Words and images by Brett D.
GS variant – General Service used by Defence for transport of cargo and personnel.
*Galvanised steel chassis that enables Perenties to be hung from a helicopter (might come in handy one day)
*Isuzu 4BD1 engine for extra grunt and reliability. (She drives like a truck)
*Extended chassis to fit spare under the rear of the vehicle 1 tonne load capacity and 1 tonne towing capacity
*Rear tool lockers in sides
*Bonnet mounted tools
*Map light on dash
*Black out lights for convoy driving
*Rifle mounts between front seats No security – no door locks and no key for ignition – just jump in and go.
*Registered as 2 seat utility. Bench seats for 6 in the back are non-compliant.
Perentie was the name given to the project to test and select new vehicles for Defence. Land Rover won the bid with a modified 110 to meet Defence requirements. Perentie is also the largest monitor lizard/goanna in Aus.
I had been looking at reasonably new land rovers to be able to fit the doggo’s and camping gear as I was previously driving a golf and there’s not much room left after the dogs squeeze in.
I was working on a project at Puckapunyal base when the perenties came up in conversation and it seemed like the perfect idea. I did a bit of research and bought her in November 2019 at a Pickles online auction, sight unseen, direct from the army. According to her maintenance log she had been based in Townsville and was shipped to Thurgoona for sale.
She arrived on the back of a truck with the back full of bits and a little rough around the edges which was expected. The canvas was moldy, rotten and definitely not waterproof, the galvanizing was failing on the lockers, the paint was faded and there was some work to do for rego but otherwise she was in pretty good condition.
First job was installing door locks and keyed ignition. For roadworthy she needed new suspension bushes, tyres, brake pads and some other minor tinkering.
Post rego in January 2020, I have fixed the steering -replacing joints, damper, steering arm and given her a facelift with reupholstered seats, new paint job and a new canvas. Future to do list includes installing a radio, and usb/12v outlets and a secure locker. Now that she is relatively waterproof I can also tackle the little bit of rust in the floor wells.
The only downsides are it’s f…ing freezing in winter and she has the turning circle of a boat but with no power steering. I still haven’t attempted a reverse park. She is tough as nails, has proven herself to be pretty reliable and is great fun to drive, particularly off road. We certainly put the new disco’s to shame in the mud. They may be jealous of her sure footedness but the lack of creature comforts seems like it evens things out. Definitely no online buyers remorse here.