Defender 90 TD5 rusty chassis

Sometimes even a supposedly experienced dealer like us can get caught with a lemon. A couple of months ago we were offered a 1999 90 TD5 from a previously well-trusted source. It was described to us as smart, with a new interior, running well, and having recently had a new rear crossmember with extensions, and with a ‘good chassis’ otherwise. As we’ve previously had good experiences with this trader, we agreed to buy it sight unseen.

On arrival, yes it was fairly smart and had a complete new interior – it was obvious that quite a lot of money had been spent on it fairly recently. However looking at the OSF outrigger, I could see that it had been badly patched. An easy job to cut it off and replace it properly with a brand new one. Or so you’d think.

My workshop called me a couple of days later with the dreaded ‘you’d better come and have a look at this’…

They found, when they removed the old outrigger, that there wasn’t any useable metal behind it on the main rails to weld onto – it had been (well) disguised with filler and tin cans. Further examination revealed both front dumb irons to be totally shot, front crossmember gone, and rust everywhere on the chassis forward of the rear crossmember extensions.

The only sensible solution for this one is a new galvanised chassis, which is currently underway.

You can see the state of it here

Early motoring years

By this I don’t mean when a man used to walk in front of a moving car with a flag – I’m not that old. I’m going from when I passed my test in 1980 up until around 1986 when I entered the motor trade, and gained enjoyable (and sometimes not so enjoyable – Ford Escort Mk3 1.3L Estate in oh so vibrant Beige, Austin Montego 1.6L saloon, Rover 214 hatch – I’m looking at the 3 of you) use of company cars.

My first ever car was….(I know not why) a…Bond Bug.

Yes I know, but it was enormous fun. I paid £380 for it out of the ‘Thames Valley Trader’ when it was just a local rag. I worked there for a while in the early 80’s, but that’s for another day. Twice as an exuberant 18 year old I had it on two wheels; (with the near side front bodywork scraping the ground) once in a car park, and once turning right onto a side road. Annoyingly I found that, at MOT time, the chassis had been repaired with tin cans and filler, which was a rude awakening to the perils of old cars and possibly a portent.

A local welder said he could repair the chassis for £30. I doubt it was repaired to last, but it did at least scrape through an MOT. I seem to recall I fell out of love with it pretty soon after (I’d just started working in a notoriously hard pub on the other side of town, and turning up for work in an orange, wedge shaped tricycle wasn’t really cutting it with the clientele) so sold it for £650. I guess there began my life dealing in cars – KVO 988K however seems to still exist as far as the DVLA are concerned….

It was time to move on to…..