Ex Military Police Defender 90 LHD


The phone rang, Barry whats the best motor to have out in bulgaria say’s the son in law James. A seven seater defender 90, I reply, but they cost a fortune with Left hand drive.

I know where there is one in South Yorkshire and its going cheap he replies, but we have to go now, It was my day off 10am in the morning, but by 12 noon we were sat in the P38 range rover with a car transporter trailer on the back in a storage yard waiting for the owner so we could view a left hand drive 90,

It had been purchased by this chap as part of a large vehicle fleet he was exporting to Africa, and at the last minute the Africans had cancelled the Landrover from the order,

30 minutes later a Deal had been struck and we were loading the 1987 Ex military police 90 2.5 diesel onto the trailer, it had been purchased directly from the Army  and it wasnt even registered yet, with the release papers in hand, we headed home.


First job,  Insurance, a quick call to Adrian Flux Insurance services who specialise in ex military vehicle insurance and the Landie was insured on temp cover for 30 days on its Chassis number.

Next the MOT,  I had given the 90 a real good going over when we were purchasing it, and the only thing I could see which needed attention was the washer jets which didnt work and the horn.

Bonnet up and front grill off and the problem with the horn was found, it was simply a wire off. The washer jets were a little harder to sort, the pump worked, and there was water in the tank, but nothing was coming through, it took all of 30 minutes to find the problem, the pipes were full of sand and blocked solid. new pipes fit and we had wash/wipe.

The following day I drove it down to work and dropped it at the local MOT station,  it passed with no advisories. I was well pleased with our purchase.

The weekend was spent giving the new addition a good going over, oil change, filters, etc, and a list was made up of items which needed replacing or improving,

15 layers of military paint were sanded back,


A new roof was sourced and fit, (the old one had several plates fit where police lighting had been removed) and the interior was stripped out,

The next urgent job on the list was to register the vehicle, A visit to the DVLA offices in leeds was required, its very easy to re-register ex military vehicles providing you have the correct release papers, if you dont you have to fill in form after form, and request copies.

I did have the correct paperwork and along with our new MOT  and insurance cover note not forgetting a large wedge of cash to pay the road tax fee I was sat, waiting my turn to be dealt with by a nice young lady behind a glass screen,

241 was announced and I approached the screen, pushed my wad of papers along with the correct amount of cash under the glass and smiled,

A military Land rover she said, we dont get many of these, she checked my papers, smiled and said, take a seat I can do this for you now,  15 minutes later the doors closed behind me and I stood there holding a new tax disc and a form to purchase number plates,  E97WYG  was now legal.

424436_3341063202991_490540474_n  new number plates and LHD stickers.

With not too much spannering required, the first job would be to get the motor looking the part again, I still had 10 gallon of nato green paint in the garage so it was a no brainer as to which colour it would be,  and the nice thing about military motors is, many of them were brush or roll painted during their service life, so tiding up would be easy.

419620_3361557915346_1575353452_n 422454_3361558435359_1676755054_n  A lick of paint

A few hours hard graft and the 90 was tidy enough to run around in, or visit the odd military show or two,

I had by this time been running around in her, and although the engine purred like a kitten, it pulled like an old nag,  N/A diesel engines are rubbish,  bullet proof maybe, but sluggish, slow, and they run out of steam really quickly on a hill.

A plan had been forming in my mind since we had picked the motor up, and that was to bin  the smelly old diesel and fit a V8, I had done it before, and it transforms a landrover into a cracking motor  on or off the road,

Its amazing what you can find out when you Goggle it,

I had spent quite a few hours, checking out military landrovers, and it appears that 3.5 V8 engines were fit to snatch landrovers as standard plus other modified landrovers in military service, so if I could source an ex military V8 then I would be only swopping one military engine for another, Thats it then, its getting a 3.5 V8.

It didnt take long to source a V8 engine, A few phone calls around the Ex-Military suppliers and a trip to Cheshire and the engine unit complete with gearbox was aquired.


It was out of a Ex – Military Defender Snatch 110 which had been stripped for parts  and only 27000 miles in service.

Now I know you would have loved to see photos of the engine swop, but sadly at this point things got a little crazy, and taking photos were the last thing on my mind,  But a couple of weeks later the engine was in and running.


I just love the sound of a V8 on song, and driving was now a real pleasure, we could cruise at 70/80 mph, and getting up to them speeds was real easy, after a couple of trips out, up into the Yorkshire Dales  I was a truly happy bunnie…

Now it was time to get it ready for our road trip to Bulgaria,

Bulgaria, you say!, yes. We had decided that as the 90 was a left-hand drive, and having a holiday home in Bugaria it would be sensible to take it out there and keep it there. That was the reason we purchased it in the first place.

It would be great for Exploring  the surrounding Areas, plus Romania and Greece, both of which are only a days drive from our home in Lovech.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Our Holiday Home in Lovech, Bulgaria

But that Trip, and our Adventures in Bulgaria are another Story which you can read about here later.

Back to the Defender 90, it was time to civilianize the beast a little, I didnt want to loose its History and looks, but it had to be a little more useful as a family transporter when over there so,

A roof Rack was added, along with rear spot lights and a snorkel.


Then, Front roof lights and the Headlamps were upgraded.


Carrying extra passengers was a requirement, with a growing Army of Grand children who would be tagging along at some point, rear seats were the next thing along with side windows


Our Ex – Miltary Defender was almost complete, but there was one final thing that needed sorting.

The front seats, they were nothing more than form pads, and for where we were going and the distance (approx 2000 miles ) then they had to be sorted,  standard civie defender seats arnt too bad, but there must be some thing better without bankrupting me. Tstarted lhere is…

After weeks of looking, reading, and trying out different ideas I was exhausted and still no seats. then an old Off-roading mate called by the house, talk got to landies and my quest for seats, BMW series 3 seats go straight in Barry, really comfy, adjustable, and they go for nothing on Ebay, but get the non-electric ones, you loose a little head room but you gain everywhere else.

And fit they do,

575665_10201950365738351_1526257245_n 1383893_10201950370418468_1398117779_n

Its November 2013, we have comfort, power, and luggage space, and its only 3 weeks to our Christmas Trip across Europe to visit our good friends Mally & Jan in Bulgaria, Who were the main reason for buying and Building our Holiday home out there.

The Landie is sat on the drive Ready, and so are we, What could possibly go Wrong..

well you will just have to wait to find out..