Category Archives: Defender

Pedal Power

Bespoke Defender Pedal Car

Bespoke Defender Pedal Car

Should you want to compliment your tot’s Bulgari, get them to sling their Jimmy Choos or Loakes on the pedals of this beauty.

Bespoke, British-made chelsea tractors for the playground shuld be winging their way to a Harrods store near you from Q2 16 (the middle of next year if you’re not a bit of a banker).

Classic elements of design meeting the needs of the modern nursery commuter, the off-road ability of these vehicles will naturally be supreme. Attention to detail includes maintaning the classically-low approach angles front and rear to facilitate climbing steep obstacles, low waist-lines to allow good side visibility for driver and co-driver, rock-sliders to protect the vulnerable side sills and a spacious engine bay for storing Mr Wuggles, the other half of that rice cake Mummy gave me and a full range of crayons.

Expect hard-wearing food-resistant seats, low servicing costs and high residual values. Resuslts of the Euro Kneecap tests haven’t been released at the time of publishing, with some speculating that although crumple zones may be absent, most impact speeds are likely to be low so driver protection should be acceptable.

If you have a real Land Rover and need any servicing, repairs or accessories, visit our website www.mcdonald4x4.co.uk or give us a call

This article was written by Rupert Astbury.

45 Range Rover Facts

4-generations-of-range-rover

If these are the horsemen, give us the apocalypse now.

Land Rover have very generously given us 45 facts based on the Range Rover line.

We’ve chosen some of our favourite and included them here:

3. Charles ‘Spen’ King, the visionary engineer behind the Range Rover, drove a Rover 2000 road car on the farmland around the Solihull site to assess the effects of coil springs on an off-road vehicle – a radical idea for the time.

 

4. During the prototype stage in the 1960s, Range Rovers were cunningly labelled with VELAR badges in order to fool any journalists who were on the lookout for a scoop. Stories differ as to what VELAR stood for: the official story is that it is a Spanish word for ‘to protect or take care’; other accounts say it stood for ‘Vee Eight in a Land Rover’ or that it’s from the Italian velare, meaning ‘to veil or cover’.

 

5. The Chinese characters that represent the name Range Rover in China translate as ‘Capturing Victory’.

 

9. The Range Rover Sport SVR will feature in the forthcoming James Bond film, Spectre. What you might not know is that Range Rover vehicles have also starred in: Quantam of Solace (driven by 007 himself), Casino Royale, Layer Cake, Eastern Promises, Snatch, RocknRolla, Kiss the Girls, Syriana, Ocean’s Eleven (and Twelve and Thirteen), Under Suspicion, The Football Factory, The Player and many more.

What a fantasy garage!

11. The armoured Range Rover repelled eight live ball rounds from the barrel of a Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle, eight bullets from a Makarov pistol, and a 7.62mm live ball round fired from a distance of 32 feet. The bulletproof glass is 40mm thick, and the floorpan can withstand two DM71 hand grenades. An optional built-in Oxygen system protects all five occupants against gas attack, the tyres boast run-flat technology, and the suspension has been fine-tuned – because a fast getaway is still the best form of defence.

 

13. Although it has outstanding off-road ability, when engineers developed the Range Rover Sport, they placed the emphasis firmly on-road. Testing was carried out on the notorious Nürburgring, where it clocked up over 5,000 miles, hit speeds of 130mph, and lapped the track in an amazing 8 minutes, 49 seconds. Each lap has 73 corners and endless combinations of radius, camber and gradient, so it’s not hard to see why the Range Rover Sport became such an accomplished performance vehicle.

 

16. In the 1970s and 1980s, British company Wood and Pickett customised Range Rovers. The vehicles would often be given more power and wider wheels, and the interiors would be kitted out with Recaro seats, sports steering wheels and additional dials, according to the customer’s requirements. The vehicles were re-badged as Sheer Rovers and proved popular with some of the biggest celebrities of the time, such as Peter Sellers. In the late 1970’s, Wood and Pickett were also consultants on the first Range Rover Vogue.

17. In the 1970s, specially-built six wheel Range Rovers were used as fire trucks. Some of them are still in use today.

Let your body move to the music (not to mention the potholes)

Go on, say ‘nee nah!’ in a Terry Thomas voice.

21. Madonna used her Range Rover as a mobile medical unit on the set of her then-husband’s 2008 movie RocknRolla. Madge set up shop as distributor of vitamins to a run-down cast – which included Hollywood darling Gerard Butler – from the back seat of her vehicle. In related trivia, Madonna and Guy Ritchie also used Range Rovers for their wedding at the exclusive Skibo Castle in the Scottish Highlands.

 

29. In 1970, the introductory price of the Range Rover was set at approximately £2,000 – just under half the price of the average house. By 1978, thanks to a decade blighted by inflation, the price of a Range Rover had reached £9,000.

This would now cost over three times the list price. If you could find one.

30. Two Range Rovers were sent to Morocco for extreme hot weather testing before full production got underway. The 3,500-mile journey was documented in the film Sahara South, which is still available to buy at the Heritage museum website.

 

33. When it came to the look of the original Range Rover, Charles ‘Spen’ King (an engineer and not a trained designer) was left to his own devices, because at that time, priority in the styling studios was being given to other Rover vehicles. Like many engineers, King felt that form should always follow function, and as a result, came up with a simple but elegant design. It was so good that when David Bache and his dedicated design team took up the project, they only had to make minor revisions to King’s design.

 

37. In 1985, the first diesel Range Rover, codenamed ‘Project Bullet’, ran at over 100mph for 24 hours at the MIRA test track in the UK. It broke 27 diesel-powered records in the process.

If you have a Range Rover and it needs some TLC, or if you’re the proud owner of any of the Land Rover marque’s range and you need parts, accessories, repairs or servicing, check our our website www.mcdonald4x4.co.uk or call us on 01691 657 705.

Call us even if you’re not currently a Land Rover owner, we can help change that too.

 

This article was written by Rupert Astbury.

Getting Even More Muddy

Land Rover want you to get out, out in the wilderness

Jaguar Land Rover have decided to focus on technology, and some of the latest are straight from the future.

1.  First on the list has to be the remote control of the vehicle from a smart phone. First-release pictures featured Range Rovers with mud, cliffs, boulders and mud (as well as HSE-adherent hi-vis-vestage).

Speed bumps in Slough have become the Range Rover Sport’s natural enemy.

The immediate feedback must have been quick and connected as the follow-up pictures featured soft-roader Evoques and parking spaces, which let’s face it is the natural habitat of all but the most sheep-smelling of Defenders.

One can only hope that the technology is more secure than the door locks which, in their chocolate-fireguard-like efficiency have inspired a recall of over 60,000 cars…

Londoners! Beware! There are holes in your roads!

2. Holed Everything!

Crikey DM, it’s a pot-hole, says your car. Fantastic; warning relayed, you ease off the loud pedal for a while to make avoidance easier. A great idea.

Except for the reality of Britain’s roads, especially the urban thoroughfare. If you go down to those woods today, you’re in for a freekin’ shock. London has T-Rex treadmarks in the tarmac deep and wide enough to ruin your day when they trash your sick rims [sic].

If you slow down for every pot-hole, you’ll be overtaken by the rose-sellers, windscreen-smudgers and cyclists you burnt off at the last traffic lights.

 

Land Rover are making things harder, including your throttle

3. Sole Music.

Jaguar Land Rover are moving with the times, and paying more attention to feedback. Not the noisy nonsense which signals a microphone-speaker interface situation (or an OAP having a good old rub of their earpiece) but the ‘haptic’ feedback which involves the car telling you what to do. Granted we’ve all had cars with quirks (who didn’t enjoy the 1980s Ford keys made of pewter or Citroen’s take on the hydraulic suspension as nausea simulator) but this one takes the biscuit.

The faster you go, the harder the throttle pedal gets, forcing you to press harder to achieve ever-greater speeds. And that’s exactly what will happen as a new generation of Playstationeers invert the formula and try to figure out how to measure the highest resistance figure achievable in a 30 zone.

One can only imagine how a jerky stop-start cobbled road will affect those susceptible to a bit of vibration from below. How will Sally Traffic report the extremely slow-moving herds of Discovery Sports migrating through York’s old town?. Tremble tourism, anyone? A prize to the first collator of Britain’s Top Ten Titilation Trips; Cobbles Vs Cause-ways Vs Cattle Grids.

HAL: Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

4. How are you doing?

Your car is now about to give you a check-up. Please ensure that all tray tables are in the upright position and that your footrests are suitably adjusted. The modern Jaguar Land Rover takes care of its driver, monitoring heart beat and respiration rate to assess your suitability to drive. All you have to do is sit back and relax.

We should warn you that you may feel a bit of a prick.

At McDonald Automotive, we work on real cars, you know, the ones you need to drive and drive haaard, maaan.

If you need parts or advice for one of them, give us a call or take a look at our website www.mcdonald4x4.co.uk

But not if you’re driving a KITT car…

This article was written by Rupert Astbury.

 

Sorts of Friction

I know, you are all experts on turning fossil fuels into rooster-tails of mud in the Brecon Beacons, but for those who are interested we found this Youtube Video of the operation of a friction clutch.

It’s particularly well done, both the animation and the explanation.

And it’s better than most of TV’s output from 6 til 10…

 

If you need help with your clutch kits, let us know by calling us, emailing us or else visiting our website which has all the Land Rover Parts Online you could ever hope to buy .

 

This article was written by Rupert Astbury

 

 

From The Ground Up

 

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Attention to Detail

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Ring Fenced Funding

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Heaps of experience

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The holey land

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Thunderbirds are go!

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Sit! Roll over!

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Working on a chain gang, going down down down..

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Junk in the trunk or slurry in a hurry

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Piles of calculations

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Go on Dad, do the Follow Your Dream song again!

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…and that’s the lever for the Nitrous…

Join us next time where we’ll find out:

Will Alan still be on his knees?

Will Rupert still have a digger with a crazy itch on its PTO?

 

This article was written by Rupert Astbury.

 

If you need an MOT for your car, van, Land Rover or Range Rover, give us a call. From July we’ll be cutting out the VAT.

 

 

 

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

McDonald Automotive Land Rover Fire Engines

The Finest Old Ladies, headed back home to the Great Tew Estate

What a lovely pair.  We had the good fortune in April to play host to the two 109 Land Rover Series Fire Brigade vehicles, to fettle their locks and looks, accompanied by the 101 Forward Control troop carrier.

No fairer sound than their uncomplicated twin-carb V8s has graced our ramps for a while.

For as long as their purposeful grace stood between our workshop and the world, our property’s value doubled.

McDonald Automotive 109 Fire Engine

109 Truck Cab Fire Engine

The truck cab 109 is kitted out for carrying the braces of pheasants

McDonald Automotive 101 Troop Carrier

101 Forward Control Troop Carrier

whilst the 101 Troop Carrier now carries the shoot parties headed for the pheasants. Last year, we carried out a conversion of trucks and trailers for carrying the beaters, dogs and guns, hopefully we’ll see those beauties back next year.

McDonald Automotive 109 Fire Tender

109 Fire Tender

The 109 tender is the piece de resistance, though. Converted by Carmichael, they of the original 6 wheel drive Range Rover Classic, the vehicle has had the magic applied in thick layers. Featuring heated shelves and fridges for food and drinks, a radio with digital mixing deck and an espresso machine to the rear, this is the ultimate kitchen wagon.

A childhood of Matchbox toys relived.

 

If you need parts for your Land Rover conversion, or are looking for someone to do the work for you, you can give us a call on 01691 657705 or visit the website at www.mcdonald4x4.co.uk.

This article was written by Rupert Astbury

All The Gear, No Idea?

Get your Cogs round this. Britpart and LRO are teaming up to provide workshop features for the dedicated petrol-head with a muddy bent.

From technical pieces investigating how manufacturers set the gearing ratio for your vehicle to useful DIY guides on how to add accessories to your pride and joy, you can now relive the best of LRO’s articles on the Britpart website.

You can click the picture link abocve to go directly, or keep watching this space for hand-picked choices.

This week, we’ve taken a fancy to the explanation of how gearboxes, transfer boxes, over-drives and under-drives work, and how changes you make affect the vehicle.

Click here to go to the LRO workshop article pages hosted by Britpart

If you need a new gearbox you can prop into the shop (sorry) or transfer to our website www.mcdonald4x4.co.uk .

 

This article was written by Rupert Astbury.

New Vs Old

McDonald 4X4 Discovery G4

Generations of offroaders, picture courtesy of The Telegraph

British offroad veterans have told The Telegraph that they spurn the trappings of modern soft-roaders. Not that they’re rejecting climate control or multi-zone entertainment systems.

What’s at issue here is the very DNA of the vehicle. Pick any modern SUV and you’ll be swamped in a raft of acronyms which let you know that you’re in the best of hands. You don’t have to worry about going fast, or going slow, or going sideways, because #insert name here# is the only manufacturer to keep you and your loved-ones safe.

Except all this techno-wizardry comes at more than a financial cost. It may be a hoary old chestnut, but until turbo-charged engines came along, you could keep your Land Rover going on a shoe-string budget by doing most of the work yourself with the tools you had in your own garage. Even with Tdi engines, the rest of the car was mechanical (and didn’t you just know it if you ever had to push one) so bounced rather well along rutted lanes.

So when you take a Land Rover Discovery 4 for a drive, would you assume it’s natural environment would include mud, or mud packs? Is the intelligent 4 Wheel Drive system going to work this well in 15 years time? Will it do 200,000 miles? How much will it cost to fix when the super-computer in control of everything goes AWOL?

 

McDonald 4X4 JLR Urban Wnindscreen

Technology can show you the way, picture courtesy of Auto Express

And from the sub-slime to the LEDiculous. Jaguar Land Rover has conceived of a time when the computer and the car merge to the driver’s benefit in a Frankensteinian HUD-meets-HAL windscreen, where a series of cameras can be used to replace the view of the car’s internal structure, providing a 360 degree view of the outside world. How likely this is to come to fruition is debatable, as the cost of a TV unit is one thing whereas turning the inside of your car into the outside of your TV is another.

Of greatest interest and use though is the ‘urban windscreen’. Linking a projector to the internet provides a windscreen display with not only a ‘ghost-car’ navigation system but also visual prompts including available parking spaces in car parks or fuel prices at the up-coming service station.

Considering their previous concept of cameras under the body to show the state of the ground under the prodigious bonnets of Range Rovers, we can only wonder when the interior of cars will consist almost exclusively of TV Screen…

If you need parts and accessories for Landrover Defender or indeed any other Land Rover model, from in-car entertainment to air-locking diffs, you can buy Land Rover spare parts and accessories online at www.mcdonald4x4.co.uk.

 

This article was written by Rupert Astbury.

Print Your Own Land Rover

3d Printer McDonald 4X4

Your new garage?

Time and again, we’re told  that buying a brand new car is the second biggest purchase you’ll ever make. So you want to own a car, but you can’t decide which one to spend your hard-earned on? You like the look of this one but the colours of that one, the driving position of this one and the gadgets of that one. Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or all wheel drive?

What if you could have it all?

3D Printing is having a major effect on manufacturing by providing rapid access to prototypes; the sooner you can see a design in real life, the sooner you can assess it and make changes.

The benefit for Joe Bloggs is that the trickle-down effect has meant an ever-increasing supply of machines for home use, and a year-on year reduction in price. With a 3D Printer capable of creating plastic or metal alloy parts already available for under £1000 you could conceivably be replacing parts suppliers for cosmetic parts with a software program. Scan the old part, and print a new one. As the meerkat said, simples!

McDonald 4X4 Jay Leno Blog

Picture courtesy of Popular Mechanics.com

As you can see in this article in America’s Popular Mechanics blog by Jay Leno, including the comments made by car fanatic readers, the vintage car market is already benefitting considerably from the new technology:

One of the hardships of owning an old car is rebuilding rare parts when there are simply no replacements available. My 1907 White Steamer has a feedwater heater, a part that bolts onto the cylinders. It’s made of aluminum, and over the 100-plus years it’s been in use, the metal has become so porous you can see steam and oil seeping through. I thought we could just weld it up. But it’s badly impregnated with oil and can’t be repaired. If we tried, the metal would just come apart.

So, rather than have a machinist try to copy the heater and then build it, we decided to redesign the original using our NextEngine 3D scanner and Dimension 3D printer. These incredible devices allow you to make the form you need to create almost any part. The scanner can measure about 50,000 points per second at a density of 160,000 dots per inch (dpi) to create a highly detailed digital model. The 3D printer makes an exact copy of a part in plastic, which we then send out to create a mold. Some machines can even make a replacement part in cobalt-chrome with the direct laser sintering process. Just feed a plastic wire–for a steel part you use metal wire–into the appropriate laser cutter.

As an example, see Stuff.co.nz’s story about kiwi Ivan Sentch’s project Aston Martin

Ivan Sentsch's 3d printed Aston Martin DB5

Ivan Sentsch’s 3d printed Aston Martin DB5

Using a $500 Solidoodle 3D printer, Ivan Sentch, a programmer from Auckland, is printing a mold of the the car. “I have been printing since January and I have printed about 72 per cent of everything,” Sentch said…

Once finished, he will make a fiberglass mould of the print and fit that to the engine, electrics, suspension and drivetrain of a 1993 Nissan Skyline. He will then have to build the interior. The project is a labour of love that comes second to his day job and family life and Sentch doesn’t expect to have the mould ready for another 18 months. He won’t be driving the car for another five years.

 

McDonald 4X4 3D Printed Car

The Strati 3D Printed Car, picture courtesy of The Guardian

The Strati is made by Arizona, USA company Local Motors, and although it’s an electric car, it points the way to a revolution in kit-car building.

So before long, you could see major manufacturers getting in on the game. This Autoexpress article from 2013 discusses the Urbee 3D printed car;

The first Urbee was custom printed using Fused Deposition Modelling – the spaghetti and glue gun approach – to create a honeycomb structure like a bee hive. This material was only used where necessary, giving a light, strong and green structure that performed well in a crash.

For the Urbee 2, all visible components inside and outside the vehicle will be printed in what KOR EcoLogic calls a factory of the future – a bank of printers working on 40 discreet panels, with ducting and wiring incorporated into each printed part.

Read more: http://www.dezeen.com/2013/03/07/road-ready-3d-printed-car-on-the-way/

So it seems that even if it doesn’t happen soon, it could well be worth saving up not for your dream car, but for your own factory…

This article was written by Rupert Astbury

Getting To Grip

Getting stuck in?

McDonald4X4 Differentials

Don’t fixate on the fact that you’re stuck. Stop and have a think.

Off-road driving is only possible thanks to 4 wheel drive.

McDonald4X4 Differential

Henry Alexander, Ben Nevis, Model T Ford, 1911. Nutter.

Actually, there was quite a lot of driving in the days before full-time 4 wheel drive, though you’re welcome to recreate it in your daily motor if you want. I’ll pass thanks.

Slipping around on mud is all very well, but when you start driving on tarmac, things get complicated.

The width of a vehicle means that when turning a corner, the outside wheels are always going to travel further than the inside wheels. If you don’t do something about this, the inside wheel will start to spin and you’ll crash. Or the outside wheel will start to spin and you’ll crash. Or the axle will break. And you’ll crash.

To stop all this needless crashing, those clever boffins who made cars turned to the differential. Now for the science bit.

A differential is a particular type of simple planetary gear train that has the property that the angular velocity of its carrier is the average of the angular velocities of its sun and annular gears. This is accomplished by packaging the gear train so it has a fixed carrier train ratio R = -1, which means the gears corresponding to the sun and annular gears are the same size. This can be done by engaging the planet gears of two identical and coaxial epicyclic gear trains to form a spur gear differential. Another approach is to use bevel gears for the sun and annular gears and a bevel gear as the planet, which is known as a bevel gear differential.

Definition courtesy of Wikipedia

What this really means is that you get to go round a corner without crashing; the benefits are obvious.

To put it in a modern context, ie youtube:

Video courtesy of Allegroracing

There are other options; DAF built cars as well as lorries once upon a time. Their engineering was surprising, as was their design. You did away with differentials and replaced them with CVT (Continuous Velocity Transmission) belts. The style baby got thrown out with the technical bathwater though;

McDonald 4X4 Differential

The Daf Daffodil. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.

So if you want to cover all your bases, you need a car with differentials front and back, right?

Of course, you also need to consider the trade-off of differentials, which takes us back to the problem highlighted by those brave Ladies Of The Mud at the top; if you get off the tarmac, you’re going to get stuck.

The solution was obvious. Give up on this car nonsense and stick to horses. Except there was so much money in cars, everyone kind of ignored the horse option.

You can limit the slip of the differential, which comes in handy if you want to go racing and need a little bit of slip in the corners, but more grip on entry and exit.

If things get extreme though, you need to go straight to the locking differential, as the best of both worlds.

A Differential. Exploded.

A Differential. Exploded.

If you need help getting unstuck, or if you just want to buy Land Rover parts online, visit our website www.mcdonald4x4.co.uk

 

This article was written by Rupert Astbury.