La Aduana: Transglobal Expedition 1997 Defender

There is no denying that any Defender is something special to behold. The history of the platform is evident in its unchanged shape, a defiant declaration that the first Land Rover from more than 65 years ago was so good, it only required modest tweaking over the course of nearly seven decades. Like all things, there are exceptional examples like this 1997 Defender purpose built by Land Rover for the Transglobal Expedition led by the legendary Sir Rannulf Fiennes. This, as they say, is the real deal and can be yours if you have the dosh, and act quickly.


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From the ebay listing:  1997 Defender [link]

This auction is for a very special Land Rover with an interesting history.
This was one of 6 vehicles built by specially by Land Rover in 1997 for the Land Rover Transglobal Expedition.  The project was to be led by Sir Rannulf Fiennes, who personally specified these vehicles in conjunction with Land Rovers engineers.  This vehicle is a Wolf XD, which means that everything from the chassis to the halfshafts and 24v electrics are totally upgraded on the normal Defender. The vehicles were specced as Left Hand Drive, as they would travel to countries where this was a legal requirement for entry (as well as it being a lot easier!)  
Unfortunately Sir Ran suffered a heart attack, delaying the plans and not long after that BMW took over Land Rover, these amazing vehicles were shelved, and sat in the factory until 2003 when they began to be sold off through closed auction.  Before these 6 vehicles, it was not possible for a civilian to buy a Wolf that had not previously been destroyed/decommissioned by the military, and subsequently rebuilt from a mix of defender parts and surplus.  This Wolf is the real thing though, unthrashed and untouched (other than with improvements.)
I bought the sister vehicle R651 BAC, and used it for a Global expedition in 2007, more details of this can be found at
I moved overseas a couple of years ago, and sold R651, but regretted it ever since.  When the chance to own R652 came along I jumped on it, and have had this amazing vehicle stored in the UK ever since.  The sad truth is, that I have two children now, and do not plan on moving back to the UK any time soon.  As such, here are just some of the details of this incredible vehicle.
Safety Devices custom Rollcage – These rollcages were specially designed by Safety Devices to withstand the immense pressure of an ice crevasse, should the team have fallen in one!  They reputedly cost over 100,000GBP in R&D costs alone!
Twin Fuel tanks & Jerrycan lockers – The vehicles came factory fitted with both 90 and 110 tanks, switchable in cab.  These give around 175litres of capacity.  The military side lockers can carry an additional 4 jerry cans, giving a total of 255litres at low COG.  
24V electrics – As per the military spec, the wolf has twin 12v batteries (brand new with guarantee) fitted in series these give 24v, the benefits of 24v are that everything requires less amps, so winches run cooler and longer, starter motor is stronger, as well as lighting and internal devices.  The stereo CD Radio (fitted with ipod jack)  runs on a 24-12 volt dropper.
Factory lighting – The wolf is fitted with Adjustable 24v headamps as well as 6 additional high power 24v spots. Also 3 adjustable worklamps and high power internal lighting.  It is also fitted with the military spec reading lamp.  Underneath it has the military convoy light fitted and the lighting is wored to military spec, i.e it can be used in convoy mode for stealth night driving (!)
Arctic Insulation & Aircon – Most components on the Wolf are winterised, but it has also been fitted with full Artic insulation in the roof, floors and behind panels and bulkheads.  The previous owner had fitted factory aircon, which needs a re-gas now but is all professionally fitted and working.
Suspension – The Suspension system is pretty much brand new, with ProComp shocks and springs all round and a 3 inch lift.  It has heavy duty shock turrets on the front and new spring clamps all round. Unlike the standard Defender, the Wolf is plated to 3350Kgs, as it is designed to carry lots of heavy equipment.  It drives very smoothly and is comfortable with this setup.
Land Rover Expedition Roofrack – Does what it says on the tin, I had a huge Solid rooftent fitted on R651, which was slightly too large, however an autohome or maggiolina double would fit perfectly.
Military Spec 300TDi – The military version has no ECU and has been totally winterised as well as modified to having almost zero electrics and mechanical membrane fuel pump for bullet proof reliability.
Mantec Snorkels – The vehicle is currently fitted with 1 snorkel, although I do have another ready to go on it.  As per R651, these vehicles should be fitted with 2 snorkels, as the military version had double intakes for a long complicated reason I won’t go into!
Wolf Wheels & Wrangler tyres – The vehicle has nearly new Wrangler MT/R’s all round, and the spare is unused.  Wolf wheels are 5mm steel, extremely heavy, and built to withstand a landmine (literally!)
The vehicle is fitted with a CB radio, high quality seat covers, I have a 24v maintenance changer, and the military jump leads (for starting helicopters, but can start Wolves too!) also, a box of extra bits and pieces, like the other military intake (These were custom made in the factory to fit the rollcage.  It has only covered 31,000miles since new, (50,000kms) which can be backed up by the pile of MOT’s service receipts etc.  It does have some oxidisation of the aluminium body panels, which is very common, but as can be seen from the photos, the vehicle is in excellent condition.
I took it for an MOT last week, and it flew through with no advisory. The engine, gearbox and transfer case are totally dry with no leaks at all.
This vehicle is ready to go around the world tomorrow, take up a place in a museum, be put in to storage as an investment, or simply be the most amazing vehicle wherever it goes!  I could write 1000’s of words about it, but might be better to give me a call or come and see the vehicle in person at my house in Woldingham, Surrey.
I am in the country until the morning of the 28th June.  After that it will go back into storage unless it has been sold, if so it can be collected at any time from my family in the UK.  House number is 01883 65 25 45.