Words & Images Andrew Middleton
For some, chucking a mat on the ground beneath the stars is enough, but Eddie Visser and his wife couldn’t be bothered with that level of slumming. They prefer a bit of the good life while camping, so a solution for comfort on the move was needed.
Who better to help plan that solution than lifelong friend Freddie van Wyk, with whom he had travelled all over southern Africa? And this was the very same Freddie who’d been responsible for the unique Club Cab Land Rover Defender featured in the November 2015 issue of SA4x4 – a man with a massive workshop in Stellenbosch, full of work in progress.
- First-off, this was going to be a Land-Rover-based camper, since Freddie is a self confessed Landy fanatic.
- Eddie is a structural engineer, which is part of the reason why a simple rooftop tent set-up was ruled out of the luxury picture he had in mind.
- Both Freddie and Eddie still work full-time, and needed a weekend hobby, so the idea of a unique camper began to take shape.
After three years’ worth of Saturday work, along with plenty of blood and sweat, this particular build is nearing completion. No surprise that it’s similar to Freddie’s own extended Landy, ready to travel Africa with it in the near future.
The initial order of business for Eddie was to purchase the vehicle − an old 2005 TD5 Defender, which, according to the previous owner, had been ‘chipped’ for more power. The vehicle was stripped to its bare skeleton so that work could start on the chassis. This was lengthened to Defender 130 specifications, but that wasn’t the end of it.
To support the camper section, an extra 270mm custom sub-frame needed to be fabricated in the garage, which was then welded to the back, before the entire re-modelled chassis was sent off to be galvanised to protect it from rust.
Part of the reason for extending the chassis but not the sub-frame was to create an extra space behind the driver and passenger in order to fit things in − like a fridge and other comforts.