Pistons & Pivots
Brian's Land Rover Defender Wolf Winter/Water FFR
The Queen's Go-Cart
I'm not sure if this Pistons & Pivots is appropriate or macabre in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's passing, but I'd like to think it's a tribute; she could not have done accomplished all she did without the Land Rover by her side.
Born in 1948, after the British were taken by the dazzling simplicity of the American Willys Jeeps in the WWII, the steel shortage meant the Brits had to hammer and rivet each vehicle out of aluminium. The material's natural rust resistance was appreciated in the wet UK climate along with the relatively light curb weight. The capabable Land Rover and Defender series conquered more land and hearts than any other vehicle in the world. Some say a Land Rover is the first vehicle the majority of the 3rd world saw. I am not a supporter of invasions or the displacement of people but the Rovers were not build to kill. They were helpful for UK farmers working in their fields - and for evading taxes, since the Series 110 could seat 12 and be considered a city bus!
Having been through the Gulf war, the Invasions of Iraq and the Afghanistan War from the vantage point of Turkey, I spent a fair share of time around Land Rovers as a young boy. Turkey was not directly involved in war but has always been a passage to the old world. The Land Rovers of my childhood were not always military clad however; sometimes they wore the dazzling Camel Trophy livery that dilated my pupils.
As a 39 year old immigrant to Canada, I still get just as excited when I see a Defender 90-110 or 130 in the wild. Not the new bulbous, electronic ones but the pre 2000s Defenders and Series I, II and IIIs. They usually represent a different kind of indulgence these days as a display of prestige, never taken off road and rarely loaded with gear other than strollers and gluten free pastries. The modern Defender weeps in silence and bleeds oil quietly in the Whole Foods parking lot. There are exceptions of course and you know when you see a scratched and dented aluminium body work covered in mud. You wanna run up to it and immediately ask how many days since it was last in the shop. Days that can be counted with one hand's fingers probably.
When we walked up to the unique Defender at Crankworx Whistler, we knew that we wanted to do a closer look for a Pistons & Pivots article.
Brian's 1999 Defender is a rather unique one but not only because it's a military issue RHD from the UK. It's also 1 of 686 Land Rover Defender Wolf Winter/Water FFRs with the Remus upgrade; an adventure ready vehicle for the BC mountains.
Brian tells me the following
"The subject line is a mouthful. The military called it a “TUL HS FFR HT WINT” officially on the release form. Stands for Truck Utility Light High Specification Fitted For Radio Winter/Water. It landed in Canada in January 2021 with only 56,000k on the engine. So it was lightly used like most of this variant. They are mostly all still in service with the royal marines. My truck was part of a smaller number of the 686 they made that was FFR and thus hard top. They quickly found them too small with the large radio kit in the back compared to the 110” (dunsfoldcollection.co.uk) and placed them in reserve. I believe that’s the group they auctioned off at the end of 2020 as I had about 10 – 15 to choose from and they were all the same as mine. Hard top 90” FFR winter/water. The truck is actually my daily driver so not just a weekend thing."