Progress on the Defender: We Have a 130 Panelvan!

in #hive-1393582 months ago

An exciting weekend this weekend, making progress on our ideal overlanding vehicle to get us to see the great outdoors in comfort and style! Whilst Landrovers aren't everyone's perfect 4x4 vehicle, they sure are ours. If you don't know what we are doing, we're making a 130 single cab panelvan, which as far as we know, hasn't been done by anyone in the world before.

These updates are diary style. YOu'll notice there's gaps between the days because we have to work and sadly can't just do it every day as we'd like. That's the royal we, by the way - Jamie does the work and I just project manage, encourage, tidy and jolly on, as well as make decisions about how we're doing it. I know heaps now just from observing him do it for years, so though I don't have the practical skills, I can certainly make suggestions which he is grateful for and which make me feel clever too.

I'm also in charge of putting the spanners away on the wall in correct order (often fail) and tidying up the garage with him, lifting things, holding things, and moral support.

31st July

In this photo you can see the capping has been primed and painted and pop riveted around the top of the tub. The water tank finally arrived and we've just popped it in to get a sense of the space. That rear section will have a hatch on either side and the compressor, perhaps the secondary batteries and a few other things. The inside has been primed.

The door was put into place to figure out how to attach it. There's no hinge holes so we suspect it was never made to fit a back door. The roof and sides will have to go on first so Jamie knows where to fit it.


We clipped the aluminium sheeting to the side to see how it'd fit - annoyingly, the sheet metal guys cut one wrong so it was a few mm out so we had to go get a new piece. They accepted it was their fault so it was no biggie. I washed the sides in the sunshine so that they're ready to work with.


Much sanding and bogging was done today, putting the heater on in the shed to make sure it'd set okay - the weather is annoyingly too cold to paint without it. Jamie hate sanding and bogging with a passion - it's really not his thing. But he got on with it and didn't do a bad job. We're not making it perfect because that just creates more work and the first time it's out in the bush we're likely to bump and scratch it. You can't be too precious about these things.


Can you see the angled pannels on the back of the tub? They aren't standard for a Landrover. More on these later.

3 August

Jamie's decided to put the tub on before painting it. It will make him feeling like 'he's getting somewhere' - the oft repeated phrase around here. We do get places, but there's always a place to go, and lots to be done on these infinite pathways of Landrover decisions.

But before it goes on, the interior must be painted. As it'll all be covered with flooring, cupboards, insulation and the like, there's no point in doing it #keswickgreen - black will do.

Now we're thinking about who to call upon to put the tub on. That'll be fun and games. Part of him worries that it won't go on and we'll be back to the drawing board, which originally involved doing a composite board camper. We chose against that because it was going to be time consuming and expensive. Even to buy a pre-made or custom one would cost $30K and none of them were what we wanted anyway. None of them were perfect.

So, we are just crossing fingers and toes that all will work the way we expect, and want, it to.

6 August

Luckily it's the weekend so we can get lots done. We spent half the day getting the dual cab apart. No real issues, just a lot of time.

Jamie's mate Chris came and helped him get the tray off on Friday night. He has an amazing 6x6 Landrover which has been converted to a camper.


It was pretty light without the cab and the tray on that's for sure! And even lighter without the dual cab.


We discovered that the dual cab had a sill channel that needed replacing with a single cab one (the bit the door shuts onto) and luckily a mate up road had a wrecked Perentie that had exactly what we needed. Murray is so excited about our project that he was happy to give them to us.

Later, in the early evening, Murray got so excited for us he helped put the tub on. That really was the moment of truth... Would it fit? And it did. The chassis brackets were in the wrong spot but the wrecked Perentie had those too .. so lucky as there would have been more of a delay whilst we ordered them.


You can see our reel of the day on Instagram which shows the whole process. Do give it a view and a follow as we would love to increase our follow count! If you're on a PC it'll open in your browser anyway. Enjoy!

7 August

Voila! We woke up in the morning to some excitement. We have a Landrover panelvan! It's so lonnggggggg.


So Jamie set to work finding the chassis brackets off Murray, priming and painting them, and trying to get the whole thing level with the doors so the door gap was reasonable. Landrovers are famous for ill fitting, ill closing doors!


Now do you recall the back panels on the tub? We got rid of them as they aren't standard and we want it to look good from the back. Now we aren't sure whether to cut another plat of aluminium to sit over it so the holes don't show or just rivet them and paint over them.

Of course Sunday went faster than we would have liked and there's still tons to be done, but as we say around here, 'we're getting somewhere'.

Oh, and here's an interesting thing that might give some perspective. Some people put a 110 tub on the back of a 130, leaving it a dual cab. For the record, that idea occured to us - but omg it's longgggggg. Ours lines up with the back of the chassis and will look like a 110 except for those who know and look it and go - wait what - that's longer than a 110 - is that a 130?

image.pngcheck out @theflyinbrick on IG

It's pretty cool how the pop top comes up from the side like a dor mobile. Ours though will hinge up from the windscreen making it pretty spacious inside.

Watch this space - hopefully next post will be in a few weeks with the roof and side on!

With Love,


Are you on HIVE yet? Earn for writing! Referral link for FREE account here


Hi there, @outdoorlife has curated your post on behalf of the outdoors and more community. Using #outdoorlife as the first tag on posts of this type helps us find you, as will posting in the community.

#outdoorlife footer.png

All images belong to @galenkp

Thanks @galenkp. Looking forward to decking it out expedition stylie!

You keep making it awesome...I'll keep being jealous.


There's nothing quite like the right tool for the job River. There's nothing a bit of wood can't fix, am I right? 😁


Haha I wondered who would notice 😂

The man who has been inflicted all his life by noticebloodyeverythingitis.

Really? You're a details man!? I'm the opposite 🤣

Cool work you have maid 😋👌👌👌🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺

We are pretty happy with it!!

I be soon back more ... I want see what more you do ;)

Very nice work brother, I hope to have my own car someday. 😊 !PIZZA

I hope you do too .. though they do get costly!


PIZZA Holders sent $PIZZA tips in this post's comments:
@sephiwolf(3/5) tipped @riverflows (x1)

Learn more at

I love the royal we!

I got Johnny Cash's One Piece at a Time vibes when you started talking about the chassis brackets!

I don't claim to know much about automotives but I'm (sort of) learning drive I've been working selling parts at a junkyard.

The older my husband gets, the more geeky he gets about cars. I know more than I want to just by osmosis!! Maybe that'll happen to you via the junkyard...😱

Hahaha thanks for the reminder of that Cash song, what a classic. Its kinda how we built the first one except instead of being smuggled out in a lunchbox we got it through the post 😂 ... And it has parts from 1970 through to 1980 I reckon 😂

Great to see more progress 👍

It can be painfully slow!

Holy cow, that is truly an awesome project! I want one! 😋

Haha yes it's the dream machine!

This is so fascinating to watch happen! I'm soooo glad it fit and you could find the missing brackets.

It was both a stroke of luck and down to generosity of a friend and Fellow Landrover enthusiast who loves our project!

Hey there @riverflows, it's been a while. What happened to the other vehicle you guys spruced up for this use? Is this the same vehicle or a different one? It looks like it'll be quite awesome when you get it finished.

Hey!! We still have it... But this one's an upgrade. We bought it as a lockdown project. Our state had longest lockdown of nearly anywhere so we went a little 🤣 crazy and bought this sight unseen.

Yeah, Australia has been in the news a lot, because of the draconian measures taken there. It looks like you were able to make the best of it though.

The project is looking pretty good. Your hubby has some professional bondo skills.🤣 It should look awesome when it's finished, if he doesn't kill himself first. I too noticed the log on the jack right off. I may have used the same method once or a dozen of times.¯_(ツ)_/¯

We did make the best of it but it did come with a lot of anger and a sense of injustice, as that's something that drives both of us. WE don't mind following the law as long as it's reasonable and a lot of it wasn't. I still feel a bit of PTSD if I'm honest. Spending two weeks locked up in hotel quarantine was hell on earth and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Hahah the log, yep, proper mechanics going on there. He is Mr Safety though, check thrice! Bondo?? He does have good skills, he'd be on my side in an apocalypse for sure. Mind you I'm pretty savvy myself. He did say yesterday that one of the reasons he likes this project as he feels we're both doing it together. I feel I've learnt so much by osmosis over the last build that I can offer suggestions or advice when he's stumped - he looks at me sometimes and wonders how I know what I know haha! Alot of the time I feel I'm project manager and problem solver, so it does give me a sense of achievement and worth too - it feels like 'our' build even though he's the master mechanic.

Sounds like the perfect project for you two then. I can't wait to see the finished project. Yes, I plan to stick around Hive for a while. I might give you all a tour of my garden sometime, but it's mostly travel blogs on this account.

Bondo is the medium used to patch dents and holes in vehicles. I'm assuming that's what the white patches are.

Ah yes, I just googled it - we call it 'bog'.

A garden post woudl be awesome too.

It's gonna be a LandRover bus \o. Freaking awesome! Btw, I noticed the wood burner in the shop -- clever, clever. There's nothing as painful as hitting the fingers with a wrench when it's freezing.

Oh yeah it's so cold in there! To be honest the woodburner is more for me. If he wants me to sit in there and talk to him while he works he can at least keep me warm! He did want also to keep it for warming up to paint but ends up waiting for warmer days mostly. We picked it up free.

Cozy workshop, I'd live in there if it's warm enough \o
can't wait for dad's new house to turn the old one into a workshop, then I'll be able to work on my old car too. It's gonna be a hella motivating. Just not without a woodburner

Haha well real men can do it in the snow 😂

Have you watched Alone yet?

real men can do it in the snow

I identify as an updated orangutan 🤣

Haven't watched yet =/
being running around like a headless chicken

Oh busy?? Or just a hybrid orangutan chook?

What's chook? hyrid orangutan mixed with a sloth sounds more like me