Protecting ‘The Spirit Of 1948’ – The Last Land Rover Defender Heritage
The Land Rover Defender is instantly recognisable, and it’s barely changed since its inception in 1948. Conceived from war-time shortages and born of necessity, the Defender is a timeless, classless classic. Permanent four-wheel drive and a power take-off (PTO) at the rear made it the ideal all-rounder, appealing to foreign buyers as well as the domestic market. Practical for farmers, suitable for agricultural areas and indeed, for those parts of the world with broken and unmade roads.
The Land Rover Defender Heritage pays homage to HUE 166 (Huey), the pre-production Land Rover, designed by the Technical Chief of Rover, Maurice Wilks, and his brother, Spencer, Rover’s Managing Director. Unsurprisingly then, there is a raw mechanical feel to it: the sound of gears changing, the raging of the wind traveling even at relatively low speeds. Combined with the basic dashboard instruments, the Defender Heritage retains the altogether agricultural feel of the first Land Rovers. You either ‘get it’, or you scamper eagerly back to your wind-proofed modern day vehicle with power steering, cruise control and built-in hands-free kit.
For those who embrace the nostalgia, certain details will delight: the red and yellow loops around the gear sticks along with the 4×4 instruction plate bolted to the bulkhead.
Painted Grasmere Green, the colour is reminiscent of post-WWII RAF surplus paint. The grille features a true-to-form replica of the original badge and the almond cloth seats embroidered with the original Land Rover logo, complete with a ‘HUE 166’ tag stitched onto the side of seat replicates the original registration.
2015 is the last year of the Defender; after this the model in its current guise shall no longer be produced. Recently Land Rover celebrated building the two-millionth Defender.
Last chance then, for collectors to get their hands on an iconic piece of automotive history. Vital then, that a new Defender Heritage should be protected in order to preserve the visual appearance and resale value.
Having been collected direct from Land Rover, this iconic Defender Heritage arrived at UF’s Brands hatch based Detailing Studio for a New Car Protection package. The first step was to thoroughly decontaminate and then clean the car, prior to protecting it.
Initially, the Defender was treated with Nanolex Wheel Cleaner & Iron Remover. This cleaner acts on bonded ferrous particles derived primarily from brake pads (but also collected during transport by rail, as many new vehicles are). The cleaner changes colour on contact with iron and the active ingredient shrinks the particles, causing them to break their bond with the substrate. These sharp particles can then be safely rinsed away prior to the washing process.
The Land Rover was then treated with Bilt-Hamber Surfex-HD, a water-based degreaser that easily removes oily deposits, diesel splatter and road grime. The final stage was a pre-clean using an Ultimate Snow Foam & Kranzle-adapted Foam Lance with a Kranzle K 1152 TST Pressure Washer. The foam clings to the vertical surfaces of the car and lifts larger particles of dirt and grit away.
After being left to dwell for a few minutes, the foam and contamination were rinsed off with a pressure washer. The painted wheels with rugged off-road tyres also benefited from a pre-clean with Ultimate Snow Foam.
The Land Rover was then washed using the Two Bucket Method, Gtechniq G-Wash Shampoo and an Ulti-Mitt Double-Sided Merino Wash Mitt. After rinsing the suds away, an Aqua Gleam De-Ionising Water Filter was connected to the hose to give the Defender Heritage a final, pure water rinse. The car was then dried using UF Ultra-soft Microfibre Drying Towels before being brought into the detailing studio.
Once inside, the paintwork was inspected under high-intensity lighting to check for any defects and multple paint depth readings taken across all the panels.
Although it’s a brand new vehicle, we always check the depth and condition of the paintwork before sealing it. Quite often new cars arrive with wash swirls – or worse! – and it’s important to remove these first, as once the paintwork is sealed the defects are sealed in too. In this instance the paintwork was in really good condition – no problems with it at all, so we just gave it a light polish by hand to ensure the paintwork was as glossy as possible. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
The spare wheel hanging on the rear door was removed to allow for easier and more comprehensive polishing and sealing. The Defender Heritage was then polished using PolishAngel Esclate Lotion, applied by hand, using a foam applicator pad. The paintwork and wheels were then wiped with Gtechniq Panel Wipe to remove any lingering residues of polish. This leaves the surface primed and ready to receive the layer of sealant.
Given the vehicle type and the likelihood that it is going to see some off-road action, I selected Gtechniq Crystal Serum as the sealant. Crystal Serum cures as a dual layer structure. The underneath layer cures to a hardness of around 7h, the top layer cures to around 9h. This combination produces an inherently tough but flexible surface which gives superior resistance to wash induced swirls and the occasional green lane bush! – Derek Ginger, UF Detailing Studio
In addition to the resistance to impact marks, Crystal Serum is virtually impervious to extremes of pH, such as those found in some wash chemicals, particularly wheel cleaners. Once Crystal Serum has cured, water, dirt, oils and brake dust are repelled from the surfaces, making them easier to clean. This reduces the chances of putting swirl marks into the paintwork when using a wash mitt. The overall effect is a cleaner-for-longer vehicle which is easier to maintain during the weekly wash.
The glass was cleaned and then sealed using Gtechniq G1 ClearVision Smart Glass. This hydrophobic sealant encourages rain water to bead on contact with the treated surface and allows the drop to be blown away, even while driving at relatively low speeds. Due to the hydrophobic properties, snow and ice do not adhere as effectively to coated glass, making winter morning starts faster and a lot easier!
The key here for us was to look at the vehicle, understand what the owner was trying to achieve and then use the products tailored to those requirements. Crystal Serum is tough, so it’s going to protect the paintwork effectively and it’s suitable for all painted surfaces, so it was applied to the painted bumpers too. It’s also heat, resistant so it’s perfect for use on painted wheel hubs. The Land Rover is going to be out in all sorts of weather and winter is coming, so protecting the glass with a hydrophobic sealant was a ‘must’! – Derek Ginger, UF Detailing Studio
The wing mirror backs were protected with Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer, a sealant which protects black trim from UV-fade. The tyres were treated with Gtechniq T2 Tyre Dressing for a long-lasting satin effect. The final result was stunning and should ensure the very last of the Defenders is protected for the next 67 years!
*Gtechniq Crystal Serum must be applied in tightly controlled conditions to ensure longevity and performance. As a result, this product is available as a service only through Gtechniq-approved detailers. Once applied, Gtechniq guarantees the performance for seven years.
UF Detailing Studio – Award Winning Detailing. Call 0333 800 8004 to discuss your requirements and arrange a free vehicle appraisal.