JJ (Joli Jouet) - Defender 110 SW Td5 - 1999

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Joli Jouet, French for "Cute Toy" was our first 4x4. It had clocked 80,000 km when we bought it. It had been superbly maintained and equipped by the owners who had often tagged along with the Paris-Dakar rally.
We sold it -- clocking 115,000 km -- this time to buy a brand new Defender (Alistair), since we had a long travel project in mind and mainly with the prospect of benefitting from the manufacturer's international warranty... only to find out that there was none in Turkey when we needed to change a rear axle rod silent block.
Click on pictures to enlarge them.

Version allégée en français

Not shown in the pictures, here is some of JJ's equipment:
- a spare battery
- two 50-litre stainless steel diesel tanks, located under the chassis, with two 12V pumps
- a 65-litre stainless steel water tank with a 12V pump
- protections welded on the axle differential cases
- "cheese grater" style skid plate to protect the steering rod
- all doubled shock absorbers, front and rear
- rear swing wheel carrier, located against the back door (it was not possible to open it from the inside)
- trunk lateral benches had been removed
- the sand track holders were located over the trunk side windows
- the roof tent was attached in the front and in the middle to the roll cage and on the rear, on a single roof bar
- schnorkel
- shovel holder, lockable with paddlock
- headlight protections
- the roof tent was a Columbus, easy and quick to open -- 6 seconds -- and to close -- 1 minute. A good choice for a "live around" (the truck) solution... as long as it was not pouring rain... or there wasn't a pack of wolves around the car at bedtime (as it happened to us in Bulgaria !)
We made a few custom improvements:
- we removed the 2/3 middle bench but kept the 1/3 seat (convenient for giving a lift to a local hitchhiker or when hiring a guide)
- an enclosed tarp "room" in the back which happened to be very much appreciated when windy or drizzling
- we replaced the plain wheel rims by "modulo" ones: the holes in the rim allowed a chain to pass through them to lift quickly the axle with a long jack. Otherwise, we had to lift the whole car and extend the link to the axle before the wheel would leave the ground. In case we had to face a situation where we could not use the tent, we built an articulated "Z" hinged platform in plywood. The front part was split into two boards: a shorter one on the left, a longer one on the right.
Once the front seats were folded down, we could extend the platform and have the short one sit against the steering wheel and the long one sit against the dashboard. The shorter passenger would of course sleep on the wheel side... and both enjoyed little air clearance, but lots of fun.
Lastly, a custom front roof rack was designed and ordered while we were in Morocco.
We had a really great time with JJ all over Ireland, Spain, Morocco and Switzerland. At the time we were ready to sell it, we removed a lot of the equipment and accessories and transferred them to Alistair.