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Land Rover Special vehicles has made available the longest Defender yet. The Defender 147 can carry 13 passengers, but comes with a variety of options to suite a family, tour operators or safari operators.

This is truly a unique vehicle because the Defender 130 only comes in a crew cab form, which is quite different from the Defender 110 station wagon. The D147 is 37 inches or just under 1 metre longer than the D110. This allows for the extra door and seats to be fitted. Two diesel engine options are offered, the Tdi as well as the newer TD5. To the best of our knowledge this vehicle is available only in South Africa, and comes with the standard 3 year warranty.

The Defender 147 has been used predominatly by safari and tour operators in South Africa. There are also at lease three in use at Solihull in UK for Land Rover Factory tours. These vehicles have the raised Puma engine bonnet but are apparantly also fitted with TD5 engines.



Land Rover launches new high capacity Defender Station Wagon

Land Rover's continuous programme of innovation and development has resulted in an exciting new Defender model aimed at the exclusive game lodge and safari market. The Defender 147 High Capacity Station Wagon, as revealed exclusively by Wheels24 in April (see related article above for story and pictures), offers unrivalled roominess with a seating configuration that can accommodate up to 11 people. In conjunction with Engineers from Land Rover UK, a prototype Defender 147 has been undergoing a series of "torture tests" that simulate a 10 year life cycle within the space of a few weeks, with the vehicle winning high praise for its exceptional comfort, roominess and wide-ranging abilities. Essentially the 147 is an ultra-long wheelbase version of the iconic Defender 110, which boasts a heavy-duty suspension, two additional doors and up to 40% more legroom for the second and third row passengers.

Test engineers report that the legendary ride comfort of the Defender has been further enhanced, with the off-road prowess of the 147 exceeding even the most optimistic expectations. It is believed that as well as appealing to the demanding game lodge and safari market, it will find favour with discerning family buyers who aspire to the luxury of even more stretch-out room and loadspace for extended Land Rover adventures. In keeping with Land Rover tradition the 147 badge indicates the length of the wheelbase in inches, with the 5.3m long vehicle still fitting in a standard garage if the spare wheel is stowed against the bulkhead in the load area, rather than on the outside of the rear door.

This vehicle carries Land Rover's three year / 100 000 km warranty with full parts back-up. The prototype Defender 147 began life on the normal assembly line at the Land Rover SA plant in Rosslyn, near Pretoria, where a substantial amount of the production was completed before it was transferred to the Special Vehicle section for final assembly. While the front and rear sections remain the same, it has grown 935mm in total length and wheelbase. Special adaptations include an additional door and C-pillar on each side, along with the adoption of heavy-duty suspension components consisting of a 1 580kg-rated front axle, 2 200kg rear axle, and co-axial helper springs. High capacity steel wheels are fitted.

The units will be powered by Land Rover's acclaimed high-efficiency and low emissions Td5 turbo-diesel engine. The first 10 vehicles have been built with deliveries due to commence at the end of November. Retail pricing is estimated to be around the R360 000 mark, including VAT.

Land Rover Defender Limousine

Defender turned limousine - Nick Bates www.mg.co.za 09 March 2005

The Defender 147 High Capacity Station Wagon offers unrivalled roominess with a seating configuration that can accommodate up to 11 people.

Essentially the 147 is an ultra-long wheelbase version of the iconic 110 and boasts a heavy-duty suspension, two additional doors and up to 40% more legroom for the second- and third-row passengers.

To date, there are just seven of these behemoths on our roads, and one is owned by Kian Barker of Shakabarker tours in St Lucia. With a zoology degree and honours in ichthyology, Barker is nobody's monkey and he soon realised that to provide his guests with the ultimate turtle egg laying/ hatching experience, he needed a very different vehicle.

"I originally had a 130, but this proved too small and I would end up using one of my open-top medium-heavy vehicles if the tour was big. This wasn't ideal, thanks to the inclement weather," says Barker, adding that the 147 provides the perfect solution.

Driving the 147 is a very different experience. Performance is fractionally slower than the 110, thanks to an increase of 337kg (a total of 2 392kg) unladen. Add to this the weight of the extra passengers, plus catering paraphernalia, and you have a very heavy vehicle. Besides the turning circle (now topping 15m), the quality in ride comfort is immediately apparent. It's almost limousine-like, soaking up corrugations and bumps like blotting paper. It seems quieter too, especially if you're sitting in the back. The steering remains reasonably responsive, but parking is an art.

If you'd like a unique experience, try the 147. If you're lucky, the leatherbacks and loggerheads will still be making their way out of their nests too.

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