RR Concept latest creation came to life with a particular order from a Belgian travelling family. They chose the Defender 130 for its ruggedness and ideal wheelbase but wanted to make the most out of its rear real estate. They need to keep the loading capacity while benefiting from a full-size quality bed for their upcoming adventures in North Africa.
With this in mind, Rudy Roquesalane, leading the Lyon (France) based RR Concept company, started designing the couple’s perfect overland companion. To complete the job, he will have to mix three of his trademark upgrades:
- 1 – Converting the 130 pick-up into a Station Wagon Defender.
- 2 – He will install a purpose-made tilting roof to allow sleeping for the parents and their kid.
- 3 – He will fit a new powerhouse under the bonnet in the form of the mighty 3.2L Tdci engine found in Ford Ranger pick-ups.
The Station Wagon concept:
The long wheelbase Land Rover has never been offered with a full-length cabin, or as a ‘Station Wagon’ as its sibling, the 110 has been sold over the years in its 7 to 12-seater version. The only way you could get you 130 from Solihull was as a double cab pick-up – or a single cabin and bare chassis if you were in the trade.
In theory, the conversion is pretty straightforward: unbolt the bits not required anymore and screw on the new ones using Defender 130 Hard-Top panels, Meccano style: no cutting or welding required.
Of course, it is not this easy, but Rudy admits the basic design of the Defender allows such modifications, using almost entirely Land Rover Parts. In fact, RR Concept is the only Land Rover approved company in France.
How it works:
The process includes taking off the original pick-up bed in favour of a Hard-Top version one. This way, the rear side quarter panels and top sides perfectly match the rest of the bodywork. This makes the modification appear factory – in fact, Land Rover would probably have had to do it the same way if they’d deem the market big enough to justify it.
Land Rover would have done
it the same way!
All they would have needed to create this are a few strengthening parts Rudy engineered and produced, such as a rear cross member, and some aluminium panels.
On several of their Station Wagon conversion, Rudy and his team have installed a camper style tilting roof. They use their kit dedicated to Defender 110s. The 130’s roof being longer, they leave the choice to the customer to decide where the tilting part goes: to the front or at the back, leaving room for a small roof rack over the driver and passenger.
This is what the Belgians required here. However, Rudy mentioned that he could also offer a full tilting roof on the 130, but the benefit is only marginal.
The system is really practical and works effortlessly, with struts easing the lifting of the roof. It opens on an immense bed. It hosts the whole family, with the youngster at the feet of his parents.
The ‘kitchen’ furniture unlatches
to be used outdoors.
Everything and the kitchen sink!
Inside the vast cabin, Rudy has set up a perfect kitchen with seating for two adults and their child, loads of lockers and cupboards, a fridge and then some. A side window opens over the gas stove on the side of the Defender – ideal to pass the plates through to guests enjoying some shade under the full-length side awning. Furthermore, the whole ‘kitchen’ furniture unlatches to be used outdoors thanks to folding feet.
Of course, this particular set up can be installed in Defender 110s. This whole conversion cost around £11.500/€13.000 all in, including painting it all to the body colour. However, if you do not mind grabbing your spanners, it can be yours from £4.800/€5.500, providing you source a rear 110 door.
You do get twice the power of a stock Defender and over 50 % more torque!
More power, please.
Last but not least, in order to pull the weight of the fully laden long wheelbase adventure vehicle, Rudy recommended upgrading from the 4-pot 2.2L Tdci to its 5-cylinder cousin –the 3.2L Tdci from the Ford ZSD engine family (commonly known as the “Puma” family). This engine has been fitted to Transit vans and more recently on Ford pick-ups.
This certainly eases the conversion process. However, this is not just a matter of exchanging two engines. If the engine mounts are similar and the ECUs based on the same units, this is about all the engines have in common.
Rudy has developed a turnkey 3.2L Defenders conversion, delivering the astonishing figures of 250 bhp and – sit tight – 550 Nm. If you are not accustomed to the Tdci performance details, you might not be shocked, but consider this: the stock Defender power is a modest 122 bhp, and its torque only reaches 360 Nm!
A great asset of this engine for adventure Defenders is its robustness (Transit vans clocking 300.000 miles on the original engine are not uncommon). This is great in the long term, but for day-to-day drive (around the globe or at home), what is even more important is the smooth running, with instant torque delivery.
For more information about this fantastic overland wagon, contact RR Concept or visit them in Lyon in their workshop :
RR Concept :
53 av. Carnot – 69250 Neuville sur Saône – France
Tel: +33 (0)184.108.40.206.96
Discover more about the RR Concept tilting roof and Defender conversion here:
RR Concept’s 130: Extra bits: