Why did I start this project? This was something I asked myself many times during the rebuild, but I didn't always end up with the same answer. And I'm sure anyone who undertakes a major rebuild will at some stage start asking themselves this same question.
In my case, the truth of the matter was that I'd always liked Land Rovers.
But there was no way I could afford a new one. As an example, a new Defender 110 Hard Top cost £23,495 (price taken from Land Rover UK website, February 2012). This was with a 2.4 litre 4-cylinder diesel engine.
Yes, this would have been cheaper to run than the V8, but the amount of money saved on running costs would take years to offset the price of the vehicle. Also, in my opinion, the build quality is no longer as good as the original model - for example, the body cappings are no longer galvanised.
I also like to take things apart to see how they work, and whilst I'm at it, ensure that the little bits which are hidden inside are in good condition. After all, a stitch in time saves nine!
I do need to guard against one thing though - overdesign. For example, if I'm putting up a shelf which only needs to hold the weight of a few books, you'd probably be able to sit on that shelf without it falling down. However, I think that with the amount of effort that has gone into this rebuild, the vehicle will still be around long after I've shuffled off this mortal coil (barring accidents of course!).
The total rebuild costs worked out to around £6,000 including the original cost of the vehicle.
The rebuild itself took a total of 7 years, as it had to fit between various other commitments. There were a couple of years during the rebuild when I didn't touch the vehicle at all. But it still involved hundreds of hours.
Would I do this again? In all honesty, no. I'm pleased I've done it, but once is enough. Still, I've proved that it's perfectly feasible to strip a vehicle into its component parts and put it back together in such a way that
- it still works and
- is still recognisable!
My advice to you - if you're contemplating something like this - is to only order parts as and when you need them. This way, if a part proves faulty, you'll be able to return it for exchange or refund without the warranty having expired. The same thing goes for perishable parts like seals - the cheaper ones tend to perish much more quickly than the genuine part.
Buying parts as you go along means you'll also avoid the possibility of losing parts that you know you've bought but can't find anywhere (and they usually turn up just after you've purchased a replacement).
Personally I blame the cat.
Although where she's hidden the front shock absorber turrets is anybody's guess! (And I'm not joking - these really are missing!)
But if you want to rebuild a Land Rover - go for it. Just don't blame me!
Update: Unfortunately Lulu has since passed away
..... from my ownership. It was simply not practical to retain her.
As we have relocated to a farm in France, it would have meant not only would the Land Rover have to be re-registered in France (with all the associated confetti of forms and payments to all and sundry) but the V8 would just not be economical to run. Most trips are local, as the farm is around 10 miles from the nearest village. And for the weekly shopping, my wife's car is quite sufficient and cheaper. For other tasks like hauling logs around the farm itself, there is a Deutz tractor (which, being run on farm diesel, is even cheaper to run than my motorcycle).
The 110 therefore left our family the same way she entered it; via Ebay.
Thanks for looking!