Sunday, 3 November 2013

Land Rover Defender 90

Enter my "new" Land Rover Defender 90.

Recall my first criteria was "don't get stuck".  Now of course I meant just being able to drive in Calgary in the winter… and I think we have that and much more covered now.
Some see ugly, some see crude. I see beauty in simplicity. What needs to be there is, and frivolity has not been added even as the world has become saturated in extras. This was designed before auto cad programs, before even rudimentary computing.  Globally, the current Defender series is to cease production in 2015 as these workhorses are being legislated against in countries that demand more standards... yuck.  Why the allure?  Yes, they've helped colonize the world, carry gear, plow fields, etc.  They don't get stuck.  They don't change - if it ain't broke don't fix it.  They don't pander to yearly updates, creature comforts, fad or style.  I've now pledged allegiance to the same queen who oversaw these deployed to Indonesia, India, half Africa, Australia, etc. to explore, rule and supply the colonies.

Some stats:
- 4x the clearance of the M Coupe (10 inches axle, 13 inches underbody minimum);
- Less than one third one third of the horsepower out of the little turbo diesel (111hp, 195 lb-ft of torque, city 25mpg, highway 30mpg, so not a gas guzzler!);
- These are quoted at 51 degrees of approach angle without a winch.

It drives like a brute.  It is capable of 100km/h, perhaps even 120 if pushed, but it needs all 5 gears and about a half minute to do so. Does it have power doors and windows?  Let's just say you need powerful arms to operate them. How about cabin noise at highway speed?  What?  Sorry I couldn't hear you.  Cruise control?  It really depends on how steady you hold your foot.  How about driving over snowy Rogers pass? I've never felt a vehicle as utterly indifferent to the outside world as this one. It has traction. It's a tank - semi's blow by on undivided highways in the other lane and I don't even remotely feel that air pressure buffeting. It's stiff and solid on the road.

But let's skip words to illustrate this, as I found some amusing videos, as they tell much more of capability than a one page text spec sheet they're sold with.  They really don't let much stop them, whether it's:



Steep ascents.

Steep descents.

Steep descents and steep ascents.

More importantly for Calgary, snow.

High incline grades and other difficult obstacles.

Despite their low HP engines (2.5L turbo diesel 111hp) they do generate enough torque, and do put it to the ground well.  Although I think this is a bit off given I can't see the Dodge having 4WD engaged, it's still interesting.  These guys don't seem concerned of tire or transmission maintenance costs.

Now of course, I don't need all of this.  I also don't need a garage full of bikes, or a big townhouse for 2 people.  What I do apparently need is to feed the love of Tonka like trucks I had as a kid - funny how those things never die. 

This particular specimen came from Spain and was imported right at the Canadian 15 year exemption to current standards limit.  I've spoken to the mechaninc in Vancouver who did initial work for the importing client, and he said Spainish and Portuguese ones come with least rust and best condition vs. British or German or Polish ones, etc.

Which comes to criteria 2.  I hopefully will really not get stuck for under $20,000.  Plus I now own a unique little example of history, as they've been in production for 68 years.

1 comment:

  1. I whole heartedly approve of that purchase and can't wait for a ride. Also, all those videos are ridiculous, but the third one blew my mind...