Back to the Table of Contents

Please be aware that ECR is now a Defender repair and modification shop only.
We no longer work on Range Rovers, Discos or Series Rovers.
These pages are from work we did in the past and left up for your enjoyment.

1975 101 Forward Control, GS (General Service) 12 volt, LHD
AA yellow paint, custom safari cage and more!
(To see a photo gallery of the completed 101 Go Here)

This ultra low mileage 101 is in for a round of upgrades and custom work to make it the premiere beach cruiser for its new owner. The 101 will be getting a AA Yellow paint scheme along with some larger tires, an updated sound system, a full custom safari cage as well as on board air and updates like inertia seat belts and more!

This image shows a good "before" shot of the 101, and its soft top. This military top will be removed and once the custom safari cage is built we'll have a new custom black top made width large side windows and a lot of custom tricks, but the first step is to tear it down and get thing into the paint dept. for epoxy priming and painting in Rover AA yellow. To see some more "before"pictures of this 101 go here.

As the 101 comes apart, you can see just how much these military vehicles break apart, for both easy service and shipping. Here you can see we have removed as much as possible for painting, that way the removed pieces will get better paint coverage with no tape lines and better looking paint job.

The cab area is also being taken apart. We'll be building in new speaker enclosures as well as updating the seats, seat belts and installing a new CD sound system.

The engine and gearbox are in great shape. All we have to do here is makes sure that all the rubber hoses are in good shape and do some cleaning up and some updates and the 101 will be good to go mechanically. We'll also be replacing some of the rubber pieces that can dry rot and crack after 27 years of sitting inside (coolant hoses, etc) those items are done to make sure the 101 stays reliable long term.

Now stripped of the take off panels the 101 will start to get the frame mounted safari cage system designed and built, and then its off to the paint bay for Rhino lining of the rear body and the AA yellow paint.

This image shows the first step in the paint process. Unfortunately the military paint is really cheap stuff, so you can't spray todays modern epoxy paints over it, or it will lift and peel in just a few months, so that means stripping the 101 panels back to bare alloy. The rear area of the 101 will also be stripped, as Rhino Lining is only as good as the paint it is stuck to, so off the paint comes. Fortunately this little used 101 only has 1 layer of military green and one layer of tan (both sprayed), so stripping isn't as bad as it could be in a typical 12 layer, brushed on military paint job.

Slowly but surely we work down to bare alloy, its a messy job, but the results will be worth the effort. Here you can see the nose section nearly ready for primer. Once everything is stripped we'll lay on 3 coats of PPG epoxy primer, but that will happen after the safari cage fabrication is complete.

Pieces, pieces and more pieces! Each part of the 101 has now been fully stripped so that the new AA Yellow paint will adhere correctly and batch by batch these small pieces are becoming AA Yellow for the project. In this image you can see one such batch of small parts that are now fully painted and ready to assemble. You can also see the driver's door has been fully stripped and is ready for epoxy primers and then AA Yellow top coat.

Stripping and prep on the main body continues and it is nearly ready for primer.

Here you can see more batches of AA Yellow parts coming out of our spray/ bake booth, ready for assembly onto the 101.

Now that all the parts that we could take off have been painted AA Yellow, and the main body of the 101 has been nearly fully stripped down, ready for paint and Rhino-Lining, we have moved the 101 back to the fabrication side of ECR where we are starting on on the frame mounting points for the safari cage. In the image above you can see that we have fabricated a bracket that ties directly into the rear crossmember and wraps around the rear bumper to give us a solid frame mounted tie in points for the cage. The cage will be bolted in place so that it can be removed in the future if need be, thus keeping all the flexibility of the 101 platform (soft top, no top, no cage, full cage, etc.).

Working closely with the customer to make sure all his needs for the 101 are met, we went through numerous changes to get everything just right with the look and functionality of the 101. The image above is a copy of one of our faxes to the customer showing the basic overall design of the safari cage and how that will look with the updated soft top. Once all the refinements are made, these basic drawings are then given to the ECR fabricators to make the dream a reality. When we say, "If you can dream it up, we can build it." We mean it.

Under the dash of the 101 still has to be prep'd for paint, but we needed to get the frame mounted safari cage points fabricated first. In the upper left you can see the new bracket we have made that will be the foot of the front hoop on the cage. This 3/16" steel bracket will continue down the bulkhead and into the frame outrigger for strength. Once completed it will be fully epoxy primed and painted in black, and as the mounts are well hidden under the dash, you'll never even know they are there. The entire cage will be a bolt in/ bolt out system, so no goofy modifications, or problems in servicing any aspect of the 101 will pop up down the road.

This image shows the same area, but outside the Rover. The safari cage front hoop will tie into this area and with the strong brackets behind it, will be ready in case the worst ever happens, and even if the worst never does happen, it will be tough enough to withstand years of loading up the top of the 101 with boards, bikes, kayaks, or whatever!

Here you can see that we have loosely set up the hoop set on the Rover to use it as a guide to make sure the safari cage is correct. The 101 is at least starting to look like a 101 again, after many weeks of stripping off nasty military paint.

Inside the 101 we have now completed the paint strip down. Now we'll move on to making the needed metal work changes, such as stereo locations, mounts for the Defender 90 seats, and such so that when the final paint does get put on, we won't have to do any cutting or changes to the fresh paint.

This image shows a few of the already finished AA Yellow panels on the 101. This gives you a rough idea of just how cool this 101 will be once all the fabrication and paint work is done. Next we'll move on to making the 3 main hoops for the cage and then getting the cage fitted to the Rover. Then we'll make the seat bases for the 4 jump seats that will be in the back of the 101. Then it is off the the Rhino-liner shop (just down the road) for the heavy duty coatings that will protect the rear bed.

The safari cage of the 101 starts off as straight sections of 2" 120 wall seamless tube. We then bend the main hoops and get them ready for tack welding to the body supports. This image shows the front hoop, with a total of 4 bends on this hoop the set up is critical and everything must be measured just right to make the cage look correct, and the other hoops must match it exactly. When your math teacher said you'd actually would use geometry some day, they were right! All of our fabrication and bending work is done in house, here at ECR.

The front hoop is then installed, and the second and third hoops are fabricated and installed. Each hoop is directly mounted to the chassis of the 101 for strength and support. Once the hoops are in place it is time for the cross bars and the upper sections.

The rear section of the cage starts to take shape as we install the top cross bar and make the mounts that mate the rear section to the front section. The cage is made in 2 sections so that it can be easily removed for service, or to change the look of the 101.

In this image you can see the middle and rear hoops. These are frame mounted, and in the rear we made the frame's rear cross member stronger to support the cage in case of the worst. Next we'll connect the front hoop. weld on the tabs for the driving lights and finish the rear section. Then the cage will be removed and fully tig welded before being prep'd and painted in a satin black.

These images show the completed fabrication of the safari cage. We'll add the swing away rear tire carrier later as well as some more tie down points, but for now the heavy fabrication on the 101 is done, and we'll remove the cage and get the 101 back into ECR's spray booth and get the exterior painted in the correct AA Yellow.

Here you can see we have removed the front section of the safari cage and fully tig welded all the seams. The cage section swill now be prep'd for epoxy primer and then painted in satin black for a very "Defender" look to this awesome 101.

This image shows the 101's main body just after the last coat of AA Yellow. We'll pull all the tape and move it out of the spray booth and now we can really start to put the 101 together. There is still lots to do (winch mount, stereo system, etc) but the 101 is coming together nicely and will certainly be a one of a kind ECR creation.

Here you can see the 101 just back from the Rhino-Liner.

They have coated the entire rear cargo area as well as the back sides of the side panels and the front floors so that the 101 will stand up to heavy duty use in all environments, with anything being pushed, pulled or dragged across the cargo area.

This image shows the newly epoxy primed and painted rims. They were done in a medium gray to stay with the "D90" look of the 101 and fitted with 37" tires to give the 101 better highway manners. Next we'll move on to doing the front safari cage install and doing the paint detail work. The yellow overspray you see on the Rover was needed to cover up all the military green overspray that the 101 had from its military days so now we'll go back and detail that with chassis black.

The inner panels of the doors were also Rhino-Lined to help keep road noise down, and keep rust out of the doors. If you've driven a 101 you know that your feet touch the doors a lot, so with the ultra tough Rhino-Lining on the doors, there won't be chance of the paint wearing off for rust to occur. Front floor panels and the areas where your feet rest in the 101 were all lined as well.

Here you can see the front section of the safari cage has been epoxy primed and painted in a satin black and installed. We've also tossed on the 4 Hella 4000 lamps and started to do the final assembly on the interior. The more it comes together, the more and more it starts to look ready for the Paris-Dakar Rally!!

This image shows the 101 with all its body pieces back in place, road tested and doing great. The hoop set gets dropped on next and then we await the new custom soft top from the upholstery shop.

Here you can see we have test fit the new Warn 12,000 winch into the frame mounted winch support that we fabricated. This ultra heavy duty mount will also hold tabs for 2 Hella 4000 driving lights and 2 recovery points for helping to pull other stuck Rovers out. We've also now completed the install of the rear locker and replaced some engine oil cooler lines that had a bit of dry rot from sitting since 1975. Next the mount will be removed (it bolts on instead of being welded on in case the customer ever wants to remove it) and media blasted and then coated in epoxy primer and a satin black finish to match the safari cage.

The doors and door tops are now being assembled, and because this 101 had a proper paint job, all the rubber seals will be replaced with new units. The image above shows the RH door getting ready for bolting to the door top, and getting all new rubber seals installed. Next we'll install the doors and test fit the soft top.

Here you can see the drop sides have been installed with new rubber seals and the hoop set has been installed. We also fabricated a 2" trailer hitch receiver that bolts to the rear crossmember so that the 101 can do some towing. That piece is being painted and then will be bolted in place.

In this image you can see that the 101 is really starting to take shape. The doors are installed and so are all the other AA Yellow body trims. The additions to the wiring are being made at this time as well, and the small items that had to be removed for paint work are being put back on. We are also updating the alternator in the 101 to a high output units so that the electrical system can handle the winch and the lights, as well as the upcoming high output stereo system. You can also see in this image that the new custom soft top has been set in place.

The new top is made from a better material than the stock unit and was built in a great looking black color that makes the 101 look like the one of a kind piece that it is (unlike the army green original top that had basically no windows). The upholstery shop also made the side curtains with much bigger windows for more light inside the 101 and a more "Defender" look to this project. The windows are white because we have left the protective covering on them until the project is complete.

Here you can see the 101 in an overall shot as it is driven from the fabrication side of our facility over to the paint side. The 101 will now get the bumpers and fuel tank painted in Satin Black, then the lights, winch and stereo system will start to be installed for the final time. Once the paint work is done we'll install the soft top (its just set on there at this time) and get ready for some road tests and start to button up the interior.

Now that the top has been test fit and we know that all the system are working correctly, we have painted the bumpers on the 101 in black and can now finish up the rear safari cage section. To handle the 37" spare tire (it is now too big for the stock location) we fabricated this swing away tire carrier for the back of the 101. That will give easy access to the tire if needed, as well as giving more interior space for gear or people.

Here you can see the tire carrier in the closed position. It swings easily and has a simple latch system for long term trouble free service, and is out of the way. The carrier utilizes a bumper system so that it won't cause any rattles as the 101 goes down the road. The carrier unit also has a foot plate at the bottom of the tire to support the weight of the 37" tire when you put it on the carrier. Any of you who have lifted a 37" tire will know why we did that... these are really heavy units when combined with the steel heavy duty rim.

Here you can see a couple of images of the rear of the 101. Notice that the swing away tire carrier is now painted and installed, as is the rear section of the safari cage. Look closely and you'll also spot the 2" receiver set up for towing trailers and that details like the mud flaps and rear twin bulb work light have been installed.

In the front of the 101 the Warn 12,000 winch has now been installed, as have 2 heavy duty recovery ECR ROX points. The Hella 4000 driving lights are now being installed in the newly painted bolt on winch mount system.

Here you can see the 101 really looking together. The small details like wipers, new anti-burst door latches and more are all in place and working great. Next we move on to installing the rear seat/ storage system and the high end stereo.

To ride in comfort in the 101 we have installed seats from a Defender 90 so that the owner will have the safety of a high-back seat and more comfort, as well as a sliding seat track to allow for comfort with different sized drivers. We have also installed inertia shoulder seat belts in the 101, again for added safety and comfort. In this photo you can also see her anti-burst door latches installed. Unlike a stock 101 you can easily close and lock the doors on this version.

The sound system in this 101 will have everything from 2 subs, XM radio, CD changer and even an iPod dock for paying music from the owner's iPod directly through the Sony Xpold sound system. IN the image above you can see up behind the RH dashboard. The cross overs for the front speakers are hidden here, but this still allows easy access to them for service. Here you can also see the extent of an ECR paint job. This is up under the dash, do you see any bad looking paint or any of the old green color?

To house the front speakers we have fabricated a new alloy kick panel for the 101. These stay out of the way of the driver and passenger's feet, but allow us to mount the speakers in a good location for sound distribution. The panels and the brackets are shown here in our paint booth ready for epoxy primer and numerous coats of AA Yellow paint to match the Rover. Once installed they will look like they were a factory piece, but of course a 101 never had any sound system.

The rear speaker locations in the 101 needed a totally custom housing. There is no place in the back of a 101 for anything other than military troops. So to house the speakers and the cross overs we fabricated these alloy boxes that will sit at each rear corner, but still allow the factory grab handles that help you get in and out of the back to work correctly. These mounts will now be sent to our in house paint department for priming and painting in AA Yellow.

The project continues on this page:
101 Forward Control PAGE 2