I’m scheduled to pick up the Defender for our first trip on 27th June and it’s touch-and-go whether it will be ready by then. It certainly won’t have been fully completed by that date.
Due to the location of the additional fuel tank in the rear offside wing, the external roll-cage won’t fit. Colin and his crew have tried to modify the roll-cage but it just won’t fit. They’ve finally decided that they’ll have to get a roll-cage custom-built to fit around the fuel tank and that can’t be done within the next few days. Also, as they don’t yet know where the cross members of the roll-cage will be, they don’t know what space will be available for the solar panel. As a result, the solar panel will have to wait until the roll-cage is built and fitted. We had also agreed that the air-conditioning would be fitted later, after this first trip. With the exception of the cage, solar panel and a/c, I’m hoping that the rest of the vehicle specs will have been met – but the fridge-freezer has not yet been fitted and neither has the swing-away spare wheel carrier.
There’s an emergency back-up plan that involves me getting a loaner Defender 90 for a couple of days if the extra time is needed. I’ll then get my own Defender before I head south and over to Europe. I hope it doesn’t come to that. Having commissioned the build in July 2011 and finalised the specs in November, I didn’t expect to be worrying about vehicle completion in June 2012, but it is what it is! Just keeping my fingers and toes crossed!