Land Rover Defender 90: 2017 Custom 4x4OTY contender

Defender 90 upgraded from daily driver to weekend warrior.

Land Rover Defender 90 main

“I WASN’T really a Landy person prior to this, but now I have just become part of the cult.”

 Vote for the Land Rover Defender 90 to win 2017 Custom 4x4 of the Year

Damian Lucev’s simple statement reflects what has become a serious passion for the green-oval brand, reflected in his smartly modified Defender 90 tourer. The Defender was initially just supposed to be Damian’s daily driver, but things soon changed...

Land-Rover-Defender-90-front.jpg“A few years into owning it, my girlfriend and I planned a camping trip up to the High Country,” Damian said. “So I bought a snorkel for that trip, and that was as far as I was going to go with it, and I sort of, yeah, ended up doing everything to it!”

First stop was the Puma 2.2TD with its stock 90kW-360Nm output soon lifted thanks to a Bell Auto Services (BAS) ECU kit; the shorty Defender now puts out 130kW/440Nm.

The rest of the drivetrain was beefed-up to cope as well: front and rear Ashcroft diff locks (air-actuated), Hi-Tough axles (claimed to be 50 per cent stronger than standard) and Ashcroft CVs ensure this tough D90 doesn’t slow down, even with the big BFG Mud Terrain KM2 LT315/75R16 tyres wrapped around 16x8-inch Dynamic steel rims.

BFG Mud Terrain KM2 LT315/75R16 tyresThe Defender was sporting a two-inch lift, but Damian has upgraded to a Les Richmond Automotive custom Koni kit with matched coils and dampers in the very near future. With those big tyres, that life and a short wheelbase, this D90 has excellent approach/departure angles and is pretty much unstoppable on gnarly terrain.

But, just in case the unexpected does happen, Damian has fitted the Rovacraft tubular bar up front with a Runva 11,000lb 11XP winch, operated via an in-cabin controller. The bar also houses a 17-inch Stedi Version 2 80W Cree LED light bar.

Land Rover Defender will return

Proving there’s never enough light, there’s also a Stedi ST3300 48-inch 260W LED light bar on the roof rack – and a pair of Stedi LEDs at the rear of the Defender.

Even with the excellent ground clearance, Damian has still gone the extra step and fitted a Britpart front bash plate, Mulgo side rails and bumperettes, plus an APT Fabrication Fuel Tank Guard. The underbelly is finished off with two recovery points up front and Nugget Stuff rear recovery point that bolts to the Defender’s rear cross member.

Land-Rover-Defender-90-roof-rack.jpgUp top there’s a Darche awning attached to the roof rack, plus a Front Runner twin jerry can holder, shovel, MaxTrax and a HiLift jack. Damian has also opted to fit a Mantec swing-away rear wheel carrier, removing the heavy weight of that chunky spare wheel off the rear door.

Damian has flicked the rear seats to gain maximum storage capacity in the rear and has installed a flat floor so he can access the fridge easily and also store gear under the floor base. A Uniden UHF and totally revamped stereo finish off the interior. Powering all these goodies is a dual-battery system, with Redarc BCDC charger.

Ultimately, for a two-up tourer, it’s hard to argue with Damian when he reckons the Defender 90 is the perfect vehicle.


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Justin Walker

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