1986 Land Rover Defender 110 V8

When Richard Hammond approached us in June 2002, he had been requested by a TV company to locate a Land Rover suitable for a castaway-style satellite TV show. There was only a couple of problems – it had to be a 110, it had to be Black, it had to be a V8, it had to be a soft top, and it had to be in Scotland in 7 days time !

Not too much to ask then !

Obviously no such vehicle existed, so he approached us with a request to “build” the required machine.

The Land Rover Centre team accepted the challenge and set about locating a suitable donor vehicle and “altering” it as necessary to meet the required specification. Richard pulled out all the stops at his end and managed to get suppliers to send us some of the parts that would be needed along the way.

Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 1 - the original fire engine donor vehicle Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - The original fire engine donor vehicle Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - stripping off the roof and the internal water tank, pump gear etc Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - rear floor removed

DAY 1

An X-Fire engine was located (note the “999” number plate!) – which was as close to the specification as we could muster. It was a 110 and it was a V8 – the rest would have to be “adapted”.

Above you can see the Land Rover in its original form, and then with the hard top, shutters and internal tanks and pumps removed – a days work in itself !

Once all the “Fire Engine” equipment had been removed, we had to fit the soft top kit, tailgate, and service the Land Rover.

Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 2 - getting ready to fit the soft top kit Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 2 - just time to fit in a full service Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 2 - chequer plate kit and new tailgate Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 2 - soft top poles and roll bar ready to remove from a second doner vehicle

DAY 2

Above we can see the Land Rover stripped, ready to receive the soft top poles. We used a set from an X-MOD vehicle which included a roll bar. You can also see that above – parts had started to arrive – the new tailgate. and the chequer plate kit.

Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 3 - soft top poles and roll bar fitted - ready for paint Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 3 - soft top poles and roll bar fitted - ready for paint Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 3 - soft top poles and roll bar fitted - ready for paint Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 3 - soft top poles and roll bar fitted - ready fro paint - In the paint booth - first coat of Black

DAY 3

Roll cage, soft top poles and tailgate all in place – ready for the paint shop.

Chequer plate side runners are the first of the “shiny” bits to be fitted – take a last look at the Land Rover as “Big Red” before it becomes “Black Beauty”

Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 4 - Paintwork finished - now for the hard work Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 4 - out into the daylight for the first time Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 4 - rear chequer plate kit in place Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 4 - chequer plate roll bar and harnesses in place

DAY 4

Paintwork finished – now we have to complete the rest of the work.

Looking very “Black” and out in the light of day for the first time as “Black Beauty”. Also chequer plate being fitted in the rear load area, and harnesses being fixed.

Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 5 - Interior starting to take shape Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 5 - starting to look mean Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 5 - chequer plate kit and rear lamp guards fitted Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 5 - Black Beauty is beginning to emerge

DAY 5

More “Shiny” bits being added

Still awaiting the wheels and the soft top – but she is starting to take shape – chequer plate kit fitted, rear lamp guards and bumperettes in place – starting to look “MEAN”

Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 6 - black soft top fitted Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 6 - Black soft top fitted Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 6 Alloy wheels and tyres arrive Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 6 - wow Black Beauty

DAY 6

Soft top kit fitted – wheels arrive.

The icing on the cake – Black soft top, and alloy wheels (West Coast Off Road – 01704 229014).

Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 7 - the finished job Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 7 - looks mean from all angles sm_D999RJX-01.jpg (8089 bytes) Richard Hammond - top gear presenter - 110 defender V8 soft top - 7 days in the making - day 7 - loaded up ready for the trip to Scotland

DAY 7

Finished at last !

7 days of almost hell – but I think you would agree that the final result is well worth the blood sweat and tears. She looks fantastic. Hard to believe that just a week ago she was still a fully operational fire engine !

Final picture – she’s all loaded and ready for the road trip to Scotland – to meet the ferry to take her to one of the islands ready for her new role on TV.

 

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