In 1988 saw the first build contract of the Land Rover 110 modification vehicle by JRA for the Australian Army, nicknamed the “Perentie”. The vehicles were well liked and excelled at there work, so much so that a second build contract was awarded to JRA in 1998.
Introduced in 1987 to replace the army’s aging fleet of series 2A & 3 Land Rovers, the Perentie was produced in 4×4 and 6×6 variants, all powered by the Isuzu 3.9ltr four cylinder normal aspirated diesel (4BD-1) or the turbo diesel engine (4BD-1-T) for the 6×6 trucks.
The name Perentie originates from Land Rover’s successful tender to Project Perentie, which was the official Australian Army trial to select new 1 and 2-tonne light vehicles. The origin of the name came from a large lizard species that is native to Australia.
During the Project Perentie trials the Land Rover/Isuzu 110 and 6 x 6 variants were compared against the Jeep AM10, the Mercedes-Benz 300GD and the Unimog, whilst the Toyota Land Cruiser was evaluated two years later.
Engine aside, the other major difference between a stock Land Rover Defender and the Perentie is an extra 100mm added to the width, to accommodate three soldiers sitting abreast in the cab. As standard the truck had a galvanized chassis, plus the wider chassis rails enabled the spare wheel to be slung on the underside out of sight. Another useful add on was an engine mounted air compressor supplied by Rockford 4×4.
It is believed that over 4,000 4×4’s were produced and 500 6×6 variants.
But the story does not end there, the 6×6 based truck was also adapted yet again to the LRPV (Long Range Patrol Vehicle) used by the Australian SAS, carrying a crew of three. These LRPV’s were used very successfully in the Gulf Wars of Afghanistan and Iraq as they could patrol for weeks on end without having to return to base. The LRPV’s were also updated with underside armour and suspension seating to protect the crew from mines, but with the growing problem of IED’s and roadside bombings the vehicles were eventually retired in 2008 in favour of the Nary SOV (Special Operations Vehicles) that encased the crew in armour
As of 2013 the Perenties are being demobbed and replace with Mercedes G Wagons and the recently announced Hawkei
So if you fancy a Defender with a twist and some history they are still being sold off down under … you just have to sort the shipping