Saturday 30 April 2022

Dembleby Off Road (5th December 2021)

The thought of creating an event initially came about while at the LRO 2021 show amongst members of the Peterborough Land Rover Club as we haven't met up to get the Landies out for some time.

Although I have driven many thousands of miles off road in 'Red', the Series 2A Land Rover, much of it doesn't have the same condensed challenges of a dedicated off-road site. I wanted to broaden my experience in a Series without the risk of being stranded in the middle of nowhere (a familiar theme) so I fancied booking in at the local off road site.

Which led me to realise that it is not common for me to see classic Landies at my local off-road site, so let's create an event predominantly for that genre of vehicle (and their owners of course). Selfishly I wanted to create a visual feast. So I combined the two, a load of classic Landies together and give Red a shakedown. Another good excuse for taking Red was that we'd just purchased some new tyres and needed to see how they performed. In reality it's because my need to splash around in muddy puddles and going over bumps remains as my inner child coming to the surface.

After coffee and snacks from the booked van we gathered everyone together and split into two groups. Tudor leading one and myself the other. The intention was made clear that I'd be attempting the routes marked as colour red (more challenging) and Tudor predominantly the green.

The two groups started at different sections as to avoid clashing. The forest section was very much a challenge in a Series Land Rover due to the turning circle restriction. It must have been quite interesting in the long wheelbase versions and plenty to test both driver and car with mud, ruts and obstacles.

Next was the 'field', ideal for observing Land Rovers in their wild habitat, as an ornithologist would watch birds. Big water filled dips, twists, turns and, of course, mud! Even exiting this stage was a challenge for some! We met up again at this point for a break and a catchup and then headed to the quarry sections which had some challenging inclines and descents and slippery slopes performed at interesting angles.

Highlights for me included glancing over the 'field' seeing such an eclectic mix of Series Land Rovers at differing angles and upon asking drivers how they are finding the challenges getting massive smiles and thumbs-up in return. It was also nice to hear from those that had never tried off-road driving before and how much they gained from it. It was also interesting to witness how well the Series Land Rovers faired up, and in some respects, surpassed more modern counterparts. I gained further respect for Series Land Rovers, including my own.

Mud is still falling off Red months later. Oh, and the BFG Mud Terrain tyres are excellent, perhaps we'll not get stuck in bogs as frequently on our next trip.

Thursday 18 November 2021

Red & Alex at Land Rover Owner (LRO)

The Land Rover Owner (LRO) show must be one of the biggest of its type in the calendar. Unfortunately it did not run the last year due to the unmentionable and there were doubts that there would be as many feet on the ground this year because of the entry requirements of proving your status of the unsaid matter. Although there perhaps a few less traders this event seemed to be just as thriving as previous years.

Red was my vehicle of choice this year and proud to be on the Peterborough Land Rover Club (PLRC) stand. Usually we get a pitch tucked out of the way, which is great in many ways but a change of plan from the organisers meant we had a very prominent position right in the heart of the show and one of the first stands that foot traffic encounters. This meant we had more space for Land Rover, could spread out nicely and had more people looking at our Landies. The unfortunate side meant that from 11am each day through to the closing of the show we had 'Roll up, roll up, rocking n riding slipping n sliding' on very loud speaker for hour upon hour on repeat from the Wall of Death attraction a few metres away. We made light of it in the end although a few club members had disturbed looks on their faces occasionally.

Friday is setup day - deciding what Land Rovers go where and setting up camp - a time to say 'hi' to other club members, have a sneaky preview of the show and settle in to the evening with a drink or five. Being the extreme party goers we are (ahem) and being a Friday I brought some party lights along so Red could get into the spirit.

Our stand was a great mix of Land Rovers from Series to through to late Defenders and attracted a fair bit of attention. I never get bored of people asking questions about Red however often they get asked. The common ones are: Did you really travel to those places or are they just stickers? What do you do about fuel? What happens if you break down? Is it uncomfortable? How long did it take you?

Saturday and Sunday was spent by hours sifting through parts which to many would look like the contents of a scrap yard. Not that I actually needed anything as such but you never know what gems you might come across. Some electrical cable conduit was purchased and I fitted them to tidy up the engine bay a little. There were plenty of traders and I enjoyed watching the events put on in the Arena such as the extreme off roaders. Unexpectedly the PLRC were invited to the main Arena for the finale of the show - it was a fun experience driving round Red round the Arena on parade, to then settle for a photoshoot line-up before home. As many drivers were, I was pulled over to have a quick chat over the Microphone which was a little nervy! Very much looking forward to next year.

Thursday 7 October 2021

A visit to the body filler mines of Norfolk

Warning: Video contains strong language

And that, kids, is where your P38 comes from!
This was not an act of wanton destruction and savagery. I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it, but it was necessary, because my brother's 1963 Land Rover had, as my brother sagely observed, a lot of filler.

Pictured: A lot of filler.

Some time before my brother bought this Land Rover in 2008, someone had tried to make its bodywork a bit smarter, with a lot of filler. I cannot say that this was a terrible idea, because it held up as well as a monstrous amount of filler could reasonably hold up.

It took my brother rolling the car onto its side some years ago to crack it severely, with some help from daily driving for years, three road trips to Africa, and one gentle road trip to China via Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Even then, as ugly as it was, it was not an MOT failure, until someone picked off some bits of it, and then it was an MOT failure because of an exposed sharp edge.

So, with a lot of filler removed, and some help from a blowtorch, soap[1], and a selection of percussive persuasion tools, we had a straight panel again. I say "straight", though I actually mean "straight enough to be presentable on a battered Land Rover". I made sure that Alex was out of arms reach and did not have any power tools to hand when I said "that's straight enough, but do you know how we could make that panel absolutely perfect? If we got a lot of filler..."

Many other things were completed over the weekend, thanks to Alex's superhuman motivation. And also his ability to talk people out of whatever else they wanted to do and into helping him.

But not even Alex can make me miss a British Drift Championship livestream...

I had other things to do with my current project-within-a-project on the P5 (more on this soon-ish), but after the filler-mining was complete of course I stayed up much longer than I was expecting to stay up, helping him wire in a pair of new horrifically-bright LED light bars, because Alex can talk toothpaste back into the tube...

...which took us into the early hours of the morning, and all of that was definitely a good way to spend 14 hours!

Thanks to Alex for the video and a couple of the pictures in this post.

[1] With very thin aluminium such as that of a Land Rover body panel, you mark the area you want to with ordinary soap. Heat that area with a blowtorch. When the soap turns black, it is at a temperature that is more-or-less optimal for percussive reshaping. :)

Written by Lewis, a web developer by day, petrolhead & cat fan by night.

You can read what his blog is about. Or you can go visit his site, or you can go see some photos he took at drift racing.

Monday 9 August 2021

The Story and a Tank!

It has been sometime since we've published anything on the website, but that doesn't mean things have been idle at the Rusty Rhinos camp.

Seven years on since our last rally, we're certainly feeling the rally drought. When world borders are more open than they are today, a 6th rally will certainly be on the cards.

Over the years, Alex has been doing quite a bit of work on Red. We've been preparing for our next rally for a few years now. The Desert Bunnies have given us plenty of support as part of the never ending Red modifications and preparations.

For our first post today though, I'll talk a bit about the tank. For many years Alex and I have pondered over having a second tank installed, there are a couple of fairly obvious benefits for us. The first being that Red's range is fairly limited, typically a refuel is planned every 150 miles. The other benefit is that we can reduce our reliance on Jerrycans for fuel. We have a lot of weight towards the back of the vehicle and an extra 20 litres of fuel further back of the rear axle doesn't help. Moving this weight to the centre of the car and lower down gives us better weight distribution. It also takes the weight off the rear door.

The Jerrycans on the front are still here to stay, we know they result in the odd eyebrow being raised from time to time, perhaps more often than time to time come to think of it.

With the extensive rally drought and us itching for the next rally, we decided to get in some of our wish list upgrades into Red.

It all started in August 2020, when we thought there was a chance a rally could be pulled off in 2021. We ordered our fuel tank for the tidy sum of £50. The real work however then started in April this year.

This is best explained through this series of photos:

Work begins on the 11th April to fit the fuel filler neck.
Moss from the Dessert Bunnies marking out the spot for the fuel filler.

A hole is cut out for the fuel filler neck.

The fuel filler neck is riveted onto the body.

On the 24th April progress is made to prepare Red for the tank to be fitted.
A hole cut in the rear tub to make way for the fuel filler.

Fuel filler on the passenger side bolted in.

Tappling holes into the fuel tank so that we can use 5mm bolts instead of the regular Land Rover ones.

Fuel pipes connected to the tank.

Cover panel for filler pipe painted and fitted.

The tank is fitted on the 25th April and some prep work begins for the fuel piples and installation of the fuel changeover unit.
Black cover panel fitted to rear bulkhead.

The fuel changeover unit.

A cut out in the seatbox is made because the fuel pipes on the tank come out in a different place.

The 31st May sees work return on Red with on the switches and the more intricate aspects of the fuel tank fitment.
The switches are mounted prior to putting the seatbox back in. There is a lever on the outside of the seatbox which not only changes the position of the fuel tap for switching from one tank to another but also the electrical feed to the fuel guage.

The fuel cap and clasp are fitted.

Alex pointing out where the lever goes before it is installed.

The view from under the seatbox showing the back of the swtich with the wiring before everything is tidied up.

While working on Red, Alex spots a bit of an issue on the body, oh dear!

The all important lever, improvised from a spanner to allow us to switch fuel supply from the two tanks.

A short video of Alex showing the twin tank installation.

The tank is now in place and fully operational, increasing our fuel capacity from 40 litres to 80 litres and giving us a range of around 300 miles! This is something we're definitely going to appreciate once we hit the road on our next rally, gone are the days of our hearts sinking when the sign for the next services or fuel stop is over 80 miles away while we only have half a tank of fuel left! That's it for our first post, more updates and general meanderings will be posted from time to time.

Dembleby Off Road (5th December 2021)

The thought of creating an event initially came about while at the LRO 2021 show amongst members of the Peterborough Land Rover Club as we h...