What Women Want

Originally Published: April 2017 Words: Mike Trott Pictures: Mike Trott
First featured in the landy, april 2017

Working out the fairer sex, particularly for some of the men out there, is no easy task. There’s no question that women are a complexity far more advanced than the average male brain can decipher, but there’s a secret to keeping her happy. Just give the lady a Defender.

Women: they’re different to men. Yes, thank you for the round of applause, but it’s not that this has only just hit me. What I’m on about is that the fairer sex is wired differently – they just have to be.near-silent operation to hit home at low speeds. 

Men are simple, our brains are simple and we haven’t really moved on that far from being primitive cavemen. That might have something to do with why we like these old and primitive Landies. A man’s brain must be basic, why do you think we just grunt at each other, eat, drink and generally prove to be inept at multitasking. 

The amount of times I see men utterly perplexed by the whole ‘pat-your-head-and-rub-your-stomach’ move is bring-me-to-my-knees funny. I would know because I’ve seen people ‘relieve’ themselves in front of me from the hilarity in front of them.

Ladies, on the other hand, they communicate with each other using something called language and are capable of discussing their feelings. 

After many years of research into this field, though, it would appear there is one thing that cannot separate a man or a woman – and that is through the yearning for a Defender.

One lady who got the urge for Solihull’s greatest export is Vikki Anderson. We actually featured her partner’s 90 last year - a yellow Goliath owned by Matt Unsworth - and he did have a small role to play in Vikki becoming a Defender diva.

Vikki elaborates: ‘We went to school together, and then when we got together, I didn’t like Land Rovers very much at first. I started driving Matt’s Defender, though, and started getting very taken with it; even doing a bit of off-roading and that.’

So the seed was planted, but while Matt may have had some influence in the shift, Vikki is very much her own woman and a Land Rover enthusiast in her own right. Her first Land Rover was a Series III, so she knows exactly how unladylike these old vehicles can be.

‘For my 21st birthday, my dad gave me some money, £2100 to do whatever I like with it,’ recalls Vikki. ‘I bought the Series III, taxed it and did it up in black. I couldn’t tow the horsebox with it, though – it really struggled. I was sat there praying it would just get up the hill in first!’

The Defender followed the Series III a mere six weeks later, so it didn’t take long before Vikki and Matt were internet shopping on exactly the same sites. Birthdays and Christmases seem to have a common theme now when it comes to the exchanging of gifts. February also marked fours years of Defender ownership for Vikki and over that period she has certainly put her own stamp on her 90.

Think of it as a bigger version of the Series III. Which reminds me of another apparent theme: Vikki likes her vehicles to be black it would seem.

Like most women, Vikki takes pride in her appearance, and the same principle has been applied to her Defender. I hear women use something called make-up? Apparently it can disguise their age and make them appear more youthful. Either way, while Vikki hasn’t leathered her 90 in foundation, the KBX front grille, LED headlights and panoramic windows from Vehicle Glazing Specialists have done a good job of concealing the 24-year-old age of the vehicle.

‘I like that it has a bit of a sporty side to it, even though it’s really practical and useful,’ explains Vikki. ‘It has a two-inch lift so I can take it most places off-road and I’m always towing with it, too.’

It’ll definitely feel like a sports and leisure vehicle from inside the cabin, as Vikki has the unusual addition of heated leather seats taken from a Mazda RX-8. There’s also a stack of gear from Raptor Engineering, such as the dash, binnacle and glove box – all helping to complete the ensemble.

The mods are just as extensive outside the vehicle too. Don’t be fooled by the metallic pink highlights, there’s more to this 90 than meets the fluttering eyelashes. The motor – which is the original 200Tdi it came with all those years ago – has been given a boost pin and silicone hoses, while the boots are Discoverer STTs with 16” Challenger rims.

QT diff guards, a NAS step, rock sliders and a new axle upfront running a 24-spline yolk (the rear’s still 12-spline) combine to make this a great Land Rover, whether for work or play. There’s even a neat side-exit exhaust.

‘With Land Rovers it’s a community and I’ll get behind the whole having a go idea,’ says Vikki. ‘I rubbed down the seat box and painted it. I also painted the chassis and I try and do as much of the maintenance work as I can. Matt does most of the really technical stuff, though.’ Well, we males have got to have some sort of purpose.

The fact it was just a regular green 90 before shows how much it has been transformed over these last few years. It’s also clear just how much these Green Ovals have gotten under Vikki’s skin, even if it doesn’t stop all the stereotyping – not that Vikki gives a toot.

‘I love the looks I get from men when I take it around off-road courses,’ laughs Vikki. ‘There’s always a bit of patronising. But I’ve got a lot of experience in my Defender now. It’s so unique and fun to drive, and I love having a little bomb around in my horse’s field!’

I’m beginning to reckon that Vikki and Matt’s driveway may be starting to resemble the Dunsfold Collection open weekend, seeing as Vikki now owns a Freelander 2 as well, which if you read last month’s issue of The Landy, you’ll know is a very good vehicle. Needless to say, Vikki’s is black and is just one of many Landies they own between them.

Given that they have a choice of Land Rovers, you won’t be surprised to hear they go off-roading together.

‘Me and Matt go out laning, just the two of us,’ says Vikki. ‘Maybe in Derbyshire or at pay-and-play sites - mine does ground out now and again compared to his though,’ she rues.

‘I do like being involved in the man squad and bashing down the stereotypes. I like to prove people wrong.’

It’s clear that Defenders aren’t just for cocks; there are genuine female enthusiasts out there and Vikki is proof that the girls know their stuff. Often more than the boys.

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