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Driving Miss Daisy - Project Defender

The Land Rover Defender – vehicle of choice for so many of our farmers, work horse of the British landscape and cornerstone of our country’s heritage.

What better car then, to choose as our company transport? But not some bright shiny forecourt-ready specimen; instead one rescued from the front garden of a house in Manchester, leaking and lopsided, tired and redundant.

‘Daisy’ as she was quickly nicknamed, had been destined for great things. Her owners had grand plans to take a retirement road trip to the South of France, stopping en route to camp out under the stars, Daisy’s comforting bulk casting a shadow they could sit beneath as they ate, her cavernous interior storing their belongings safely. Tragically cancer put pay to their plans and instead they put her up for sale, raising much needed funeral funds by saying goodbye to their dreams.

All the more reason then, why the renovation of Daisy was a big responsibility – a legacy to her history and an investment in the future. When she came home the work ahead became clear. Wires trailed in the foot well, the roof lining was held up by a plastic chip fork, she leaked in more places than a kitchen sieve and her tyres were chafing the chassis like a full udder ready to be milked. But she started first time and ran with the throaty growl synonymous with the Defender – you could hear her coming from miles off and the sound was reassuring in its earthiness.

Driving her is a physical experience. Wrenching her in and out of gear, hoisting the handbrake till your elbow touches your ear, dancing your feet across the pedals to pump the (slightly reluctant) brake and coax the (equally belligerent) accelerator until you hit the golden speed of 50mph where she can cruise all day, barely making a dent in the tank of diesel. There’s something calming about the restriction of speed, even other road users accepting the limitations of the Defender and other TD5 owners raising a hand to acknowledge mutual respect as they pass.

And now, some two months later, Daisy has gone in for a complete makeover. She has emerged, into the baking summer sun, like a butterfly from a tired and battered chrysalis, repaired and restored, smooth and sleek, given a new lease of life and a purpose. Admittedly her new destination is more North Wales than South of France, but we hope the previous owners would appreciate her restoration and that our customers will enjoy the reassuring sight of her black and yellow body trundling up their drive. Our Agents may still need a hand to get her into gear, but it’d be shame to rid her of all her quirks!

Daisy will be making an appearance too at the shows that NFU Mutual Wrexham attend this summer, and you’re sure to see her out and about on the roads across our area – don’t forget to wave!