Let’s not kid ourselves, when you think of a Land Rover you think of a soccer mom running around with a coffee cup in one hand, a purse with a fluffy little dog stuffed inside of it, and a phone pressed against her ear. It’s easy to forget that Land Rover built some of the toughest trucks to go off and fight wars now that the well to do moms have taken over the brand.
This is a Land Rover Perentie, built in Australia for the Australian army by JRA. This version of the well-known Land Rover Defender 110 is got its nickname from the Perentie. A Perentie is the largest lizard that is native to the outbacks of Australia. It is easy to understand where it got its name from when you see how rugged and well-built this truck really is. It was built to take whatever the outback had to through at it.
The Land Rover Perentie
The Land Rover Perentie was built during the 1980s and 1990s and are now finishing up there service life on military duty. This Perentie went up for auction and was bought by a dealer in the United Kingdom. Then it was sold again to an excited buyer in the US.
Australian Army Land Rover
The Australian army was looking for a new light-weight vehicle when they made a contract with Land Rover to build the Defender 110. The Perentie was made longer and wider to fit a spare tire between the frame rails underneath rather than hanging off the back bumper like all other Defender 110’s.
The Land Rover was driven onto a ship along with all of the new BMWs and Audis and sailed to a port in North Carolina where it was picked up. Crazy to think that this Land Rover made it halfway around the world on one tank of diesel.
One thing Land Rover did on these vehicles was to have the frame galvanized to keep it from rusting over years of hard service. The biggest change with the Perentie was under the hood, the Rover V8 was replaced with a four-cylinder diesel engine.
The Land Rover Perentie packs an Isuzu 4BD1 3.9-liter direct injected four-cylinder motor under the hood, or bonnet as it if formal known. The little diesel puts out around 64kW (85 HP) and 270Nm (200 lb-ft) of torque.
This was enough to keep the truck crawling through any tough terrain or cruise on the interstate. A turbo variant (4BD1T) was also found in a six-wheeled version of the Perentie. The turbo raised the power output to 100kW (134 HP) and 330Nm (243 lb-ft) of torque.
It may not be the diesel we are used to, but it will get the job done.
There is a four-speed gearbox with an integrated transfer case that is in 4×4 all the time but also has select-able hi and low gears. This particular Perentie had a PTO driven winch hanging off the front. To engage the wench, select a gear and use the gas and clutch to pull yourself along.
The large hooks in the front and rear that are used for recovery as well as transport by air. On both sides of the rocker panel, they have marked the center of gravity (C/G). They have this marked so they can fix the rigging to have a helicopter lift the truck to drop it anywhere they need or they can easily lift it with a crane to load it onto a cargo ship.
Need a tug? The vehicle comes with a winch mounted on the front bumper.
On the hood there is an axe, short handle shovel, as well as a spot for a pickaxe. The tools on the hood couldn’t be imported on the truck due to international rules. So the owner has found some tools that fit, all except the special pickaxe that breaks down to fit in the factory mounts. Two five-gallon jerry cans sit on the back bumper to hold spare fuel. The new owner has them filled with water now to help smooth out the ride.
An Interior Built For War
Inside of the Perentie has the creature comforts of a cave. The Perentie was designed for military use, so driver comfort was at the bottom of the list. The seats are ok for trips around town, but a full day of driving will more than likely leave you with a good amount of back pain. The rifle rack replaces the center console, but the owner removed the rack so his chocolate lab can poke his head up front.
Creature comforts weren't on the top of the priority list for this vehicle.
There are a few things that you will never find on civilian cars, the map light is the first. Our favorite is blackout mode that kills all of the main lights. It uses special lights that are very dim and only reach 10 feet in front of the truck.
“It was a simple job to import the Land Rover, my attorney handled everything. All I really had to do was write the check and pick it up at the port,” said Owner Mike.
The back has two troop bench seats that run the full length of the bed. The only good thing that can be said about them is that they are padded, and that’s it. Ridding in the back in full gear must have been an excruciating experience. Now it is only good for packing in friends for a quick ride.
Most people walk around the Perentie a few times before they even realize that the steering wheel is on the wrong side. This Land Rover is a right-hand drive truck, like the mail jeeps that used to be all over the American roads.
Shifting gears with the left hand can be a hard thing to try and get used to doing. There is also no power steering which makes trying to park a bit of a bear. Don’t worry everyone will be watching you struggle to park because let’s be honest this Land Rover begs for attention.
All in all its a very cool truck that almost everyone loves. I’ve never driven a car or truck that gets more thumbs up and waves then this. Everyone can appreciate a truck with an axe mounted right to the hood. When you are looking for a new camping rig or just want something that will stand out from a crowd, make sure to look into importing one of these Land Rover Perentie’s here to the states.
Two five-gallon jerry cans sit on the back bumper to hold spare fuel, but the new owner has them filled with water now to help smooth out the ride.