk Monhay invited the crew to meet him at his favorite trailhead for a two-day adventure. It was well off their planned itinerary, but the jaunt turned out to be absolutely breathtaking. The first night they camped at Ghost Lake, a very remote location. The following day they continued on to Abraham Lake, setting up for a quick photo shoot against the spectacular water and mountains before a storm kicked up, abruptly ending the shoot. “There was sleet coming at us sideways,” John recalls. “The wind kicked up to sixty or seventy miles an hour. It was absolutely crazy. Sleet, rain, hail. And it did that pretty much all night. For a while we all huddled in the Dormobile. There were four of us in there, drinking bourbon and waiting for the storm to blow over. It never did. Ed slept in his 90; no tent that night. When we woke up the next morning, it was beautiful. Like nothing ever happened.”

LOADED FOR BEAR…BUT NOT REALLY An overriding concern for all in the group was the possibility of encountering bears along the way. After all, they’d be wilderness camping most nights, carrying all of their provisions with them, and, in Ed’s case anyway, camping in a tent. All three men might normally come prepared to properly defend themselves, but rather than arrive at the border with firearms they might not be able to use, they arrived armed only with bear spray. “We ultimately decided not to bring any firearms with us,” says Dave, “but when we got to the border crossing we asked the Canadian customs official about the policy. Basically, if you want to bring a shotgun, you can just pay for a permit at the border and you’re good. If you want to bring a pistol or a rifle, you have to do some paperwork ahead of time, and there are some other conditions. That was the only thing that felt like foreign territory.” They all agreed that if they ever went back through Canada, they would probably take shotguns for bear protection. The customs officer said most people there carry a Remington 870, your standard 12-gauge shotgun. “If you’re going north of the Arctic Circle where you have polar bears,” Ed continues, “you’d definitely want one.” Western Canada is as beautiful and vast as the American northwest

THE ROAD GETS TO YOU AFTER A WHILE The team had planned to camp in public campsites, government campsites, or remote campsites depending on what was available to them when they decided to call it a day, often relying on the iOverlander app to find camping facilities. “It’s very helpful when it’s late at night and all the regular campsites are full,” recalls John. They stuck to that 64


plan, it turned out, about every four or five days. After several days roughing it on the road, they’d inevitably insist on finding a place where they could shower – usually a hotel, but occasionally a fellow Land Rover enthusiast would invite them over. In fact, they were invited to use not only showers but also garages and shops throughout the trip by folks in the Land Rover community. John recalls the generosity along the way. “Probably a dozen times we met people in their towns, and they’d invite us to their home for dinner or to camp with them, and sometimes we’d take them to dinner. But they always introduced us to a broader group of Rover enthusiasts. It added so much to the trip. Everybody wanted to talk about the trucks. Several people drove a couple hours to meet with us. On a couple occasions people dropped everything they were doing to come join us for a couple days on the trails.” By day ten, trail fatigue was setting in. It’s a pretty common occurrence on long trips like these, according to Dave. “You’re pushing hard, driving long distances, not getting enough sleep, everyone’s edgy. We were planning on doing some remote camping, and the look on everyone’s faces said we were just tuckered out. We were hitting a different town every night. So we went into White Horse early and had almost a full day in town just relaxing. We all got a nice shower and a nap, had a good dinner and regrouped. Then we hit the road again the next day all refreshed. At Smithers, the same thing happened. We arrived, couldn’t find a campsite, were tired, and just ended up getting a room.” Meeting great people along the way lightened the burden considerably, recalls John. “We ran into a lot of overlanders on the road, and we talked to them a lot about where they’d been and what they’d seen. And some of them rolled with us for a while. We made a lot of global friends, and really that’s where we got a lot of great information on what to see and what to avoid, where to camp and where to eat.” And of course, rolling into a new town in a pack of Defenders is a sure way to meet people. “The convoy of trucks was an absolute beacon. People took selfies with our vehicles. We had people hanging out the windows of their cars taking pictures. It was actually hard to leave gas stations; people wanted to talk to us, literally endlessly, about the trucks and our trip and the trips they wanted to do.”

slept with one ear open, listening all night.” The wildlife situation in Denali was undoubtedly the biggest concern. “We did a lot of research on bear safety. There are ten or twelve things you should do to avoid inviting bears to your camp, and we followed them. The thing is, as careful as you might be, you really have to worry about what the people before you may have left behind. We’d wake up and see bear tracks near the campsites, but we never actually saw bears near our campsites. They’re more afraid of humans than we are of them… in most cases. The moose are more dangerous; they’ll trample you.” Perhaps it was this thrill of the unknown – the reality of truly being part of nature, or for once not being at the top of the food chain – but the

DENALI – WORTH THE ENTIRE DRIVE “Denali was truly magical. Part of what made it magical was the people that reached out to us,” John recounts. “When we decided to do the trip, we reached out through social media and basically had an open book on our schedule. With the help of the TRACKamap software, anyone could track us from anywhere in the world and meet us along the way.” One such person who reached out on the NAS-ROW forums was Ryan Teasely, the chef at the private Tonglen Lake Lodge near Denali. He invited the guys up to the lodge, where he cooked for them, and arranged for them to camp on lodge property for a night. The following day he gave them a tour of the national park and helped them locate a campsite outside the park where they stayed the following night. “We wilderness camped about twenty miles off the Denali Highway,” says Ed, who slept outside his vehicle in a one-person tent. “There’s an abundance of wildlife there, including bear and moose. It turned out the spot where we camped was surrounded by wild blueberries, a favorite of grizzly, black, and brown bears, so we were ripe for the picking. I always





wilderness camping in Denali seemed to be the height of the trip for all three guys, though all three cited traveling through the almost endless, incomparable beauty of the landscape as their trip’s chief reward. Before they continued on, Chef Ryan invited the Arizona crew down to his home in Palmer – where of course he cooked for them yet again – serving pizza from the custom oven built into a trailer made from the back half of a Series II. He also introduced the team to other local Land Rover owners from nearby (at least in Alaskan terms) Anchorage, who lavished as much attention on the trucks as on the drivers. John’s Dormobile naturally received extra scrutiny. “It sleeps two up top; with a mattress and sleeping bag and a pillow, it’s as comfortable as my bed at home. We’d get into camp late, and in less than three minutes the roof would be up and deployed and I was ready to camp. I have a German refrigerator, a diesel stove and heater, and running water connected to a 10-gallon tank and a pull-out faucet that I can also use as an outdoor shower. It’s a full home all wrapped up in a 110.” Dave’s 110, though not as luxuriously outfitted as John’s, was also admired for its simple accommodations. “I made a sleep deck in the back with a memory foam mattress. Window blackouts made sleeping easy. It’s about like an MRI machine, though. I’ll probably be looking to lower the sleep deck a few inches.” Not that he needed it in Canada or Alaska, but when he converted the engine to its current Tdi, he had air conditioning installed to make travel more comfortable. Although Ed mostly slept outside his Defender (except for the one night during the squall), he earned lots of respect for all that he managed to pack into a 90. “When I retired a couple years ago, I started using it off-road and doing some things to make it more useful for camping: a chuck box, dual batteries, a skid plate. I use an Ezi-Awn awning off the back of the truck for a second layer of protection. It’s a good camping vehicle.”

that took three days to cover. Dave recalls, “There was this town that had one place where you got gas and some groceries. For many miles we didn’t see anyone. You’d see the occasional RV or trucker, but otherwise we were on our own. “The campsite we found at Dease Lake was unbelievable. It was kind of a fluke. We were driving and wondered if a road went down to the lake. And it did. It was so picturesque. That was pretty much the only time we didn’t have cellphone service the whole trip. We were set up with satellite phones through Iridium, which were great to have in case of an emergency,” says John. “But otherwise we were off the grid. There was no grid.” Arriving to more civilized parts of British Columbia, the guys had hoped to do some off-roading at the Whipsaw Trail on their way through, but summer wildfires had forced closure of all the roads, banning all offroading to keep the trails clear for emergency vehicles. Once back in the States, they paid a visit to Brian Hall at Defenders Northwest – who was originally planning to join them for part of the trip – before heading toward the Pacific Coast for another big push south. “We wanted to do the redwood forests,” says John, “the so-called ‘Avenue of the Giants.’ That too was unlike anything we’d ever seen.” From there they continued down through California, hitting Napa before arriving in Pismo Beach late in the evening. The morning brought a little fun on the famed dunes, and then it was south through Los Angeles for a final stop on the road in Palm Springs. The following day, August 18, would find them safely back at their respective homes, their loved ones anxiously awaiting their arrival – exactly thirty days after their departure, after 8,994 miles were logged on John’s odometer, after countless memories were forever ingrained in the trio’s hearts and minds.


It’s never easy for a group to hit the road for a long trip. It can even be harder to return home and still be friends. Somehow, perhaps through a level of maturity and cooperation that only comes from the enduring of shared hardship, these three guys never had an issue on their long road to Denali and back. “Pick your travel companions wisely,” advises Ed. “Otherwise it can be a total disaster. I’d say we were like three brothers, except even brothers fight. Everything was just done. Everybody shared the work. How many people do you know that could go on the road with you for thirty days and not have issues or fights?” Perhaps it was the fact there was no set schedule, no predetermined agenda, which made everyone a bit more relaxed. John recalls, “Ed was such a good man. He’s got that V8 and could have done 90 [miles per hour] up hills if he wanted to. But he stuck with us, going 45 mph the whole time. He just chilled out and was our tail gunner the whole time.”

Denali marked the apex of the journey. By the time they’d arrived in Palmer, the guys had covered nearly 4,800 miles in 17 days. A fair amount of those miles had been covered on pavement, but probably a third were on dirt or gravel roads; several hundred were accrued on rough trails. The toll on the vehicles was relatively light but no less real. John’s EGT probe continued to dislodge itself until a new fitting could be installed. He also had issues keeping an intercooler hose connected; the fix required considerable cooling time before it could be tackled, usually in the dark. A hailstorm had cracked his windshield. Dave’s 110 had a pressing brake issue, with warning light indicated maybe a sticking brake piston. John’s wet front hub indicated his was more than just a minor glitch. All this (except the windshield) was eventually remedied on the road, but the trucks were feeling the effects of all those miles. Sights were now set on returning south. Lying between Dawson in the Yukon Territory and Prince George in British Columbia is simply majestic terrain, its appeal heightened because there are almost no humans there to spoil it. Canada’s Highway 37 – the Stewart-Cassiar Highway – is very remote, so remote that the crew passed through only three towns on one five-hundred-mile section

“I got into the Zen of going slow,” admits Ed. There’s probably a lesson in there for all of us. But this crew isn’t slowing down at all, just taking a break before the next adventure. “Oh, yeah,” says John. “We’re going to continue doing expeditions together. We’re already planning our next one for the spring [2018].

OPPOSITE Not exactly the direct route, but so many memories were made by taking the long way.


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ang out in any Land Rover-exclusive discussion forum or Facebook community long enough, and you’re bound to see a handful of regulars turn up, for better or for worse. One of the most visible and generous of the “good guys” across many of these sites is the enigmatic PT Schram. He makes his living wrenching on Land Rovers, but he also somehow always finds time to share his encyclopedic knowledge of their technical ailments and respective remedies with troubled owners far and wide. Often viewed as a guru or a shaman, PT is undeniably not your typical Rover tech. Well-read and worldly wise, he is as likely to make an obscure literary reference as he is to cross reference a part number for you. What makes him even more oracular is that he’s running his busy repair shop not from some tony enclave in the Northeast but from a cornfield in rural Indiana. To uncover a bit of the mystique that surrounds him, we recently pinned PT down for a quick Q&A. As ever, he was gracious with his time – efficient, too, working through the installation of a new camshaft in his personal vehicle the whole time we talked. Contrary to what you might expect, PT wasn’t always a Land Rover guy. In fact, it wasn’t until 2001 that the now 54-year-old Schram finally bit the bullet. “I have ten acres of land in the Upper Peninsula [of Michigan] where I am the third-generation owner,” he explains. “My portion doesn’t have consistent road access during the year. I had a 1992 Blazer with pretty much all the heavy-duty options, and the first time I took it down the new road I’d built, I bent the frame. My best friend said, ‘You need to get a Defender.’ So I called my nearest dealer in Indianapolis and tried to buy a Defender 90. This was 1994. The price wasn’t bad, but they wouldn’t give me anything for my Blazer, so I just couldn’t do it.” Fast-forward to 2001, and that bent Blazer had managed to rack up nearly 200,000 miles. “I started looking for a replacement that wasn’t outrageously expensive, that I could get a note for, and that could make it down the road to my camp. A guy in Fort Wayne was selling a Discovery,

a Defender, and a bunch of Series trucks. I ended up buying the Disco. It was delivered with a jump box under the hood and an alternator on the passenger’s seat. Classic Land Rover story, right? And it was Friday, April 13, no less. So I hot-swapped the alternator and we took off on its first voyage to Michigan. “As we got to camp and slowed down, the truck started to sink a little bit. My wife says to me, ‘Do I need to get out and push?’ I’d only owned the truck about nine hours, so I said, ‘I don’t know. Let’s find out.’ I don’t think I even put it in low range, and as we were driving through the rough roads and the mud to get to the cabin, I was already pretty well hooked on the truck.” Since then, he’s owned at least 40 (perhaps as many as 50) Land Rovers, none of them newer than his wife’s former 2002 Discovery II. He is unabashedly fond of Range Rover Classics. “A 4.2 is my favorite. And the level of elegance in a long-wheelbase [Classic] is something that is not duplicated in anything else I can think of.” He still has a soft spot for the Discovery I as well, the model that first brought him into the fold. “My favorite daily driver was my [Series III] 109 Stage One. It had an abundance of power with the 3.5 in it. Fort Wayne is also the hometown of the Scout; I had so many locals ask me what model and year my Scout was. It was a nice departure from people asking about my Jeep,” he admits. “When I drove Series vehicles, I stopped wearing a watch, because I always knew I’d get where I was going; I just didn’t know how long it was going to take me. So I didn’t see any reason to wear a watch. I’ll also admit that I ran out of fuel three times in one day in my 109. But I loved it.” Having grown up working on engines and other machinery – his mother owned a diesel repair shop in Fort Wayne, and out of high school he helped a local guy rebuild crashed airplanes – it was only natural that PT would teach himself the ways of the Rover V8. “It’s basically an early ’60s Buick engine, and the first engines I really did any wrenching on were early ’60s Chevrolets. It’s all small-block Chevy under the heads. I learned how to work on my D1 by breaking stuff on it. But once I started working



“I’ve done just about everything except play the piano in a house of ill repute. All of the education I have has taught me to be precise, which has served me very well working on Rovers.” on mine, I had people coming up to me and saying, ‘Nice Rover. Who does your work?’ That’s when I realized the first thing two Land Rover owners ask each other when they meet is who works on their trucks.” It wasn’t long before he started taking on some after-hours work. “About a year later I told my wife, ‘I have a little problem here. It’s not a bad problem; it’s probably a good one, in fact. Last month I made about a thousand dollars fixing Rovers.’ A month or two after that I told her I had another problem, and she wanted to know how much I’d earned this time. I said I made about a thousand dollars this week.” The real problem wasn’t the side money but his day job at a local auto parts manufacturer. “About this time we’d gone to Beckley, West Virginia, to pick up a Series IIA. Beckley is about a ten-hour drive from Fort Wayne. But the ride back took us about 19 hours, because a tornado was coming through Columbus, Ohio, and we got caught on the bypass. I had just gotten a new supervisor at work, where I was in the HR department. I was on double-secret probation, so I couldn’t be late to work or miss a day. Let’s just say my relationship with the auto parts factory was not as positive as I would have liked it to have been.” This was in November, 2003. “I went ahead and rented a 1,500-squarefoot shop space and threw away my nice cushy factory job to work on Land Rovers. By March of 2004 I was in 3,000 square feet, and by the following June I was in 4,500. At one point I had five people in the shop and three in the office.” In 2006, PT and his wife made a diversion, moving to Portland, Oregon, where her best friend lived. “I went out to Portland to convert her friend’s ’93 Classic to coil suspension and to replace the heater

blower motor. When we went to the dealership to get heater hoses, I asked if they had any openings. A couple months later I ended up as a service adviser in the classic department.” Unfortunately, the Pacific Northwest was a misfit for this native Midwesterner. “Some people from Indiana can go to Portland and it suits them,” he muses. “Others it doesn’t. So I ended up back in Fort Wayne again. We moved into the family home I’d grown up in and that I’d bought from my dad back in 2000, and I took a job at a local independent shop.” The house had been up for sale while they were in Oregon, but shortly after moving back they took an irrefutable offer on it, selling it for twice of its appraised value. He took the windfall and, as he says, “bought two and a half acres in the middle of, well…there are cornfields everywhere I look. This is the kind of place to be in when you’re fixing Land Rovers for a living.” And just like that he was back in business. But how the hell does one go from wrenching on his own vehicles to running a bustling shop? Especially a shop in northeast Indiana specializing in Land Rovers? Certainly not by taking the conventional route. “Being a precocious young lad, in high school I decided to take the NIASE [National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence] engine repair certification test when my mother owned the diesel shop. I’d already been working on my own engines for seven or eight years by then. And I passed!” He also logged 1,500 hours of apprentice time as an airframe and powerplant mechanic in the early ’80s. “But that’s the only formal mechanical training I’ve had. I’m a voracious reader, and I have a college education in business (corporate financial management) and chemistry. I’ve also had a HAM radio license since 1977. I’ve done just about everything except play the piano in a house of ill repute. All of the education I have has taught me to be precise, which has served me very well working on Rovers.” He jokes today about the circuitous path he took to become a Rover technician. “That’s what happens when your parents send you away to

OPPOSITE The cheerful smile of a man who loves his work. ABOVE Freelander the shop kitty watches over as PT does his work



college for nine years and you come home and aren’t smart enough to get a job. The first six years were the best vacation my mother’s money could buy,” he says, making light of the fact that he actually went to Transylvania University, a small private college in Lexington, Kentucky. “Not many people can say that sincerely.” Still, PT’s ability to pull clients to his modest shop amidst the corn is quite impressive. “I have a 110 in the back right now that came from Bahrain. We have a large ex-pat African community in Fort Wayne, from Kenya and Chad especially. They all have Rovers, and I work on all of them. I draw from pretty far though. My parts manager is from South Africa, and when I hear him on the phone I never know quite what language I’m hearing. Occasionally it’s clicks and whistles. As a result of that, we’ve built up an international client list for service as well.” He’s earned a reputation for stocking unusual parts as well. “I’ve been into Tdi’s for about ten years now, and if you need an obscure part for a 300 Tdi, there’s a pretty good chance I have it. Guys are shocked to call and find out I have parts they needed for a Td5, considering how few of those [engines] there are in the U.S. Of course, when you own twenty Land Rovers of your own, you kind of have to be a parts vendor if you want to keep them on the road.” While his shop is always humming with work, it’s PT’s presence online that’s made him more universally recognizable. He’s quick to chime in on technical questions when they inevitably pop up, and he’s patient with newcomers. He’s often tagged in conversations and gets phone calls from strangers at odd hours. And he almost always takes the call. “I have been interrupted at funerals by people needing help with their Land Rovers. I’ve been interrupted in meetings with bankers, managers, you name it. I was once at the Field Museum in Chicago and had to step outside so I could take a call. And I think that’s one of the things that differentiate me in the Rover world. I really do go out of my way to make myself available.”

This willingness to help is part of his nature, the result of a lifechanging event in his former corporate work. “In 1988 or ’89 [as an environmental health and safety inspector] I did a fatal accident investigation at an automobile plating plant in Auburn, Indiana. Five men died because they didn’t know general chemistry. At that point I decided I wasn’t going to let anything bad happen to somebody just because they didn’t know something I knew. It sounds kind of hokey, but I devoted my life to not letting other people get killed because they didn’t know something.” This philosophy extends beyond Rover repair. “I’ve been trained to the 72-hour level on rope rescue, technical rescue, high-angle rescue, confined-space rescue, and vehicle and aircraft extrication, so that I can go out and train others how to not get hurt in confined spaces. Sixty percent of people who die in confined spaces are would-be rescuers, and in the event they do have to go in, they’ll know how.” For all the training and vehicle expertise, you’d expect to find PT out on the trails regularly. But there are only so many hours in a day, and wheeling often falls off his schedule. “I had some shirts made up a couple years ago. Yellow writing on black, and at the top it says, ‘I was abducted by aliens’ with a line through it. Below that it read, ‘I saw Bigfoot’ with a line through it. And at the bottom it says, ‘I’ve wheeled with PT Schram.’ No line through it! “I just don’t have time for it, unfortunately. I know everyone says it’s the wrong way to do it, but I’ve done a lot of my wheeling solo.” He half jokes about making an updated shirt that will read, “Are you now or have you ever been wheeling with PT Schram?” (an intellectual nod to McCarthyism). “A lot of people say they don’t like wheeling with groups because you go through an obstacle and then everyone wants to get out and watch everyone else go through it. And that’s fun; the camaraderie is great. But if I want to go out and roll, I can do that alone or with one other person. “I actually don’t mind if I’m with someone whose truck isn’t built up as much as mine. I don’t even have lockers on my truck. I’m convinced there is no better out-of-the-box off-road vehicle than Land Rover. And I hope that by my not having lockers, I encourage others to go out and

BELOW The trail rig he almost never gets to use, surrounded by corn as far as the eye can see.


do things [in their stock trucks]. I just hope everyone else’s truck has at least been maintained with new parts so it’s not going to fail, but if it does I’ll still fix it for them on the trail.” His experience off-road with newer vehicles is limited, but he still has a lot of respect for Land Rover’s continued efforts. “I did get out to a dealer event where I had an opportunity to see some of those, and I was amazed at what they’re capable of right out of the box. And look, one doesn’t need to wheel just because he owns a Land Rover, but I feel you’re missing out on much of the experience by not doing it. The romance of the Land Rover to me is the sense of discovery and the ability to get out to someplace where you can say, ‘Well, when was the last time someone was out here?’ That’s fascinating to me.” If you want to get him worked up, talk to PT about poor maintenance and used parts. “I get really pretty irate when guys tell you, ‘I’d never own one of those. It’s going to overheat, it’s going to slip a sleeve, they’re junk, blah, blah, blah…’ I am absolutely convinced the problems with the D2s in particular are all related to lack of attention by the owners. That’s all there is to it. My wife drives a 2000 D2, and every morning I get up and check the oil level and the coolant level, and I pull it out of the garage and turn it around for her. You need to lift the hood. “The lack of maintenance drives me nuts. Your truck broke because you didn’t listen to what it was telling you. I think the person who checks their oil on a daily basis will have a stronger bond. Unlike a lot of techs, I don’t mind teaching you how to work on the truck yourself – I hope you’ll at least buy your parts from me – because I think you’ll have a better bond, a better understanding of your truck. You’re going to learn a new skill, and that’s going to make you more confident. And if you get in too deep, I’ll still fix it for you.” This philosophy goes back to his HAM radio days. “In HAM radio, your mentor is called your ‘Elmer.’ I don’t know where that comes from, but I’ve had a lot of Elmers. I’ve had a lot of people take the time to

teach me something. And if you want to learn it, I’ll teach it to you. Of course, Ayn Rand said there’s no such thing as true altruism; there’s always something we hope to get from it. I don’t want to be predatory, but she might have been onto something there.” He recalls a recent event that perfectly illustrated his frustration with certain elements of the Land Rover community. “I stopped by a local Jeep shop, and this young woman drove in with a brand-new Wrangler Rubicon, directly from the dealership to this shop, and wrote them a $10,000 check as a deposit on the mods she was having them perform. Here’s somebody that spent probably forty grand on a new truck and then spent another twenty grand modifying it. And I can’t get Land Rover owners to put new U-joints in place of the rotoflex in the boneyard driveshaft they bought! I just don’t understand that mentality.” Perhaps that’s one reason he’s looking to take his business in a new direction. PT sees an opportunity to make a name for himself building large-displacement, high-output versions of the Rover V8. “I don’t know whether it’s arrogance or just confidence, but I have a block that I’ve done some proof of concept work on; I think I can easily build a 5.5-liter Rover engine.” That might sound like crazy talk to some people, but PT is dead serious. He’s currently building a dyno room in his workshop, complete with an 800-hp Stuska engine dyno backed up with Performance Trends data acquisition. “By the end of next week I’ll have an eight-by-sixteen room with fire suppression, and by the time the snow falls, I’ll have almost half a mile of PEX tubing in my pond to provide for climate control for the room to keep testing temps consistent year-round.” That level of detail is why he’s earned his reputation – quirky but thorough. Don’t get too worked up about his switching gears a bit, however. Somehow we know he’ll still find time to help you diagnose your no-start situation, or walk you through a head gasket job. That’s just the way he’s wired.



DISCOVERY I 1994-1999

The genesis of Land Rover’s family adventurer WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOS Land Rover


or the first two decades of Land Rover’s existence, the product lineup consisted of just a single, evolutionary model line. What we now call the Series vehicles were originally known simply as Land Rovers. It wasn’t until 1970 that a separate, distinct model emerged with closed bodywork and coil spring suspension – the Range Rover. Progress was just as slow for nearly another two decades, as the Series utilities and the more luxurious Range Rover would comprise the entire Land Rover portfolio. By the late 1980s, the Japanese had deconstructed the formula for family-friendly, lifestyle-focused SUVs based on their own respective pickup truck platforms. This new class of vehicle, including Nissan’s Pathfinder, Toyota’s 4Runner and Mitsubishi’s Montero, offered levels of comfort and refinement approaching that of a Range Rover, delivered better fuel economy, required less maintenance, and sported contemporary styling. Even on its home turf, where being an English brand was a major selling point, Land Rover was losing sales to these newcomers. Cash, as always, had been the main factor holding back a deeper product mix. Seeing the need for a more competitive vehicle in the marketplace, parent company British Leyland signed off late in 1986 on Project Jay, an initiative to develop a new vehicle based on the existing Range Rover architecture. The final evolution of Project Jay emerged as

the market-ready Discovery at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September of 1989, making its debut – as did the original Range Rover – as a two-door station wagon. The Discovery’s surfaces were fresh, more contemporary and car-like than its stablemates. Smooth, tall bodywork, narrow (relatively speaking, of course) panel gaps, a nearly flat hood, and hidden induction inlets for the ventilation system were all clear departures from the Range Rover’s styling idiom. As a visual nod to the Series models, the Discovery also incorporated a stepped roofline with rear alpine windows that provided more headroom than the veteran on which it was based. A full side-swinging rear door – complete with an externally mounted spare tire – provided easy access to the optional side-facing jump seats that expanded seating up to seven. Despite the Discovery’s modish appearance, it was essentially a Range Rover underneath, right down to the chassis and drivetrain. Not so much as wheelbase dimension changed on the spec sheet. It even borrowed the Rangie’s windshield. Given such a short development cycle, it should come as no surprise the Discovery also commandeered parts from various shelves in the greater Leyland warehouses, including headlights, taillights, door handles, and virtually all the interior switchgear. The Discovery went on sale in the UK and 74

Europe as a 1990 model; a four-door variant was released shortly after launch. Even though North America was taking kindly to the Range Rover (officially introduced to the market only in 1987), the Discovery wasn’t quite ready for stateside sales. Production capacity was a challenge, as the Discovery was popular in Europe almost immediately, but there was also a matter of first properly reestablishing the Land Rover brand after a fourteen-year absence from America. The Discovery finally arrived in North America as a 1994 model, benefitting from a number of running changes to the original model. Flush headlights and a pair of additional taillights in the rear bumper were the significant visual changes to the exterior, while airbags were fitted for both the driver and front passenger, a first for Land Rover. Only the four-door version was imported, though the two-door variant soldiered on in other markets. For North America, only one engine would be available: a 3.9-liter version of the venerable Rover V8, the same engine that had been standard in the Range Rover since 1989, with Lucas 14CUX (derived from Bosch’s L-Jetronic technology) electronic fuel injection. A choice of five-speed manual (Rover’s R380 box) or ZF four-speed automatic transmissions was offered up; either one permanently connected to both front and rear wheels through the trusty LT230 transfer case with a standard


locking center differential. The Discovery arrived here well equipped with a base price under $30,000. A cloth interior was standard, but as on the Range Rover Connolly leather was available. Dualzone climate control with air conditioning and power windows were standard features, along with four-wheel anti-lock brakes. The optional seven-passenger configuration could also be ordered with rear air conditioning. Standard heated exterior mirrors, rear window defogger, headlight washers, and rear fog lights meant the Discovery was pretty well prepared for all conditions. In its six-year run, the Discovery I was vital in helping to shape the emergent Land Rover brand. It proved to be every bit as tough as Land Rovers past, and nearly as luxurious as the Range Rover on which it was based. With very little effort, Land Rover had a true success on its hands, having created a premium offering in the growing family SUV market. It’s worth noting that the Discovery’s US introduction came at an interesting time for Land Rover. In January of 1994, BMW announced that it would acquire the Rover Group from its then owner, British Aerospace. The deal closed later that year, giving the German luxury brand access to a wealth of resources on four-wheel drive and SUVs from arguably the best name in the business. The course of the Discovery I was already set, but the influence of the Germans would show up in the second-generation Discovery, which arrived, not coincidentally, in 1999, just as BMW was launching its first SUV.

1994 The launch year was an abbreviated one for the new Discovery model. Debuting in the spring of 1994 at the New York Auto Show, it went on sale almost immediately thereafter. Only one model designation was offered – simply “Discovery” – and there were no special editions. The base price of $28,900 got you a fivespeed, cloth-lined five-passenger vehicle with no sunroofs (a specification that many enthusiasts today would kill for). Not surprisingly, an automatic with leather and dual sunroofs was a more popular setup. Color choices were gleaned from the Range Rover palette, with Alpine White, Ardennes

Green, Beluga Black, Caprice Teal, Coniston Green, Plymouth Blue, Portofino Red and Roman Bronze rounding out the selections. All interiors were Bahama Beige, whether cloth or leather. A total of 4,033 examples of the 1994 Discovery were sold to US buyers. Canada sold the Discovery in 1994 as well, but they were all marketed as 1995 models. The 1994 models’ only distinguishing feature are its 16-inch Castor alloys, which were finished in a pewter gray color instead of bright silver on later versions. Some of the Canadian 1995 models were actually built to 1994 US spec, including the pewter-colored alloys.

1995 There were only a handful of changes for the Discovery’s sophomore year in North America. With the exception of side impact beams for the rear doors, no major technical changes were implemented. Inside, the front seats gained lumbar supports, the telltale dials distinguishing them from the previous year’s version. The remote door lock transmitter also gained the function of illuminating the interior when unlocking the vehicle. The new list price, $29,350, reflected the modesty of the improvements. Otherwise, differences came down to colors. In addition to the aforementioned alloy wheels, which were now bright sparkle silver, Epsom Green replaced Ardennes Green and Plymouth Blue retired to make way for the more brilliant Biarritz Blue on the color pallet. No special editions were introduced for 1995. Four Wheeler magazine crowned the Discovery its “Four Wheeler of the Year” for 1995. American sales of 1995 models more than doubled at 10,552 units (also exceeding 1995 Range Rover Classic, Range Rover P38 and Defender 90 sales combined). A total of 639 Canadian-spec models were sold (including early “94-spec” models).

1996 The first big changes to the Discovery came in 1996. Among the amendments was a multitiered model range to delineate between basic and premium specs, as well as a revision to the engine management system that resulted in an entirely new (if not entirely honest) designation. More luxury features also made


their way into higher-spec models, reaching ever closer toward Range Rover territory. Rather than continuing to offer a single model with options, the 1996 Discovery lineup now consisted of distinct SD, SE, and SE7 models, each with its own package of features. The base SD model was modestly outfitted with cloth interior and a manual gearbox, and went without the dual sunroofs. Available only as a five-passenger truck, it could be optioned with an automatic transmission. Otherwise, exterior color was the only other decision you’d have to make on an SD, which started at $29,950. The SE model boasted the majority of Discovery sales in North America, arriving equipped with an automatic transmission, leather interior, seating for five, and dual sunroofs as standard. New for 1996 were eight-way power front seats, standard on the SE but not available on the SD. A new wheel design, the Freestyle Choice, was fitted to distinguish the SE from the base model, which still wore the Castor alloys. Base price for the SE was $35,350. For another $2,575, the SE7 added rear jump seats (seating seven in total) and rear air conditioning to the SE package, but was otherwise identically outfitted. Across the 1996 Discovery range, a new auto-dimming rearview mirror joined the standard equipment list, along with illuminated vanity mirrors above both sun visors. More importantly, the 3.9-liter V8 was upgraded to GEMS (Lucas’ Generic Engine Management System). While the 14CUX system controlled only the fuel delivery, GEMS also controlled ignition, eliminating the traditional rotary distributor in favor of a bank of solid-state coil packs. This engine also employed OBD II software as mandated on all 1996 vehicles in America. Displacement remained the same at 3933cc, but the new engine was marketed under the 4.0 designation. Performance was virtually unchanged; horsepower remained the same at 182 hp, but torque increased slightly from 232 to 233 lb-ft. Fuel economy improved by a more noticeable margin, from 12 mpg city/16 mpg highway to 13/18 with a manual transmission, and from 13/16 to 14/16 with the automatic. Color offerings changed again, with Biarritz Blue, Coniston Green, Roman Bronze and Caprice Teal stepping aside to make room for Altai Silver, Avalon Blue and Willow Green.


Interiors remained Bahama Beige regardless of seating material or paint color, except for Altai Silver, which was trimmed in Granitecolored materials. There was also a very limited run (10 units) of Trek competition vehicles finished in brilliant AA Yellow (see below). The simplified lineup was clearly working for US Land Rover dealers, who sold 17,700 examples of the 1996 Discovery; Canada held steady at just 620 units.

1997 Beneath-the-surface refinements for the 1997 model year kept the Discovery competitive among a growing list of challengers. Chief among the upgrades was a quieter transfer case, the LT230Q (Q for “quiet”), with a higher tooth-count on the high gear set to reduce gear whine at highway speeds. One subtle change was mid-year change to darker window tint subtle. More obvious was the addition of California walnut veneer trim on the dashboard, lending the Disco a bit of traditional British warmth and luxury. Less apparent, but easy enough to spot if you’re looking, is the absence of the mast-style radio

antenna from the right-front fender. This was retired in favor of a glass-mounted diversity antenna for better reception. The three-model lineup pressed on essentially unchanged with SD, SE and SE7 models. To accompany the new wood dash trim, SE and SE7 models also received wood trim on the center console. The two upper models were also given new 16-inch alloys – the five-spoke Deep Dish design – while the SD continued on with the Freestyles; all Discoverys were shod with 235/70-16 Michelins. Added to the color choice was Charleston Green and Oxford Blue; Rioja Red displaced the long-running Portofino Red. Late in the year, Land Rover added an LSE model as a special edition, finished in either White Gold or British Racing Green, both of which were trimmed in Lightstone leather instead of the Bahama Beige or Granite in all other paint colors. Another special edition, the XD, was basically outfitted like the 1996 TReK specials and finished in the same AA Yellow. Prices started at $32,000 for the SD, $36,000 for the SE, and $38,500 for the SE7. Sales dipped slightly to 14,545 units for the 76

US; Canada’s 762 sales were a modest upturn.

1998 The three-model lineup had worked pretty well for the Discovery, but almost everyone was taking up the higher-spec SE and SE7 models. For 1998, Land Rover revamped the offerings, eliminating the SD model along with its five-speed gearbox (except in Canada, where the SD remained but was only offered with an automatic transmission) and expanding the former SE models into LE and LSE. Unlike the previous few years, neither model specifically indicated five- or sevenpassenger configurations; instead, both LE and LSE models could be ordered in either seating arrangement. The 1998 Discovery LE was essentially the same as 1997’s SE model, with leather (Bahama Beige only), automatic and dual sunroofs standard. The rear seat finally got a center armrest and there were map lights integrated into the rearview mirror. The LSE model was immediately distinguishable by its chrome bumpers and body-colored bumper caps, mirror caps and grille, as well as the new Boost five-spoke


“With very little effort, Land Rover had a true success on its hands, having created a premium offering in the growing family SUV market.”

alloys. Stainless steel accents were added to the door sill plates and body rub strips, and the exterior door handles were also stainless steel instead of all black. Inside, the LSE wore Lightstone leather exclusively (paired with a limited selection of paint colors) and added wood trim to the door panels. A leather shift boot on the transfer case added extra flair, while a more powerful 240-watt Harman Kardon eight-speaker stereo with CD changer was standard. Colors were somewhat model-dependent for 1998. Beluga Black and Oxford Blue could cloak either model, but Charleston Green, Epsom Green, Woodcote Green, Chawton White, Rioja Red and Rutland Red were only available on the LE; exclusive to the LSE were White Gold, British Racing Green and Willow Green. All the colors rules were broken a bit by the 50th Anniversary Edition LSE, which was finished in Woodcote Green and trimmed in Bahama leather but which featured Lightstone piping on the seats. Pricing was regressive for 1998 as the competition heated up. The Discovery LE started at $34,500, cheaper than the previous year’s SE by $1,500. The LSE was $500 cheaper than the 1997 despite a host of additional trim and features, though that price no longer


included the rear seating and air conditioning, which were now optional. In response to the competition, the warranty went from three years/42,000 miles to four years/50,000 miles on all Land Rovers. The Discovery was starting to show its age against a new breed of challengers, and sales reflected that with another slight dip to 13,144 trucks in the US, though Canada added to its previous mark with a total of 790 units.

1999 The final year for the first-generation Discovery was an unusual one, as its all-new replacement arrived on the scene during the same model year with a number of major changes and a freshened appearance. Only one model was offered for a short period before the Discovery II was launched. Badged as an SD model, it was unlike previous SDs in that it featured leather interior and automatic transmission as standard, along with power seats. It was offered only in the five-passenger configuration, and the dual sunroofs were optional. Six colors were available – Chawton White, Rutland Red, Rioja Red, Oxford Blue, Woodcote Green and White Gold – with Bahama Beige the only interior trim. There


were no special editions for the final run. A total of 5,470 Discovery SDs was sold in the US with a base price of $33,000.

1998 50th Anniversary

As Land Rover continued to be involved in expeditions and special events during the Discovery’s run, there were a couple of special editions to commemorate these as well as a fifty-year anniversary model.

they were finished in AA Yellow, the official color of England’s Automobile Association (equivalent to America’s AAA motorist assistance organization). When the Trek vehicles were done with their duties, they filtered back into civilian life, sold as used vehicles through Land Rover dealers. One such vehicle, which was found dilapidated and eventually restored, was featured in the Summer 2017 issue of Alloy+Grit.

1996 Trek Edition

1997 XD


To support Land Rover’s Trek Challenge (a competition for its retailers) and the Eco Challenge (an eight-day endurance challenge in British Columbia), ten special vehicles were commissioned. All were outfitted with special equipment from the Land Rover Kit catalog, including fire extinguisher, recovery kit, seat covers and rubber floor mats. These ten vehicles are hard to miss, as

The 1997 Discovery XD was essentially a regular production run based on the 1996 Trek Edition. Spec’d essentially the same as a standard SE model, these featured automatic transmissions, skidplates, lamp guards and full roof racks. A total of 250 models were made for the US, twenty-eight of which were used in the Eco Challenge. Another twenty-five were built exclusively for Canada.

The original Discovery has emerged as one of the most capable and accessible Land Rovers you can buy, and they’re often the entry point for a lot of off-road enthusiasts migrating to the brand from other 4x4 vehicles. Decent runners can be found for just a few hundred bucks, and well-kept drivers rarely cost more than a couple grand. Low-mileage, originalcondition examples are pretty rare at this



To commemorate fifty years of Land Rover production, a special edition of Discovery was commissioned. All five-hundred examples were finished in Woodcote Green with Bahama Beige leather accented by Lightstone piping. Five-spoke TWR alloys were unique to this version of the Discovery. Otherwise the 50th Anniversary Edition was a fully loaded LSE model.


point, but so far the Discovery isn’t being viewed as a collectible. Instead, most buyers simply turn to it as an inexpensive way to go off-roading in comfort and style. While first-gen Discoverys are still fairly plentiful, finding the right one requires diligent inspection. As with many older Land Rovers, corrosion is the biggest setback you’re likely to encounter. Mechanically, the Discovery I is fairly bulletproof, lacking as it does the complicated electronics on the model that followed it. However, these trucks are often used hard as well, so you’ll want to look closely for evidence of abuse if you want something that will last. As with any used Land Rover, we recommend using the services of a specialist to inspect anything that’s demanding top dollar. They’ll know where to look and what to avoid. But at the lower end of the market, where a lot of buyers are simply looking for a project anyway, you almost can’t go wrong picking up any complete running vehicle, especially for small cash. If you’re not comfortable deciding on a vehicle, bring along another Discovery owner who does his own work to get a second opinion. Here is what to look for when buying a Discovery I:

Corrosion The Discovery’s exterior panels are mostly aluminum, and they often appear deceptively rust-free to those who are new to the vehicles. But underneath the alloy skin is a steel bodyshell that is prone to corrosion in numerous places. Your inspection should start by opening the rear doors and looking for rust in the corners below the door latches,

where the fender meets door post upright. It can be fixed if you’re handy, though it’s not an easy job. But more importantly, it serves as a red flag: Rust here is a guarantee of rust elsewhere. But don’t let clean rear fenders fool you; there are other places to look. The rocker panels are another checkpoint that can quickly eliminate bad candidates. And don’t forget to look under the rear carpet for corrosion in the cargo floor, another common problem spot. Even if the body checks out clean, the frame itself is prone to converting itself from steel to iron oxide, especially in northern states where salt is used in the winter. Many of these same states require an annual inspection for roadworthiness, and a lot of Discoverys end up for sale after failing their inspection due to structural corrosion. New frames are available, but the cost of buying and swapping in a fresh frame far exceeds the value of a decent Discovery today. Minor frame rot can be repaired in situ depending on the location and extent of the damage, but as a rule rot boxes are best bought for spare parts.

Power Steering Leaks Like most other Land Rovers of this era, the power steering assembly will eventually develop a leak. The whole system, in fact, may be better lubricated externally than the inside of your engine. It’s just unavoidable. Owners who ignore a leaky steering box often run the system low on fluids, leaving the power steering pump at risk of failure as well. Don’t be alarmed by a wet steering assembly; it means there’s likely still fluid in the system. However, be prepared to replace or rebuild the box, especially if you plan to use 79

the truck off-road. Budget time and money for the job to avoid the inevitable, and while you’re at it, spring for a new pump and hoses.

Cooling System Many newcomers hear horror stories about Discovery head gasket and overheating issues. In reality, these affect the Discovery II (late 1999 to 2004) far more than the first generation. However, an unmaintained cooling system on a Disco I can certainly lead to other cooling component issues. Look for evidence of leaks at the water pump, the heads, and all hose junctions. Don’t forget the radiator. An ignored leak can lead to overheating, which can quickly warp the aluminum cylinder heads.

Trim and Electronics Exterior trim pieces, particularly rubber seals, commonly crack and fade on the Discovery, especially on those otherwise desirable rustfree vehicles from the southwest. These can be hard to source as new parts. The power window motors and regulators commonly quit as well, so confirm their operation before buying. The dual sunroofs, so desirable when the vehicles were new, bring with them a couple of common issues later in life. The first is leaking, as the drain tubes either clog or the nipples where they connect to drainage trays break with age. Either way, leaks are common, typically foretold by stains in the headliner cloth. Sunroof motors and control units are notoriously troublesome as well, and many owners choose to ignore them when they fail. Depending on your priorities, you may wish to simply look for a non-sunroof model and avoid both problems altogether.


General Mechanical Condition Mechanically speaking, the Discovery I, however is fairly robust, but hard use and poor maintenance will take their tolls. Be aware of excessive noise or free play in the driveline that may indicate rough use or neglected maintenance of the differentials or transfer case. Check the driveshaft universal joints, as they wear out if not maintained and the result can be catastrophic if they fail at speed. Also look closely at the brake pipes, particularly on vehicles with corrosion on the chassis.

MODIFICATIONS The options available to modify a Discovery for off-road use are extensive, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular with many enthusiasts. While quite capable right out of the box, their performance can be improved with a few simple upgrades.

Suspension Ground clearance is often the first area most owners look for improvement. Taller springs typically lift the chassis anywhere from about two inches with no further modifications required, to several inches that need longer brake lines, radius arms and other changes to suspension components. For use both on-road and off-, a lift of two inches will maintain a sensible center of gravity, allow for taller

tires (up to about 33 inches in diameter), and provide a good degree of additional clearance. Don’t forget to upgrade shocks at the same time to match the new ride and handling requirements.

Axles and Diffs The factory driveline is rather hearty and should serve well under most conditions. All Discovery I models were fitted with a locking center differential, but the front and rear main diffs are open. Serious off-roaders may choose to install pneumatically actuated locking diffs, such as those from ARB, to ensure that torque makes it to every wheel regardless of traction.

Body and Chassis Protection Avoiding terrestrial contact with critical components is key to getting off the trail. To that end, many owners spend a fair amount protecting the body and chassis. Tougher off-road bumpers are better equipped to deal with rock and tree contact on the trail, and also provide proper mounting location for an electric winch and recovery hardware. A number of companies produce options to suit just about any budget. Rock and tree sliders replace the rocker trim to provide protection to the doors, so long as they’re mounted directly to the chassis. 80

These range from slim and subtle to those wide enough to double as steps. A number of companies produce these as well, also for a range of prices depending on features. Various skid plate options offer an additional layer of protection to steering gear, differentials and other underbody components.

Utility Outfitting the Discovery for practical use is part of the fun of owning one. A proper roof rack instantly adds a touch of safari style but adds weight to the highest point of the vehicle. Consider how you’ll use it (or whether you actually need one) before making a decision. Basket-type racks are the most common design and are great for packing gear for travel, but a flat platform-type works best for rooftop tents and certain storage systems. Weight should be a consideration; most racks are pricey anyway, so it’s worth contemplating the advantages of a lighter aluminum rack versus a slightly cheaper but heavier steel rack before dropping your dollars. If you do a roof rack, you’ll probably want to have a rear door ladder to access it. A number of companies produce these, though they’re all essentially the same design. The cheaper ones tend to begin rusting much quicker than the more expensive pieces, so beware.


1994 - 1999 DISCOVERY – 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) Engine Management EPA Economy (Cty/Hwy) Fuel Capacity (Gal) Towing Capacity (lbs.)

3.9 (1994-95) 100.0 178.7 77.4 70.5 58.5 58.5 Aluminum/Steel Body on Frame 4379 39.4 33 29 24 8.1 20

4.0 (1996-99) 100.0 178.7 77.4 70.5 58.5 58.5 Aluminum/Steel Body on Frame 4379 39.4 33 29 24 8.1 20

16.0 x 7.0 Alloy 235/70-16

16.0 x 7.0 Alloy 235/70-16

V8 Gasoline 3947 OHV Pushrod 2 182@4750 227@3500 Lucas 14CUX 12/16 (5M) 13/16 (4A) 23.4 7700/5500

V8 Gasoline 3947 OHV Pushrod 2 182@4750 233@3000 GEMS 13/18 (5M) 14/16 (4A) 23.4 7700/5500

5M/4A LT230 Hi/Lo, CDL

5M/4A LT230 Hi/Lo, CDL

Coil Springs, Radius Arms Coil Springs, Radius Arms

Coil Springs, Radius Arms Coil Springs, Radius Arms

4-wheel disc

4-wheel disc



Transmission Type Transfer Case Suspension Front Rear Brakes Type Interior Seating Capacity


Adventure is worthwhile. S U B S C R I B E T O D AY AT W W W. O U T D O O R X 4 . C O M


TIRE REPAIR ON THE TRAIL Don’t let a flat strand you between a rock and hard place. WORDS Steve Hoare PHOTOS Staff


orget four-wheel drive. Forget diff locks. Forget suspension lift. Nothing is more critical to getting you where you’re going than your tires. And while the disparities between a good tire and a great tire can make all the difference when conditions are less than perfect, even the gnarliest M/T rubber won’t get you very far if it won’t hold air. If you like to hit the trails, tire damage is by far the most likely harm you’ll inflict on your vehicle. And the further off the beaten track you go, the more likely you are to damage your tires on ungroomed rocks and roots, which is why knowing how to repair your tires on the spot – wherever that may be – is a skill worth having. Bias-ply tires with separate inner tubes were once the standard, and they are still rolling around under many vintage Land Rovers. They typically offer a thicker, more rigid sidewall that makes them ideal for off-road use, but that construction makes them noisier onpavement and also degrades ride and handling. For decades now Land Rover has fitted radial tires to all its road vehicles, addressing the shortcomings of the older tire technology. Today’s off-road radials are tough and offer superior grip in challenging conditions, but they are still susceptible to damage. And while avoiding damage is always the first priority,

even the most cautious and alert drivers can find the sharp stuff unexpectedly. A puncture on the trail doesn’t have to end your day, though. Depending on the location, type, and severity of damage, there are several remedies that can keep you rolling, if only long enough to get you out of the woods or the desert. As bias-ply tires are no longer the overwhelming standard today, our advice below is directed primarily at radial tires. (DISCLAIMER: The following tire repair procedures should be considered as temporary fixes for off-road emergencies only. Once you and the vehicle have returned to civilization, the tires should be replaced and wheels checked for damage before being dynamically balanced. Use common sense!)

PREPARATION If prevention is the best medicine, then preparation is like a vaccine when it comes to tire damage. Before you leave the house for a day on the trails, it’s worth taking a close look at all your tires. Even if they’re newer and relatively unworn, they can be harboring a potential threat. An errant screw or nail in the tread can be more easily fixed before you’re in deep. Sidewall cuts or dry rot should have you reconsidering the trip without first addressing them. 83

“The most common tire to get damaged off-road is the rear tire opposite the driver’s side. It’s a simple matter of out of sight, out of mind.”


Don’t forget to inspect your spare tire while you’re at it. We often take for granted the spare, assuming it’s holding air because it looks full. The truth is, pressures can drop over time naturally, as well as from slow leaks in the valve stems, bead leaks from grit forced between the tire and rim, or corrosion where wheel weights are clipped on. Unused and unrotated, externally mounted spares are also susceptible to dry rotting. If the tires are all good, how is your recovery and repair equipment? Do you have a reliable jack? The factory jack may work on level ground, but you’ll need one that can lift the vehicle high enough to change a tire on uneven ground, especially if your truck is lifted. How about wheel removal tools? An adequate breaker bar and the correct lug sockets are invaluable to loosen hardware in less than ideal conditions. Some drivers may be adequately equipped to remove and reinstall a tire on their truck, but most probably lack the tools needed to actually dismount and remount a tire onto a

wheel. Tire irons can come in handy for more serious repairs, as you’ll see below. Of course, any puncture or dismount that you repair will require you to inflate the tire afterward. An air tank is great for reinflating your aired-down tires, but a high-volume inflator or compressor is essential for refilling from empty. We’ve all heard an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is where your driving skills are put to the test, starting with awareness of the surface as you proceed. Mud and snow can often hide sharp rocks and submerged roots, so be aware of local terrain and conditions. Deep ruts in particular leave you vulnerable to sidewall damage. Sand, especially on public shores, often masks the presence of broken glass. Don’t be afraid to get out and check conditions before you proceed, or ask for help spotting when driving through threatening situations. Finally, it’s worth noting that the most common tire to get damaged off-road is the rear tire opposite the driver’s side. It’s a simple matter 84

of “out of sight, out of mind.” Don’t forget: The back half of the truck is just as valuable as the front half. Same for right and left.

TREAD PUNCTURES Tread punctures are the most common type of tire failure on the road, and it’s not uncommon for off-road driving to dislodge a nail or screw you’ve unknowingly been rolling with for days or even weeks. Of course, you can also puncture a tire in the tread area while on the trail. Finding the leak should be straightforward. Listen for the hiss of escaping air, run a gloved hand around the tire to feel for the object, or pour water around the tire and watch for bubbles. It’s a good idea to mark the spot before removing the wheel from the vehicle; duct tape or a tire marker work best. If the damage was inflicted by a small object, such as a nail or fence barb – and you caught it quickly before damaging the tire further – you may be able to get by with that messy but practical first line of defense: tire sealant.


These products screw onto the tire valve and the pressurized sealant flows into the tire carcass. The wheel and tire should be rotated to make sure the sealer coats the inside of the tire and seals the leak. Good old “Fix-a-Flat” can get you rolling again quickly, but you’ll probably want to do some post-trip follow-up for the health of your tire, installing a proper patch and a new valve stem at the very least. These types of fix can also leave a sticky residue on the wheel, so be prepared for some clean-up before fitting a replacement tire. Some tread punctures can produce a hole too large to simply reseal. That’s when the next line of defense – a plug kit – becomes essential. These kits typically contain a selection of plugs, an application tool, a reamer, and lubricant. The plugs are pre-cut lengths of rawhide or other filler material that are covered in a rubber adhesive. The puncture hole should be reamed using a lubricated reamer tool to open up the tire’s internal steel cords for better bite. Once the opening is dressed for repair, the plug is inserted with the applicator tool until about half an inch of the plug is protruding. The plug should make an instant seal (in some cases multiple plugs may be required to make a seal), allowing for the tire to be inflated. The excess plug can be trimmed as close as possible to the tread with a knife or razor; the additional material inside may change the balance of the tire, something you’ll likely notice at higher speeds once you’re back on the road. If you have the means to dismount the tire from the wheel (and remount it afterward) while on the trail, an internal patch is your safest and most reliable option. As a rule, the taller and softer the sidewall, the easier it is to perform this type of repair in the field; lowprofile performance radials are best left to a shop with the proper machines.

OPPOSITE A basic plug kit will take care of most tread punctures. THIS PAGE, TOP TO BOTTOM Mark the puncture before removing the piercing object. The reamer opens up the steel belt in the carcass for better bite. Sink the plug and trim the excess before airing up.



A heavy-duty jack can be used to press the tire off the rim, and tire irons will allow for moving the tire over the lip. Since this type of repair is more permanent, you’ll want to make alignment marks on the wheel and tire to maintain its previous balance (and don’t forget which direction the tire was facing). With the tire completely free, you can cement a rubber patch to the inside surface of the tire; once reinflated, the internal pressure will force the patch to a complete seal with the carcass. From this point, rebeading the tire may be your biggest challenge, as outlined below.

SIDEWALL PUNCTURES Because of the loads they carry and the way they deflect under usage, sidewalls are significantly more difficult to repair under any circumstances, let alone in the wild. In fact, under normal conditions most tire experts would tell you to avoid it altogether. But if you just need to get out of a precarious situation, there are a couple methods that might at least get you back to civilization. Small punctures in the broad part of the sidewall may lend themselves to a temporary plug or patch, as above. However, getting a complete seal is critical, as the sidewall

deflects and changes shape considerably when it rolls. As a sidewall is not designed to support a plugged repair, this should be an option of last resort. An even more unconventional solution to sidewall damage is actually installing an inner tube inside the damaged tire. Of course, you’ll need to have a properly sized inner tube handy and be able to dismount and remount the tire onto the wheel. No part of this approach is ideal, but as a matter of getting out safely it’s an option for some. This too should be considered a temporary fix, as radial tires are not designed to be used with tubes. Excess heat could build up if driven for extended periods or at higher speeds, leading to an even more catastrophic failure.

REBEADING Sometimes your tire dilemma doesn’t involve a puncture at all but rather a simple rolling dismount. This often happens when the tires are set at exceptionally low pressures, such as for crawling through mud or sand. In most cases the tire itself is fine and just needs to be reinstalled on the wheel. Rebeading a tubeless tire where the beads are broken can be troublesome. Ideally, a 86

high-pressure/high-volume compressor or a compressed CO2 tank should be used to “pop” the tire beads onto the wheel rim and inflate the tire. Alternatively, you can position the wheel and tire vertically and gently push down on the tread, pushing the tire bead toward the wheel rims. Applying any form of liquid around the wheel will help “lubricate” the tire beads and allow them to slide toward the wheel rim and form a seal. Another method is to wrap a ratchet strap around the circumference of the tire tread and gently ratchet it tighter, forcing the outer edges of the tire onto the wheel beads. Finally, if all else fails and a life hangs in the balance, there is also the infamous method of reseating the tire by spraying starter fluid (or any other highly volatile liquid) into the tire, then throwing a match to ignite the fuel. The resulting burst of energy from rapidly combusting fuel reseats the tire, if all goes well. If not, you may just catch your tire (or the area surrounding it) ablaze, or perhaps blow the tire up completely. It should go without saying, but this method is extremely hazardous and should only be used as a last resort. ABOVE A ratchet strap can help reseat a dislodged tire.

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Inside Ingenium Smaller, lighter, and more powerful, this modular engine will move new Land Rovers into the future. There’s little doubt that decades from now, the internal combustion engine will be phased out entirely once electric drivetrains become less expensive and more efficient, and battery technology becomes lighter and more capacious. Until then, that tried and true aria – intake, compression, ignition, exhaust – will continue to be sung under the hoods of most vehicles, either as a solo act or as a duet with electric motors singing backup. But the current generation of combustion engines will have to clean up their act is they expect to go. Jaguar Land Rover’s near-term solution is its new Ingenium engine family. Launched three years ago in four-cylinder diesel form, the range has just opened up to include a turbocharged gasoline variant, and even more derivatives are set to debut in the coming months. Chances are the entire next generation of Land Rovers, including the upcoming New Defender, will be powered by Ingenium extensively, if not exclusively. Allow us to introduce you formally. 88


Clean Sheet Design When Tata acquired Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford in 2010, one of its missions was to integrate these two distinguished marques technologically. Going forward, new models would share critical infrastructures, such as engines, drivelines, and major subsystems. Given the expected growth of the two brands, the newly formed Jaguar Land Rover organization was able to justify development of its own new engine family, allowing it to end its reliance on other carmakers (namely Ford) for perhaps the most critical and expensive part of any vehicle.

Given the company’s commitment to lightweight materials, the new engine would naturally be built completely of aluminum. Both gasoline and diesel versions would be specified, and forced induction would standard on all versions, both for performance and emissions purposes. The engine would also have to be adaptable to both transverse and longitudinal mounting configurations. An inline four-cylinder design would serve as the core of the family, allowing for upsizing and downsizing as needed for future models. The first Ingenium engine arrived under the hood of the Jaguar XE sedan as a 2.0-liter turbodiesel late in 2014, before eventually making its way into the Land Rover range. The Ingenium lineup recently expanded to include a petrol version of the same displacement, which is now being integrated into various JLR models, including the new Range Rover Velar.

In order to warrant the development expenses, any new engine would have to be a flexible deign, allowing for multiple configurations for different vehicle needs. A “modular” engine with common architecture and interchangeable internals shared among derivatives – hardly a new concept – would not only cut engineering expenses, but also purchasing through commonality of parts as well as streamline manufacturing, which would be done in-house at an all-new dedicated facility in Wolverhampton, UK. 89


All the Latest Tricks In certain engineering circles, an emerging school of though has concluded that for passenger vehicles, engines with a volume of 500cc per cylinder were ideal for a number of reasons. This explains why so many manufacturers (particularly from Germany, where the research was conducted) appear to have such similar engine offerings: 2.0-liter four-cylinders, 3.0-liter six-cylinders, and 4.0-liter eight-cylinders in particular. JLR decided to adopt this philosophy for the Ingenium family, based on the compelling evidence from the characteristically thorough Germans.

with a simplified cam drive assembly, this little detail contributes to a gain in combustion efficiency of about 17 percent.

This optimum displacement, typically with a smaller bore than stroke (under-square) provides numerous advantages, ranging from a compact overall package on the outside to a smaller distance for flame travel internally, delivering greater efficiency. Smaller-diameter cylinders also result in reduced piston mass and less internal friction, which means more of that explosive force makes its way to the road.

The valvetrains of both gas and diesel versions employ variable intake valve timing. The gas engine adds variable lift to the intake valves as well, plus variable exhaust valve timing to optimize torque and emissions.

The lightweight hollow camshafts and the harmonic balancer shafts ride on roller bearings, further reducing frictional losses. On-demand electric pumps circulate oil and coolant as needed, eliminating the constant pumping losses of these typically belt-driven accessories. Oil cooling jets, also demand-driven, spray the undersides of the pistons when high combustion temperatures require it.

Forced induction is a standard element of the Ingenium design, though gas and diesel models take slightly different paths to turbocharged enhancement. A single variable-geometry turbocharger is installed on diesel models. Gas engines use a single twin-scroll charger. This design divide the exhaust coming into the turbocharger into two paths, one from cylinders 1 and 4, the other from cylinders 2 and 3. This split path reduces mixing losses and maximizes pulse energy applied to the turbine, resulting in better response (less turbo lag) and improved lowRPM output.

In the case of the Ingenium engines, an 83mm bore was chosen for both gas and diesel variants, though the stroke varies slightly between the two. At 92.29mm for the gas engine and 92.35mm for the diesel, capacity works out to 1998cc and 1999cc, respectively, for the four-cylinder engines. Compression ratios range from 10.0-11.0:1 for gas engines (allowing for specific market and model variations) and 15.34-15.5:1 in diesel trim.

In production trim, the Ingenium 2.0 diesel has so far been produced in 150-, 180-, and 240-horsepower variants, producing between 280 and 369 lb-ft of torque. Burning gasoline, the range of output so far includes 240-, 250-, 290-, and 300-horsepower iterations delivering between 251 and 295 lb-ft. While capable of producing more power than the Fordsourced units they replace, the Ingenium engines can also weigh in up to 175 pounds lighter.

Adding a small but nonetheless important advantage to output is the fact that the crankshaft is situated slightly offset from the vertical centerline of the cylinder bores. This minor shift in geometry optimizes the thrust angle of the pistons during the power stroke, delivering more torque. It also reduces internal friction against the cylinder walls slightly, as there is less lateral force applied by the pistons during this phase. Combined 90


Into the Beyond The Ingenium may just be getting its legs, but it won’t be long before it’s in full stride. JLR has already confirmed it will spin off a 1.5-liter three-cylinder version – scoff if you will, but it’ll probably make more power than the first V8-powered Range Rover – to be used in a future application, likely in a hybrid configuration. A 3.0-liter six-cylinder has also been given the nod, likely spelling the end of the road for the current Ford-sourced supercharged V6 when the supply contract ends in 2020. Look for the longer engine to work its way into future Range Rover models with longitudinal engine placements.

turbo design displacing, you guessed it, 4.0 liters. And it’s entirely conceivable that engine could be the final Land Rover V8, but that’s another story for another time, as nothing has been confirmed officially.

It seems unlikely the modular engine will expand to include a V8 derivative, though it is certainly feasible from a technical standpoint. Instead, JLR will probably source its next V8 from BMW, a new twin-

The death of the internal combustion engine may be eminent, but for now, developments like those found in the Ingenium make a solid case for the old four-stroke as we transition into the future.

What is more certain is that the Ingenium will be paired with hybrid components in the very near future. In advance of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth issued a statement that by 2020, all of the company’s vehicles will be electrified in one form or another, be it battery electric, plug-in hybrid, or mild hybrid.

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Four issues annually for $30


NO NEWS IS (USUALLY) GOOD NEWS 2000 Discovery II Bryan Joslin So here we are, four issues into the life of Alloy+Grit. In the first issue, we ambitiously outlined our plans to build our Discovery II – my personal daily driver, in fact – into a properly equipped dual-purpose adventure vehicle, a truck you could drive every day and still take to the mountains for a weekend of camping and exploring. The project was admittedly slow to gain any sort of momentum, if you can even call it that. Since the last issue, I am rather embarrassed to admit the project has progressed exactly… not one bit. And yes, I’m well aware that by the time you’re reading this, Overland Expo East will be mere days away. Our plan was to give the completed project away to a lucky entrant at the fall Expo, and that clearly isn’t going to happen. But it will, in Flagstaff at next spring’s Overland Expo West. So what happened? The simple truth is time got away from us. This truck remains my personal daily driver, and, frankly, the summer got really busy – a family vacation, kids at summer camps…plus Steve and I had not reckoned on how much time we’d spend

driving to events and to meetings with advertisers and to photo shoots – the hustle of creating and developing a small, independent publication. We have been busy, it’s just that we haven’t been busy working on our project vehicle. There was simply never a good time to take it off the road (not off-road) for the work we wanted to do, let alone have the time to do the work ourselves. I’m sure you can relate. If that weren’t enough pressure already, the Discovery has also recently thrown a new tantrum – a fuel pump that isn’t getting power. As I write this, my multi-meter is perched under the hood while I take a break from checking voltage and continuity at every connection in the fuel delivery circuit. Nothing is less fun than throwing new parts at an unknown problem and still not finding a solution. The good news is we’re eliminating possibilities one by one. The engine may not start today, but the project itself is not dead. Far from it. We’re still gathering some of the material support we need to complete the project, and we promise it’s going to be worth the wait. I’m 94

even considering buying a second Land Rover as a backup vehicle so the Disco can spend some time under the knife as needed without being forced to borrow my wife’s car. With that in mind, we’ve reset the clock on the project with a new goal of completing the project in time for next spring’s Overland Expo West, where we will announce the winner. Our plan is to drive the finished project from our East Coast headquarters to Flagstaff, where we’ll put it to the ultimate test by living out of it for the duration of the trip. If you are one of the many who registered at to win the completed project, fear not. Your entry has been logged, and you will receive updates as we continue. There is no need to re-enter. We’re sorry for sitting this one out, but we’ll be back next issue with some solid updates. We should have the truck with us at Overland Expo East anyway (given a solution to our balky fuel pump), so feel free to stop by and visit us. Better yet, there’s still plenty of time to throw your name in the hat.


OPPOSITE PAGE Once blasted, the old calipers look as good as new.


PAINT, PAINT, AND MORE PAINT 1959 Series II 88” + ToyLander 2 Christopher Holewski Unlike certain (ahem) of my colleagues, I’m happy to report that I’ve made significant progress on the ToyLander over the past few months, as well as some solid forward motion on my 1959 Series II. Let’s start with the little guy. After completing construction of the wooden body at my friend’s shop, I brought the ToyLander back to my home where I began prepping it for paint. This included a few applications of wood filler to smooth out some uneven transitions between panels, especially where the wood meets the pre-curved aluminum panels that make up the iconic front wings. After everything was smoothed over, I sanded the entire body with 220-grit sandpaper and a random orbital sander, which made quick work of the prep phase. Next came many, many coats of paint. I was actually surprised at how much paint it took. Going in, I estimated one can of spray paint would easily do an entire coat on the body. In the end, it was about six cans of primer for two coats and a solid base (sanding with 220 grit again between coats), and eight cans of Krylon for the final color.

I picked up one of Rust-Oleum’s Comfort Grip handles, which made a dramatic difference in keeping an even, steady stream of paint flowing from the aerosol cans. If you’re going to be painting anything with rattle cans, whether it be a small project or something as big as your Land Rover, I’d highly recommend the small investment. Despite the help of the Comfort Grip, if I’m honest the finish isn’t perfect. In some areas the grain of the wood still shows faintly through the paint, but after the third complete coat, I was happy with the results – and it didn’t seem like another three cans and several more hours of sanding and painting would really make a difference. Once the exterior color was finished and had thoroughly dried after a few days, I masked off all of the exterior body and began painting the interior and the underside with rubberized undercoating. Again, my material estimating skills were woefully inadequate, and it took about six cans (instead of my estimated two) to give both the inside and underside of the ToyLander two coats of paint to keep it tough enough to handle whatever the kids will throw at it. With the paint completed, the 96

ToyLander is now back at Tom’s workshop, and we’ll be working on the suspension, brakes, and go-fast parts in the coming weeks. As for the Series II, it was like Christmas morning in my garage a few weeks back when Bryan came over on a Saturday with the back of his Discovery filled with parts from Bearmach. The goodies included a full set of leaf springs and shock absorbers, a new exhaust system, gaskets, various pieces for refurbishing the brakes, and some pieces to freshen up the ignition system. Although Bryan’s project might have stalled a bit, he’s generous with his time and wisdom, suggesting that we start the day by cracking open the heart of the beast by removing the head. This would give us a look at the internals to gauge the health of everything inside the block. He figured that if there were any problems inside the block, it might not be worth working on anything else, and I agreed. As we began removing all of the ancillary components that attach to the engine, things became more complicated. With the valve cover removed and the camshaft assembly still bolted in place, we assumed we had everything


except for the coolant temp sensor removed. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be removed unless the radiator came out. Finally, with the radiator removed, the sensor came out of the block, and we attempted to remove the head… with a hammer…nothing. It would not budge, not even the slightest. We stared at the head, assuming that after almost sixty years in service it must be thoroughly rusted to the block. If you’ve ever removed the head from a Series truck, you probably already realize what we were doing wrong. With some help from our handy Haynes manual, we learned that the entire camshaft assembly must be removed, because the bolts that hold it in place go through the head down into the block. Lesson learned: Read the manual before embarking on a project, not after. With the assembly very carefully removed (I had momentary fears of the entire assembly exploding in every direction), the head came off the block faster than you can say Solihull. With great relief, the cylinders and pistons looked to be in good condition. Before we could reassemble the head, we thought it best to run some automatic

transmission fluid into the cylinders to give them a rinse and provide some much-needed lubrication to the pistons and cylinder walls should the crank need to be turned. We also got to work on the suspension, removing the old springs and shocks to make room for the new Bearmach bits. While the frame was more accessible, we decided to do a little frame cleanup as well. Thankfully the chassis is in great shape for its age, suffering only surface rust in most places. We put in a call to Eastwood, the company known for its DIY automotive restoration products, for a little advice on staying ahead of the serious rust. With their headquarters not far from our home offices, we stopped in to pick up several cans of Chassis Kleen to remove the grease and prep the areas to be painted. The first pass was with Rust Encapsulator, which acts to seal the bare metal from future corrosion. We chose the gray color for this step so we’d be better able to see the next step, black chassis paint. We chose Eastwood’s Extreme Chassis Black, a step up from the standard product, in a satin black finish. It may not be factory correct, but

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this project was never meant to be anything more than a fun driver. Since we had to remove the radiator, I took advantage of its freedom and flushed it several times with a bath of 50-percent water and 50-percent CLR to clear out some of the mineral scale that had formed inside, not to mention the sludge that was sitting in the bottom. I later sprayed it with my power washer to clean out the cooling fins, so now the radiator should be as good as new when it is re-installed. Despite having made some solid progress, it’s highly unlikely that my truck will be roadworthy in less than a month for the Vermont Overland Rally, my initial target. So I’m now setting a new goal for myself and this project: to have it ready for events as soon as the inevitable winter snows recede and the smell of spring is in the air again. I know, that’s a very ambiguous goal, but I learned my lesson the first time around. And apparently I’m not (ahem) alone among my colleagues with projects of their own.


Discovery I 1994-1999 If there was any doubt at whom the Discovery was aimed, this launch campaign should have made it clear: What we now consider a favorite hardcore off-roader was originally designed for the suburban jungle. 98


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Alloy+Grit Fall 2017  

Alloy+Grit Magazine, Fall 2017

Alloy+Grit Fall 2017  

Alloy+Grit Magazine, Fall 2017