I don’t know who was more keen to get a “safari car”. Max, my nearly 5 year old, or me.
Max developed a very rare talent, at a very early age. He has the remarkable ability to identify a “safari car”, otherwise known as a Land Rover Defender, if it even enters his distant periphery.
For Max a safari car represents adventure. Something he and I want to chase more intentionally this year.
Last year, after 67 years Land Rover sadly discontinued the Defender. An iconic piece of British engineering, utilitarian in design – loved by everyone from the royal family to James Bond.
As a result it’s passionate owners are not keen to sell them, the price is rising, and the market is fast drying up.
After months of trawling online classifieds, I finally found one. A beautifully impractical Land Rover Defender Puma (2010 model) that ticked all the checkboxes. Well almost all the checkboxes… it had been converted into a 2 door pickup truck.
Luckily for us the seller was a fanatical Land Rover specialist company called 7Landies. Together with 7Landies we brainstormed some modifications and quickly got to work.
Practical and fun
The plan was to convert our 2 door pickup truck into a safer, family-friendly landy.
7landies spent the next couple months designing and building a custom-fitted roll cage – safeguarding two new back seats. We also added a soft top canopy, new suspension, a wheel dampener, new tyres, LED lights and a fresh lick of paint. We also discovered we needed two new doors, given the poor state of the previous ones.
We’ve named our newest family member, and Max’s best friend, Yolandi.
Yolandi has plenty of quirks, as do most Defenders, that we’re coming to terms with. She’s not the quickest, safest or most comfortable ride. She’s too tall to fit in to most undercover parking lots, she’s VERY noisy with a soft top canopy blowing in the Cape Town winds, and the rain, well… we’ll soon find out.
But Yolandi is absolutely beautiful and ready for adventure.
As a Telegraph journalist wrote:
It’s a little tricky to drive at first but you soon learn. All you really need to do is slow down – and since when has that been a bad idea.