Although a large number of vehicles have been converted into Arctic Trucks locally over the last couple of years, one iconic 4×4 has been noticeably absent from the AT roster. Until now, that is. Meet the Arctic Defender
The vehicle you see before you was the first Land Rover Defender to be converted locally into an Arctic Truck. And as you would probably agree, it was high time that a Defender received the Arctic Truck treatment.
Gary Swemmer from LA Sport Silver Lakes performed the conversion, and as you have undoubtedly noticed, the Landy has been modified quite a bit.
Of course, it has received the usual AT conversion. It has a TJM suspension consisting of four coils and four shocks, 17-inch Arctic Truck rims, large 35-inch Mickey Thompson tyres, swollen wheel arches, custom Arctic Truck seat covers and AT mud flaps.
But a basic AT conversion is obviously not all that has been done to this Defender. Most noticeably, this Landy has lost its top. Its roof has been chopped off and replaced with a roll cage frame.
“This Defender was generously given to us by Land Rover Centurion. They wanted us to go extreme and simply see what we could do with it,” says LA Sport Silver Lakes owner Gary Swemmer. “So we decided to transform it into a proper off-road toy. Motorradical built the roll cage frame for us, and we fitted a roof rack with a roof-top tent and jerry cans to it. We also fitted other standard aftermarket accessories to it, such as a replacement TJM bull bar with a synthetic-winch rope, a snorkel, rock sliders with recovery shackles, awning and spotlights.”
But that’s not all Gary and his team did. In order to create something truly spectacular, they paid special attention to all the details.
“A truly impressive off-road vehicle should be practical, of course, but it should also look good. It shouldn’t simply be littered with all sorts of disparate off-road accessories – all the gadgets and accessories should fit together and enhance the overall look of the vehicle. For this reason, we wanted to give the Arctic Defender its own unique off-road character. We focussed on all the details, even painting the spade and gas bottle to fit in with the other yellow accessories, such as the winch cable, jerry cans and shackles. We replaced the typical axe you tend to find on an overland vehicle with a real Tomahawk axe that I managed to track down. It is lighter than a normal axe, and actually does a better job.”
The big question, though, is whether this sort of thing is for sale. Is the Arctic Defender available for purchase?
“Well, with this particular vehicle we really just wanted to see what we could do, but there is no reason why we couldn’t build this sort of thing for a customer,” says Gary. “We’re prepared to take on any project. If a customer wants it, we can build it.”
The standard Arctic Truck conversion for the Defender is priced at R135 000, and can be done on any Defender, regardless of whether it is a station wagon or pick-up, or whether it is a 90, 110 or 130.
“We also have an African-spec option,” says Gary. “It consists of the standard conversion, but also boasts other aftermarket accessories, such as a TJM bull bar, a winch, a snorkel and a rear swing arm for the spare wheel.”
The African-spec Arctic Truck Defender conversion goes for R185 000.
Contact Gary Swemmer on 012 809-0090; or visit www.arctictrucks.co.za.