Growing up in quite an urban area meant I was quite deprived of any off road machinery. The only thing remotely close to a “4x4” was a 2WD RAV4 that used to get stuck in the snow and pushed out of the estate to the gritted roads by me and my mates. That was until one of my neighbours got a brand new Discovery 1. There are only three things I can remember him telling us kids and that’s “It’s a V8” and “It’s got a straight pipe”. At the time I didn’t have a clue what any of this meant, but the third thing I remember is the sound. The ground shook and the v8 rumbled away. I was mesmerised.
Not long after this, the country park rangers got a brand new Defender 110 and my mates and I used to stand back in awe as they navigated their way through the woods and wade through the river. In reality, you could drive a car through 90% of the local park and the river was a 3 inch brook, but as an 8 year old who is only used to seeing 1litre euro boxes, I think I can be forgiven.
Once I passed my driving test in the late 2000’s, most of my mates' dream first cars were a Fiesta ST or Corsa VXR, but for me there was only two choices; a Land Rover Series (couldn’t afford a Defender or get one on classic insurance) or a classic Mini. My family and family’s friends have had an exorbitant amount of Minis, so that was the logical choice and the dream of off-roading in the woods was over.
It’s 2019, over a decade later, and I find myself and my Dad driving 3 hours to north Yorkshire on a Saturday with a lump of cash to buy a VW T25 Camper. To cut a long story short, we wasted just over 6 hours going to look at a rot box. Sunday comes along and I’m browsing the classifieds online and a 1988 Defender 90 has been posted up at a seductive price. At first I thought it was a scam but after sending a few messages to the owner and speaking with him over the phone, I found myself standing in front of the Landy and it was love at first sight.
After taking my rose tinted glasses off and giving it a thorough look over, I made an offer on an already crazy low price and it was accepted. I then found myself driving home in the most uncomfortable, loudest, slowest “car” I’ve ever driven, but I had the biggest smile on my face I’ve had driving any car ever! Still to this day I wouldn’t swap it for anything. It leaks on the floor, it’s not as convenient as the Ford Focus it replaced, but it’s under my skin and makes me smile.
I’ve done a fair bit to it while it’s been under my ownership. I've had it under sealed, adding Bearmach’s galvanised tree sliders, tubular bumper, snorkel, NAS style rear step and the most recent addition was a set of 285/75r16 wheels and tyres. I’ve done a fair bit more to it than what I've listed and I think for future mods I’m going to look at refreshing the suspension and try to find comfy seats for it, as hopefully this year (COVID-19 dependant) I can take it to some pay and play days and go further afield. Hopefully I can go greenlaning in Wales as my local lanes are 40-60 minutes away and Wales is only another 30 minutes on top of that.
If you’d like to follow what I do and where I go with the 90 you can find me on Instagram.