As many of you know, the Overland Journal staff really likes Land Rovers, especially the solid-axle, coil-sprung variety. Our personal vehicles include a 1991 RRC, 1995 DI (5-speed), Defender 110, DII, Series IIa, etc. We have all seen Land Rover take a completely different approach to vehicle design and systems since those classic, Camel Trophy era machines. I had all but discounted the new offerings, but my opinion on the newer Land Rovers changed when I purchased a Range Rover MKIII for my wife (Stephanie is the designer of Overland Journal) and then subsequently took a month-long trip in Australia with a Discovery 3 (LR3).
From our trip into the outback of Australia. We drove thousands of miles in a well-used LR3 from ARB and had no issues, not even a flat.
Reliability was improving rapidly for Land Rover, and these trucks were actually outperforming earlier models in certain conditions (especially cross-axle terrain). The final "aha" moment came during a chat with Ray Dinardi, General Manager of Land Rover Las Vegas. He was showing me his collection of classic BMW motorcycles and indicated that the area he was storing all these cool bikes used to be LR service bays. He said that in 2006, they had 25 technicians and worked 7 days a week on warranty work and repairs. The quality of the new Land Rovers has increased so significantly that he now employes only six technicians. This is big news - modern Land Rovers seem to be pretty reliable.
I really enjoy Stephanie's MKIII Range Rover, so when I started considering what my next vehicle would be, I reviewed the available offerings. We had bought a JK Wrangler Rubicon (and drove it all the way to Panama), and of course I love my Discovery I, but it is becoming more of an office decoration than daily driver. It is also important that we test new products and new vehicles, so I decided to dip my toe into the dark and foreboding pool of modern overland vehicles. We considered several modern platforms, but none seemed interesting. We had been modifying and working with Jeep Rubicons for several years, so it was time to change it up.
We obtained a 2012 LR4 for testing and put it through the paces. I really liked it.
With the successful test, the decision was made to build a modern Land Rover into a serious exploration vehicle. It is surprising how many products are available for the LR4, so we made a list of solutions that would address concerns with the stock vehicle for long-distance remote travel. Land Rover provided a 2012 LR4 for the project and we wasted no time cutting plastic. The goal was to have the LR4 mostly finished by SEMA.
It is silver with a tan interior
Land Rover just took a similar vehicle (although diesel) half-way around the world. I know a few of the drivers from that trip and they told me the trucks did great - no major issues. Land Rover Millionth Discovery Expedition. I respect that Land Rover still supports significant overland expeditions like this.
More details on planned modifications and progress later today. We also look forward to learning from those who have already modified LR3s and LR4s. Post up your impressions and ideas.
Let's get started