Hypothetical project feasibility

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dag019

Well-Known Member
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Warwick
Before getting too carried away this thread is an entirely hypothetical idea that I am exploring feasibility of, both in terms of practicality to build and also the legal implications of making drivable and road legal. I am also considering vague cost but am aware projects like this tend to increase in cost as they go through. I have finished rebuilt my 110 following an engine fire and am looking for another project to keep me busy. However This is likly to be a slow burner (if at all) as although I want another project I am expecting my first child at Christmas and I know that will change everything dramatically!

I would like something similar to the below, but they do not seem very common in the UK and with the prices of series vehicles now, even if I could find one, it would either be a complete restoration project or be prohibitively expensive. It would also would still come with all of the drawbacks of using a series vehicle in modern road conditions (I have a series III so please don't try to convince me there are no draw backs!)

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I have just finished rebuilding my 200tdi 110 which is now back in service as my daily vehicle doing about 30k miles a year. So, whereas I know this also comes with drawbacks, it is far more usable than the series is. There are also far more s/h parts available at sensible prices for defenders than there is for the series.

How feasible would it be to take a tdi powered 110 chassis, all suspension, axles, running gear etc., engine and gearboxes and then fit an older style cab body onto it? Ignore the flatbed back for now as by comparison that is easy and is "just" making brackets to attach a bed to the rear chassis. I know legally it would still be the 110 registration etc. I not trying to claim it as a series vehicle for tax/mot exception etc.

There seems to be enough 110 rolling chassis/ abandoned projects for sensible money that the rolling running chassis should be fairly easy to get up and together and I am happy with rebuilding all of the mechanicals required to do this and patching a chassis if required.

I know with some ingenuity you can fit a 200tdi under the bonnet of a series motor as people have done engine conversion, similar with the pas system. I also believe that a series II/III body is the same width as a defender so the bulkhead outriggers should require no modification and a series bulkhead would just bolt straight on, is this correct? Getting series body panels is easy enough and you can get new galv bulkheads etc no problem. The cab roof and rear bulkhead is also readily available even if it needs a wrecked tub to be cut down to get the rear bulkhead.

Having said that I would prefer a series 1 body which I know is narrower. Getting series 1 front end body panels and doors second hand is relatively easy even if there is not as many as there are later series models. I also believe that similarly to the later series models you can get new replacement bulkheads. However I am not sure how easy it would be to get the cab roof and the rear bulkead and would not want to cut down a series 1 tub in the same way I would a later model one. I also assume this would need the bulkhead outrigger modifying and shortening to take the narrower bulkhead, would this case issue with the legality as a chassis modification?

I would be looking at either creating my own wiring loom or modifying a defender wiring loom for the electrics but it would be a very basic set of vehicle electrics with everything required for the engine to run, lights and wipers, and maybe a heater. I am certainly not looking for all the modern electrical tat like power windows and central locking. I happily built an auxiliary loom for my 110 for everything extra to be stand alone using blue sea fuse boxes and relay boxes so am competent enough with most defender level vehicle electrics even if it is not something I would say I enjoy.

I know hybrids seem to have dropped out of fashion these days after being very popular when you could get rusty range rovers for penny's but have I missed something very basic to make this a non starter or theoretically can you get a running driving 110 chassis and drop a series cab body onto it with very little fuss and modification?
 
It’s all about modifications to the chassis they don’t like.
So your option is standard chassis/bulkhead
& then fit early panels to it.

You can have any body you like and still retain the 110 reg.

You can still get the odd 107 imported from Australia
 
Just a thought….
Any good with a pipe bender? Make a full space frame that bolts to the original out riggers. You can drop the height of the roof as you don’t use seat base.
 
It’s all about modifications to the chassis they don’t like.

Silly question I know but what counts as modification to the chassis? This is what I need to get a definitive answer to. People seem to get away with moving engine and gearbox mounts so is that the same category as modifying the outrigger? Friend replaced the engine mounts on his series 1 to fit a 2.25 and they were already non original to fit the Peugeot engine it had in when he bought it.
I remember reading somewhere that I have no evidence for and do not know if it was a reputable source or not that what they are bothered about is the rails themselves more than anything else. But I am unconvinced by that opinion.

Not needing to modify the chassis and using a series 2 body would certainly Be easier But then It doesn’t look like a series 1.
 
Tbh I can’t really see the point or appeal of the project. 80 out 100 people probably can’t tell the difference between a Defender or a Series visually. Making this a **** ton of work for very minor visual change.

A Series 2/3 cab swap would be quite doable. But you’d probably end up having to hack so much up inside to make it all fit with the 5 speed and LT230 that it would not be worth it. Not really sure what the actual aim would be.

Coiler axles are wider. So you’d need to fit Defender style wheel arch flares on it. I’d also suggest a 110” wheelbase Series one with flared arches would look somewhat odd and out of place.

As for the tray back. Meh… unless you have a specific use for a flatbed tray they are hugely impractical compared to a regular pickup. Personally they also look disproportionately unbalanced.

The Oz style cow catcher would also be a huge no in the U.K.


Overall swapping a different body onto a 110 or customising a 110 body is perfectly legal and would allow you to retain the 110’s registration. So long as there is room it would be fairly simple to fit a Series 2/3 front panel and bonnet. And you could add a strip on the windscreen to make it look like a split window. Way less work and money.
 
Silly question I know but what counts as modification to the chassis? This is what I need to get a definitive answer to. People seem to get away with moving engine and gearbox mounts so is that the same category as modifying the outrigger? Friend replaced the engine mounts on his series 1 to fit a 2.25 and they were already non original to fit the Peugeot engine it had in when he bought it.
I remember reading somewhere that I have no evidence for and do not know if it was a reputable source or not that what they are bothered about is the rails themselves more than anything else. But I am unconvinced by that opinion.

Not needing to modify the chassis and using a series 2 body would certainly Be easier But then It doesn’t look like a series 1.
There is no such thing as a definitive answer. It is a self declaration process and there is only “general” guidance.

Anything you hear is simple opinion of individuals. Including any DVLA agents.

Ultimately the DVLA wields enough power that if they single out a modified vehicle and want to take it off the road, they will almost certainly have the ability to do so.

The main aim of the regs was to stop the proliferation of “ringers”. Ie 2 crashed cars badly welded together and fobbed off as 1 in crashed car. Or cars claiming to be something they aren’t.

If you look at the dot gov site there you will find the only guidance. There are several sets of regs and no way of knowing which set will apply (rebuilt OR radically altered). The two sets are similar but not identical.

If you read them black and white it clearly says an “unmodified original”. So in its most literal sense even drilling a hole in a chassis would not be allowed.

Remember all of this is to retain the identity of the vehicle. If you are happy with an IVA and probably a Q plate. Then you can do far more, but then need to meet the IVA Regs instead. Which I think you need to pay to get a copy of.

Btw there is no form of pre assessment to see if you need an IVA either. It is all on YOU as a self declaration when you tax and mot the vehicle.
 
I have known a few similar projects, most going the other way making a series look like a later coiler and one of the bugbears today would be a change in suspension to coil on the series chassis but plenty were done and got away with usually with rangy parts.
Putting a series roof screen on a 110 is straight forward the worst job if fitting series tub to 110 chassis is the wheel arch will be out of position and look well odd. Can be sorted but a lot of work. With narrow inset wheels/tires on the wider axles of a 110 you would probably not need eyebrows and keep the series look.
There is a chap not far from me who has a tax exempt Disco, this is because it is a Disco body and the rest is an early Rangy. Before ANPR was common he was often stopped by the law for a tax check.
 
As for the tray back. Meh… unless you have a specific use for a flatbed tray they are hugely impractical compared to a regular pickup.

Having never owned either how is the flat tray back or the trayback with little sides as per the yellow picture more impractical than a standard pickup, both are open to the elements?


Tbh I can’t really see the point or appeal of the project. 80 out 100 people probably can’t tell the difference between a Defender or a Series visually. Making this a **** ton of work for very minor visual change.

the point is entirely aesthetic. Getting a defender 110 up and running and converting to a tray back is easy enough but it then looks like a defender not the nicer (imo) looking series vehicles. The reason to go to the effort is for all of the benefits of the later model comfort, performance and general drivability in modern traffic condition comparted to a series. As @tottot say putting series vehicles on coil sprung chassis is nothing new because of all of the benefits that if gave you over the normal series motor. That is why so many ranger rovers got series bodies put on them more powerful engine, faster drivetrain, and all of the benefits and comfort of coils over leaf's.

Putting an old body on a new chassis for old look with the new benefits is something that happens a lot in the states where their modifications rules are basically none existent and you can do as you like. I am just looking at the feasibility of doing something similar within the UK regulations.

Putting a series roof screen on a 110 is straight forward the worst job if fitting series tub to 110 chassis is the wheel arch will be out of position and look well odd. Can be sorted but a lot of work. With narrow inset wheels/tires on the wider axles of a 110 you would probably not need eyebrows and keep the series look.

I am not so worried about the tub as I am looking at a flatbed unless there is a very compelling reason not to. I knew a series windscreen and cab fitted a defender and I assume that if I went down the series 2/3 route rather than series 1 then I could use a later model seat box and floor and tunnel with a series 2 bulkhead to get the earlier style dash while accommodating the later style engine and gearbox.

Because this discussion is all about the feasibility of achieving an aesthetic a series 1 body would be preferable but if it opens a mine field of chassis modification questions then it may be a non starter and series 2 would be a better the way to go?
 
I would say so long as the chassis mods are bolt on, then they are not permanent unlike welding.

I reckon a second woman would be more interesting and less hassle!
 
Based on that any vehicle that has had the engine mounts moved to fit a different engine would fail and I know of a couple of those personally and then lots more from articles and forums. Similarly any vehicle that has been bobtailed would fall into that catagory. Is that just wher as is a self deceleration and people don’t declare it and hope not to get get caught and inspected?
 
dag019 said:
Having never owned either how is the flat tray back or the trayback with little sides as per the yellow picture more impractical than a standard pickup, both are open to the elements?
You can't really put much in/on a try back without strapping it down. The small sides on the yellow might help, but it wouldn't take a lot for most objects to be easily flung out.

As said, if you have a specific need for a flat tray back, such as loading a large object or things like planks/boarding or maybe transporting some kind of machine on the back. The large flat area is very useful. But everything would need to be strapped in.

A regular Land Rover pickup at least allows you to chuck stuff in the back and not really worry about it rolling out the side. Something as simple as a suitcase or a bag of shopping from the supermarket. Neither would be safe in an open style tray. People can also sit in the back of a regular Land Rover pickup on the seat boxes where you can easily fit side benches, which can also be very handy. Plus if you plan to use the vehicle and go away in it, you can get proper covers for a regular pickup to increase weather proof and/or security. No such options with a tray.

Also worth noting a tray is wide and likely to be more of a hinderance off road, not sure if you plan to green lane or anything in such a vehicle. But expect to impact the tray sides more than you would a regular tub.

Ultimately flat trays just have never been a thing or worked in the UK. Hence Land Rover never offered anything like it. They did offer the HiCap rear body. Flat trays are mostly seen on 2wd American farm trucks where they live in a place with no bends or corners and might be getting bales and things with it for almost exclusively on road use.

However, if it is just about visual appeal and it is something you personally like, that is also fine. We are all allowed to like different things. I just 'personally' struggle to see the appeal of the ones you posted and their general usability in the UK would be hugely less than almost any other body configuration you could have.



If you really want to go down this route. I'd suggest starting with a 109 might be easier and swap in a different engine (maybe even an LT230 and 5 speed too. Lots of engine swap options from RV8 to Tdi and I'm pretty sure even a Td5 could be viable.

Adding power steering is easy using a p38 steering box.

And swap on some decent parabolic springs. I doubt it'd be a million miles off from a 110.


dog019 said:
Getting a defender 110 up and running and converting to a tray back is easy enough but it then looks like a defender not the nicer (imo) looking series vehicles. The reason to go to the effort is for all of the benefits of the later model comfort, performance and general drivability in modern traffic condition comparted to a series. As @tottot say putting series vehicles on coil sprung chassis is nothing new because of all of the benefits that if gave you over the normal series motor. That is why so many ranger rovers got series bodies put on them more powerful engine, faster drivetrain, and all of the benefits and comfort of coils over leaf's.

Putting an old body on a new chassis for old look with the new benefits is something that happens a lot in the states where their modifications rules are basically none existent and you can do as you like. I am just looking at the feasibility of doing something similar within the UK regulations.

The thing is, a lot of the 'driveability' of a Defender vs the Series is that the cab has evolved. Swapping on a Series cab will essentially undo a lot of those changes. And would IMO seem to be a HUGE amount of work for something in the case of a Series II or III look almost identical.

I'm really struggle to see what you are trying to gain or achieve here?

I'd also suggest a 107 tub on a 110 chassis would be a lot more work as a Series One is quite different such as pedal layout, bulkhead shape etc. Again a huge amount of fabrication work required and you'd likely loose almost all of the Series One uniqueness in order to get it to fit.

Many competition Land Rovers are based on the dimensions of the Series One, as it allows for a smaller vehicle overall, better for trials and potentially lighter for comp safari and things.

This is a 100" example:
Tomcat02-02.jpg


Which IMO looks really cool. But is a long way away from a period looking Series. The lower waistline means the engine and suspension don't fit under it, unless you jacked the body way up off the chassis.

On a 110" wheelbase it would probably look a bit goofy as well.


I'm by no means saying you can't do this or it is impossible. But you won't be able to swap on a Series One body to a latter Land Rover just to upgrade the running gear and keep it looking the same. Dimensionally they just don't align.
 
Based on that any vehicle that has had the engine mounts moved to fit a different engine would fail and I know of a couple of those personally and then lots more from articles and forums. Similarly any vehicle that has been bobtailed would fall into that catagory. Is that just wher as is a self deceleration and people don’t declare it and hope not to get get caught and inspected?
As I said, you need to use the dot gov sites.....




Read both pages, you will they are similar but not the same.

There is no way to know which guidance will apply to your vehicle, as nothing is offered to determine this.

As written the statements are very clear and concise, e.g.

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Screenshot 2023-07-09 at 12.07.53 pm.png


Both set of regs say 'steering assembly'.

Neither set defines what this actually means, e.g. is the steering wheel part of the steering assembly?

Meaning there is no way to truly know what is or isn't allowed.


I think this is done on purpose as it would be to hard to legislate on a per car basis. There is simply way too many variations and options. And ultimately, the vast majority of modified vehicles simply aren't an issue and are perfectly safe. It isn't worth the time or effort to try and stop people doing things that have no real consequence or concern to other people. But it does ultimately give them the power to single out individuals or individual cars should they want too.
 
The thing is, a lot of the 'driveability' of a Defender vs the Series is that the cab has evolved. Swapping on a Series cab will essentially undo a lot of those changes. And would IMO seem to be a HUGE amount of work for something in the case of a Series II or III look almost identical.

That I completely disagree with. Most of the improved drivability in my opinion comes from the ability to keep up with modern traffic. The ability to sit at 65mph comfortably and when needed accelerate to over 70mph. The ability to accelerate up to a cruising speed that can be measured in seconds rather than minutes. For me that is the biggest improvement on drivability. And I will include early 90/110 in that as well with the na and 19j, it is not until you get to the tdi that that improvement happened.

Everything else is secondary but coils are better than leaves, disc brakes are better than drums. The cab, which may have evolved a little, is virtually the same. I run series style split door on my 110 to give extra room, the defender seats are better than the series but they are a straight swap and unlike most people I think are very comfortable. everything else on the interior is basically the same and any improvement gained is from adding sound proofing and rubber matting not from the evolution from series to defender.
 
That I completely disagree with. Most of the improved drivability in my opinion comes from the ability to keep up with modern traffic. The ability to sit at 65mph comfortably and when needed accelerate to over 70mph. The ability to accelerate up to a cruising speed that can be measured in seconds rather than minutes. For me that is the biggest improvement on drivability. And I will include early 90/110 in that as well with the na and 19j, it is not until you get to the tdi that that improvement happened.
I sort of get what you are saying. But a Good Series should be quite ok on the road tbh. And an engine swapped one or modified one can go plenty quick. I clocked my 200Tdi swapped 88 at 92mph GPS on the level (on a private road....).

Although the TDI is an unrefined lump (have owned several including one now). The 19j is smoother and quieter for the most part and the original 2.25p is much more refined than any of the diesels.

So if this is you point of interest, there is no reason why couldn't mod a Series for better performance.

Everything else is secondary but coils are better than leaves, disc brakes are better than drums. The cab, which may have evolved a little, is virtually the same. I run series style split door on my 110 to give extra room, the defender seats are better than the series but they are a straight swap and unlike most people I think are very comfortable. everything else on the interior is basically the same and any improvement gained is from adding sound proofing and rubber matting not from the evolution from series to defender.
Depends. I'd say my leaf 88 rode very well on parabolics. It leaned a bit in the corners, but handled great. Driving a very bumpy lane in the Elan valley a few years ago it literally floated over the bumps, while the coiler boys where running at tickover.

Braking... meh!!

Drums are fine apart from having to faff about with them or if they get wet/mud. Most/many 40 tonne 18 wheelers still use drum brakes. That said, multiple disc conversion options.

Defender seats are fine. But there is less room in a Series cab due to the bulkhead behind the seats and other differences. Defender seats in a Series only work if you are short. I have some in my 88 coiler.
 
Saw a SWB series one body mounted on a Daihatsu chassis and running gear, those F50 body's rusted so fast you could hear it happening on a quiet day. Made good use of two dead trucks.
Saw a 2a lightweight on a rangy chassis and running gear. Chassis was not shortened but what the builder did was have a second bulkhead behind the engine and the original bulkhead further back so the tub fitted on the back crossmember as usual.
The space between the two bulkheads made for a quieter cab and had a hatch on one side that allowed access for spare wheel and toolbox stowage.
Not a lot has not been done with Landy's over the years, Moggy 1000 rangy chassis and engine and running gear in Swb 2a with a center joint JCB drive shaft to get around the big block to the front axle two of the daftest I have seen.
 
Dale Radford of Radford bulkheads has done some nice engine replacements in the series one club back in 2011 but you would have to become a member to excess them .pictures belong to dale attached
 

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Series 1 and 2 headlights are too close together for a tdi-age vehicle. There's a maximum distance from the edge of the body which later vehicles have to meet. (Road vehicle lighting regulations 1989) You may get it through an MOT test but it's dubious if you get stopped for anything else. So doing it by the book, you could fit a series 2a or 3 front end but would that be sufficiently different to a Defender to be worth it?
 
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