This Land Rover Defender came to us used. Really well used!

With a wish list and brief which was almost beyond belief, this was to be one of the most challenging builds to date….

Read about this extraordinary challenge for an ‘on location’ film maker.

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Monday - Friday: 8.30am - 5.30pm

Dormobile Ltd, 36 Romsey Road
Lyndhurst, Hampshire SO43 7AR


The Beginning. An old blank canvas.

This Land Rover Defender came to us used, really well used!

The exterior pointed to a past life as an ex-commercial utility vehicle. Those stand-out roller shutters used to provide easy access to tools while some poor soul was freezing to death halfway up a mountain somewhere, fixing telegraph poles (or something).

But the tatty roof tent on the aluminium roof rack gave clues to its more recent history.

This was already an adventure vehicle…a much loved and well used one.

When we opened up the rear door, the reality of the task in hand hit home. It was jam-packed with camping gear, shoddy electrics, torn upholstery and scuffed and scraped on every single surface.

“How the heck do we turn this into that?!”

This was likely our first response.

The client didn’t want just any camper…..they wanted something really, really, (and one more time for emphasis) really special.

So, onto the brief.

“You want what now?!”

We cannot overstate the sorry condition of the interior, so we will let the pictures do the talking.

What was in there, from diesel heater to inverter didn’t work, or was unsafe. The client wanted absolutely everything too.

Here’s an abbreviated list;

  • gas hob
  • powered water / wheel arch tank
  • shower head tap
  • 230v hook up
  • leisure battery
  • solar panel
  • inverter
  • microwave to work off grid (yes, we know!)
  • hot water sink
  • pop top roof
  • double bed and mattress in the roof
  • bench seat to rear sleeping 2
  • front passenger swivel seat
  • safe
  • cubby box
  • awning
  • front roof rack fabricated from existing
  • exterior tables on both sides
  • fuel tank racking
  • exterior storage and electrics
  • …lots and lots of complex electrics.

"That's a bit of a head scratcher"

Most camper conversions will have 230 volt mains hook up, 1 Leisure battery (possibly with solar), some simple LED lighting and maybe an inverter to power small-drain home electricals. Not this build!

The client wanted; 230 volt mains hook up, Leisure battery, trickle charge solar panel with bluetooth MPPT, 1500 watt inverter, awning light, interior strip lights x 3 including 1 in roof cap, 2 x spots switchable from white to red, USB’s x 8, 3 pin x 4, European x 1, cigar socket x 2, 4 x 1080p cameras, 1TB DVR, engine cut off switch, water heater, fridge, 4 x front mounted spots, 1 x rear work-light, and, yes, we think that’s about it!

Needless to say, Paul S, our auto-electrician had wiring looms upon wiring looms running the length of the vehicle, all of which ended up neatly and safely housed in one of the rear lockers.

The client was a filmmaker and wanted to be able to record the 4 full HD cameras all the time. Not only that, he wanted to be able to switch from camera to camera from buttons mounted on the dash.

What Paul did in this vehicle was a work of art!

Fabrication, fabrication and more fabrication

The fabrication on this vehicle is like nothing else out there. That’s because there isn’t anything else out there that matched our client’s imagination.  Luckily, our other Paul, (H), was more than a match for the increasingly flamboyant requests.

Let’s just point out that we could have said, no at any point, and on occassion we had to. But for the most part, we had a chat, put our heads together, and Paul made it happen. There was welding aplenty, rolling, folding, welding (again) until the job was done.

So, where to begin with this? Front to back? OK let’s go!

  • Customer wanted us to cut up his existing aluminium roof rack and fabricate a front cab version.
  • Standard bulkhead removal and replacement with additional strengthening.
  • Passenger seat swivel. Throughout these blogs we won’t give away too many of our hardest earned secrets and this is one of them. A rock solid, safe, super smooth swivel hadn’t been done in a 110 before to our knowledge…but it has now!
  • Near side exterior table mounted in roller shutter ingress.
  • Driver’s side folding exterior table mounted in roller shutter ingress. The fold allows easy access to the hob and sink. the sink was fitted with a shower extender to reach outside.
  • Terrafirma lockers with sliding draws for portable hobs & bespoke storage for gas canisters.
  • Storage containers on rear panel. Ideal for cutlery, pots, pans etc.
  • Awning mounts specially made to work with the pop top roof.
  • Rear scooter mount. (Uh huh!)
  • Rear rack above spare wheel.
  • There is more…but we are running out of space!

"Without doubt, the coolest vehicle on the ferry, by 4.3 trillion miles"

The above quote was a WhatsApp exchange with the client as he prepared to head into Europe.

The absolute best thing about this conversion is that it was made to be used AND loved.

The “Mad Max” Land Rover Defender Dormobile conversion was last seen somewhere near the Pyrenees, turning heads as she thundered past.


Go on, take a look at the finished 'Mad Max' Dormobile!