The early build

Last Friday both Rachel and I had the day off, so we took the chance to visit OEC and agree the few loose ends left at this stage. As we arrived we could see that some work had been undertaken on RR02 HAR as it was sporting a snorkel air-intake. It’s also had the roof head-lining stripped out of the back of the cab (to accommodate the lowered roof containing the top bed), the front diff protection added and the wading kit. One chassis frame has been fabricated and gone off for galvanising, the other was being fabricated as we were there. Other, miscellaneous accessories are ordered and at OEC too.

Anton explained that the Ashcroft auto-box conversion kit was due to arrive this week. Once that is completed the hand-controls can be fitted.

The Pods are supposed to arrive from France this week too. (We had it in our heads that they were already on site – but it seems they are taking a more Laissez Faire route). Still at least there is plenty of base vehicle prep that can be completed in the meantime and OEC are on the case. Their, self-expressed ‘optimistic’ estimate for completion (in the unlikely event that there are no further third party (supplier/volcano type) disruptions or delays is late June. What are the chances?!

We agreed that the inverter could be housed in the ‘box’ on to which the rear seats mount (we will be taking out the 60 bit of the 60:40 bench for the trip – but will be reinstating it on return).

The big unknown is still the best way to make the pod accessible. If it is to be by hydraulic lift then that too is probably better plumbed in before the pod goes on. Anton remains confident that once the chaps at OEC apply themselves to the problem a solution will be found. Obviously we’ll post details regarding this as things develop. (I can see a possible build delay inherent in this element of the project)

We forgot to talk about front-seats when we were there. Over the weekend we’ve looked at Exmoor trim catalogues and replacing the vinyl front seats (with Defender Elite in Outlast canvas) will be (another) £1k. We wondered whether just covering them in Melvill & Moon canvas covers (less than £300) would be comfortable enough? Obviously seating is something that must be right, so we don’t want to skimp for the sake of it. With hindsight I think we should have gone for the County spec on the base vehicle.

Whereas retrofitting might give you more choice, it is also much more expensive and I’m not sure there is a sufficient cost benefit (IE LR’s own cloth seats are pretty good as is their immobiliser and their sound system – all included in the County spec for the extra £2k.) We have also budgeted an additional £1300 for security (Immobiliser/Alarm/Tracking/Anti hi-jack) as a max.  

I have bought a head unit for the ICE that seems basic enough.

We will be fitting an Exmoor Trim cubby Loc-box to match whatever trim we end up with. Again all of this work can happen pre-Pod.

We remain in budget but I’m more than happy to squeeze off what we can.

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