DIY Land Rover Defender 110 Pop-top Camper

Here's how to make your own 110 Camper Pop-top conversion

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

June 22, 2014

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year
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They say that necessity is the mother of invention, in my case writing-off my TD5 90 was the cause of the need. The need for a new Defender and a new project!

After a long time looking a 110 appeared not 5 miles from me, originally a V8 powered private ambulance, time had ravaged the poor thing and my 110 had gone from this:

Before...

To this...

After, not a pretty sight

Not all bad news though, the 110's V8 heart had been ripped out and replaced with a Defender spec 200TDI, a welcome addition! The chassis had seen better days but fortunately the previous owner had already replaced the rear cross-member and the nearside bulkhead outrigger. A spare off-side outrigger was in the back alongside some bulkhead corner repair panels, all of which were needed!

Following a day's spannering the chassis was bare and another few days cutting, grinding and welding saw a solid chassis ready for painting. Once primed and painted it was time for things to start going back together.

Build

It was now that the plans for the camper conversion started to really come together; back out with the angle-grinder and the bulkhead was removed:

That's better, no more clambering over the bulkhead in order to stay dry!

And was then replaced with a home-made bulkhead bar, this allowed the removal of the full bulkhead, meaning movement between 'cab' and tub of the Defender is much easier! I can stay inside, transition from the drivers seat to the rear cab and avoid British weather.

Not quite finished...but you get the idea!

My attention now turned to the roof...yes the roof, bear with me! So the camper is being designed for 2 people and as such the simple method of a single bed between the wheelarches didn't suit. A double bed could be made to fit across the full width of the tub but this would have limited storage space to a point where the vehicle would have been far less practical.

So, as they say...the sky is the limit!

266

Commercial pop-top conversions are very costly. This one is in the order of £5500 + £1000 fitting and taxes.

I loved the idea of a pop-top conversion for the 110, I'd looked into the commercially available options but they were unfortunately prohibitively expensive. So I started to think of ways of completing the conversion myself, but without giving the permanently lifted roof look that many commercial options give.

Pferd cutting disc 100mm x 1mm

1mm cutting discs make light work of thin sheet metals, especially aluminium. A must for a project like this!

I first looked at hinging the roof along the front or the side but neither were simple and both looked like they would create a roof that leaked more than most Defenders! So I decided that splitting the roof and allowing the rear 3/4 to lift vertically would be the best solution. Giving a strong and simple solution that should be easy to seal and easy to make as well as giving a supporting frame for the double bed.

So again it was out with the angle grinder and a couple of 1mm cutting disks (if you haven't discovered these yet then FIND SOME! They are revolutionary!) and I turned a perfectly good 110 roof into...2 pieces...GULP.

Oh dear...what have I done...

This is how things look with the front 1/4 of the roof in place. My attention then turned to 10meters of steel box section, more cutting disks and a welder and I ended up with this:

The Steel Frame

This has given me 6'4" of headroom in the back that can be dropped down leaving the roof at the original height. It is on this frame at the original roof height that the double bed will fit.

And that is it for now! More updates soon!

The 110 Pop-top Camper

Fancy making your own Pop-top? Check out this thread on Lr4x4

Has this project given you an idea? Any suggestions for the build? Comment below.

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4 Comments

  1. Nice work there Harry,
    looking forward to seeing it all done and sorted.
    Cheers

  2. john macpherson says:

    I lust finished doing a similar lifting roof on my 110 – here: http://forums.lr4x4.com/index.php?s=74dcce5c74d6e21880e76890f2a03492&showtopic=85932

  3. MOB993 says:

    Exactly what I want to do with my 110!! More pics please!

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