One of the most modified and well-travelled Land Rover Defenders in Australia, all custom built by the owner
Words by Mark Kendrick, Images by Wayne ‘Nugget’ Nielsen
Wayne is one of our regular travel contributors with over a dozen articles published so far. It all started when his wife Wendy took a shine to the look of a shorty Maverick. That was the catalyst that set the 4X4 travel bug in! This is Wayne’s second Defender, a dual-cab 110 being the first, and which replaced a thoroughly worked over supercharged Hummer H3 with six inches of lift and 35-inch tyres! Wayne has a background in machining and fabrication, and uses his skills to upgrade and personalise nearly every facet of his 4X4s. Any idea that proves itself through the rigours of touring, Wayne then markets through his company Nugget Stuff.
Wayne and wife Wendy travel together while their son Jake gets around in his own 4X4. Taking inspiration from the late great Len Beadell, remote travel is Wayne’s thing, while Wendy prefers the beach, so the compromise is to find remote waterholes! Some of Wayne and Wendy’s favourite trips have been following Len Beadell’s highways and the regions and landmarks surrounding the atomic testing of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Some other outstanding trips have been the Puntawarri Track, across the Canning and the Gibson Desert to the Eagle Highway. If it’s hard to get to, it’s on Wayne’s bucket list!
After the supercharged petrol H3, Wayne wanted a diesel. His dual-cab 110 was a step in the right direction, but a little too small to really achieve what he wanted to for his penultimate tourer build. This 2013 dual-cab chassis 130 was purchased new to be built and massaged into what Wayne imagined. The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel runs on the smell of an oily rag and has just enough performance to climb sand dunes without too much strain and handles the blacktop at 110km/h reliably.
Wayne didn’t keep the slate blank for very long. Wayne fitted a Safari snorkel and later on built his own Nugget Stuff brand air filter housing to fix the sealing problem on the 2.2-litre Defender airbox, and fitted a Donaldson Informer Gauge to keep an eye on filter condition without disturbing seals to visually check on trips. From Alisport in the UK, a new alloy radiator header tank and intercooler were purchased, with silicone hoses linking everything together. Breathers for the gearbox, transfer and diffs were fitted using a kit he developed for Nugget Stuff. Any desert traveller seeks longer range – Wayne is no different. Mulgo sill tanks totalling 100 litres supplements the factory 75-litre tank.
The 130 came with fairly heavy twinned coil springs in the rear, which didn’t suit Wayne’s load and comfort desires. To remedy this, Kings Springs were matched to the loaded weight and lift desire, while Superior Engineering remote reservoir shock absorbers were used to control the suspension. Being remote reservoir, the front shock towers had to be replaced with heavy-duty tubular towers and the rear upper mounts converted to pin from eye mounts too. The traction package is rounded out with TJM Pro Lockers front and rear with air supplied by an ARB twin compressor.
Wayne loves fabrication, and has built the bull bar himself, which houses a 9500lb winch and incorporates the front recovery hooks. Protection extends around the Defender with self-fabricated rock sliders protecting the sills too, with personalisation in the form of Defender motifs in key locations. Did we mention this 130 is Wayne’s penultimate tourer build? We hear there’s a bright blue Oka in the Nugget Stuff driveway now…