Once was a write-off

What does it take to turn a flooded 1973 Land Rover – purchased for $1,000 – into a competitive winch challenge vehicle? Just ask Boris…

The Series III Land Rover drove into scrutineering for the 2013 Manukau Winch Challenge and almost immediately the talk about old Land Rovers began. But Boris the Land Rover was not going be bothered by the critics, and nor were 18-year-old owner Kurtis Raymond and winch man Brendan McGregor. They ignored the pre-event talk about how unreliable Land Rovers can be and the fact they didn’t have the latest in tyre technology such as Silverstones – Kurtis and Boris were going to do their talking during the competition.
Kurtis isn’t totally new to the winch challenge scene, having been the winch runner for his father Glen in Larry the Land Rover 110. Kurtis started in the comps as soon as he turned 15, and his youth and enthusiasm soon had him running hard with the kind of energy others get tired from by just watching.  
Any lad at 15 wants his own vehicle, and for Kurtis it was a Series III Land Rover named Turtle that he would drive to school and park alongside his school mates’ ‘rice burner’ cars. It was a hard top with the standard 2.25 engine and 31x10.5x15 tyres on wide rims, which probably accounted for its name. But it stood out, tall and proud just like his owner.  
After a couple of years it needed some work and, with help from with his dad, Turtle was stripped to replace an outrigger and for rust repairs. The intention was to prepare the Land Rover for the upcoming Manukau Class in the Manukau Winch Challenge. This was an introductory class for road legal vehicles and drivers who hadn’t previously competed in such events, with vehicle modifications and requirements kept simple.  
With the winch challenge in mind, Kurtis decided he would like a truck cab instead of the full hard top. Searching for the desired unit, Glen came across a complete vehicle at a Turners damaged vehicle auction and went along to bid if the price was right. At the fall of the hammer and a final $1,000 bid the Land Rover fleet at the Raymond residence had increased yet again.  
The vehicle had been written off due to flood damage but was in pretty good condition. After the auction came a quick inspection of the purchase and, surprisingly, the Holden 202 engine fired into life. Boris was, though, lacking in the paint department.
For the full story, see the March issue of NZ4WD

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