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2002 Land Rover Defender
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The Project

This 2002 Land Rover Defender arrived at our Carrosserie HQ in November 2023 for a complete new chassis to be fitted, head gasket replaced, corrosion repairs to underside of bodywork plus a general mechanical overhaul to get it back on the road.

Bodywork is the biggest bugbear of Defender ownership. Or, to be accurate, the combination of the bodywork and the separate ladder chassis.

14th December 2023 – New chassis has been installed. New suspension. Head gasket has been replaced. Bodywork repairs to the rear and underside framework.

18th January 2024 – Fully reassembled after new chassis installed, head gasket and suspension replaced, along with fabrication to underside and backend due to corrosion. Just an immobiliser to be fitted and a valet and this will be ready for collection.

The Land Rover was steadily improved following its launch in 1948. Mechanical changes had arrived at a glacial speed since the introduction of the 2¼-litre engine in 1958 and its diesel equivalent in 1961 – and the looks had been little-changed since the Series III of 1971.
 
A sign of things to come appeared in 1979 with the Stage 1 V8, incorporating a detuned Range Rover engine and LT95 gearbox with permanent four-wheel drive: all were on 109in chassis and most were exported.
 
The formation of Land Rover Ltd as a separate company within British Leyland finally meant attention was paid to updating the legend to compete with the plethora of rivals eating into its market.
 
The name ‘Defender’ would be adopted in 1990 to differentiate the original car from the recently introduced Discovery – when launched in 1983-’85 the models were known as the One-Ten, the Ninety and the 127, denoting the different wheelbase options.
 
Visually distinguished by their one-piece windscreens, full-length bonnets, flat fronts and wheelarch flares, under the skin they featured coil-sprung suspension, permanent four-wheel drive, a five-speed ’box, high/low ratios and central diff lock, front disc brakes with a servo, more comfortable seats, wind-up windows, better soundproofing, power steering (an extra at first) and the option of the V8 across the range. All this without any reduction in its superb off-road ability.
 
Pick-up and van bodies, as well as the usual range of specific-purpose versions, continued as purely working vehicles, but the County estate with its luxurious interior – with carpets, even! – was aimed at family transport and its equipment level was regularly updated.
 
The vast array of variants, special editions and upgrades – in 2007, when there was only one engine, there were 27 listed models – means that just about every car you see will have a different spec.
 
If originality matters, try to establish that everything is at least period-correct – but if not, just search for the spec you want and make sure any upgrades have been carried out properly and completely.
 
Rust, especially in the chassis and bulkhead, can be a killer, followed by extreme off-roading, which could have distorted the chassis and damaged the running gear.
 
But at least you won’t need a ramp to get underneath and have a good look – just overalls and a decent torch.
2002 Land Rover Defender | Classic Car Restoration | Carrosserie
Steve
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I cant recommend Carrosserie highly enough, the service was exemplary from start to finish and the workmanship is second to none. I highly recommend giving the team a call for any work you need doing to your classic car, no matter what it is, you will not be disappointed!
Dr Tim Moss
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Thank you to all at Carroserie who have provided absolute commitment, professional expertise, the ultimate in personal service and 'tender loving care' for my 84-year-old car.

I cannot recommend Carroserie highly enough.
Nigel Cramp
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Great friendly and helpful team at Carrosserie. Highly quality work. This is the second time I've used their services.

Highly recommended if you want quality restoration or paint work.
Phil Sage
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The work carried out here is like magic, the standard the cars leave is fantastic, the cars they restore are works of art!

23rd November 2023

14th December 2023

18th January 2024

Phil Sage
Phil Sage
27/09/2023
The work carried out here is like magic, the standard the cars leave is fantastic, the cars they restore are works of art !
Catherine Lonergan
Catherine Lonergan
26/02/2023
Very Friendly always helpful staff
Nigel Cramp
Nigel Cramp
25/06/2022
Great friendly and helpful team at Carrosserie. Highly quality work. This is the second time I've used their services. Highly recommended if you want quality restoration or paint work.
Ian Roper
Ian Roper
26/03/2022
Neil who owns the company straight away gave me one of the best buying experiences I have ever had. He was nice to speak with giving me confidence in buying from him from the outset. This continued throughout the buying process with updates on the process of finance that he organised. Because of my working schedule being so hectic and having to juggle many parental duties. We were unable to get over to pick up the car in the week. Despite the company being closed on weekends, Neil went out of his way to meet me on a Saturday afternoon and even showed me around his amazing company. It was so clear to me that this is someone who is genuine, kind and cares about his company and customers in equal amounts. A truly rare thing in this day in age. I wouldn't hesitate to use his company myself in the future and would recommend him to friends and family in a heartbeat.
John Royce
John Royce
16/02/2022
Outstanding choice of cars, superb restoration facilities from a very professional team. Highly recommended.
John F Crabbe
John F Crabbe
28/12/2021
Excellent and friendly service
Michael Leatherland
Michael Leatherland
19/08/2021
The brief was to bring my Austin Healey up to showroom standard to prepare it for sale. There were some problems along the way but were satisfactorily sorted out by the owner Neil who is a true gent. The workmanship was of the highest standard and never in doubt. My purchaser was very impressed with the quality of paintwork and overall presentation.
Colin Smith
Colin Smith
07/06/2021
Excellent service and good experience to advise on all aspects of vehicles
Craig Jameson
Craig Jameson
11/11/2019
Amazing

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