Landy Like Around the World

Jan 27, 2014
by Mike Levy  
 
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Landy Like Around the World

If mountain bikers use saws and other tools, it's often to create wood features in the forest. Julia Hofmann used them for a different reason, though: to finish her bachelor thesis. No, she didn't assemble a series of wooden jumps and drops for school, but rather transformed a Series 2A Land Rover into her travelling bike caravan. Simply put, the German racer built her own dream vehicle, a two-wheeler's four-wheeler that she'll use to get to riding spots the world over. Below, she tells us the story of how it all came together.





Landy Like Around the World

By Julia Hofmann





It is so cold that I can hardly feel my fingers as I turn some of the last screws into the interior of my old Land Rover. What has to be done is nearly done, and I need to finish my studies before hitting the road, but it is so tempting to load up and take off. Why am I tempted? My bachelor thesis is all about interior design in the smallest of spaces. More precisely, the inside of my Land Rover. I'm in the process of converting it into a caravan for mountain biking, a machine the will let me travel around and access the best trails in the world, but I need to finish it before I can test out my work.

Where should I start? Well, I take part in many races, lead driving technique courses, and also create videos and photo stories of all my travels - I'm on tour quite often, and I love to share my time on the road with people. Now I plan to do all of the above in my Land Rover, and I'll need to decide what to take with me and how I'm going to use the vehicle. There are a few things that a mountain biker needs: a bike (obviously), my open and full face helmets, a set of pads and all my bike clothing, spare parts and the tools to put them on, as well as the supplies that I need to feed myself. All of those get put together, photographed, and pared down as I figure out what can go and what can stay. Everyone is familiar with trying to decide what to pack for a long trip, but here it is especially demanding. Not much space is left inside my Landy, just 5.1m² and 11.5m³, and I'll also need to sleep and eat in there. There is more to this challenge than just building the vehicle, it turns out, but that's where we should head to now.

Landy Like Around the World
Landy Like Around the World

The first step was to write down my needs and wants. I needed to find out how to organize everything, and which materials I'd be using to turn my Landy into my part-time home. It all started with my sketchbook, a pencil and a few markers, with scribbling slowly turning into a defined vision of what I wanted the final product to look like. I came up with two versions: one with a single and one with a double bed, with the prior having the bike stored inside while the latter saw it on the roof. The dining room would be up front.

Landy Like Around the World

One needs accurate planes to build everything properly, with those early sketches not providing the detail needed to start cutting anything to length. When it was time to get technical, I switched to the computer. Millimeters were carefully counted, angles measured, and every detail accounted for before the plans were set in stone. The computer is far more efficient than my hand with a pencil could ever be, and it wasn't long before the plans were printed out and work could begin.

Landy Like Around the World

While many of you are likely familiar with the Land Rover name, it isn't a well known fact that hardly any of them manage to stay dry inside during a stiff downpour. There's a good chance that any Landy owner in Britain is well aware of that one, though. My goal, besides building a home on wheels, was to create one of the rare Landys that manages to be watertight. I used a lot of tape, even more gasket strip, and spent two days before I figured that I had the problem licked - my Landy was leakproof, or so I thought... Now that the truck's shell was sorted out I could move on to adding the insulation that would keep me warm at night. This was precise work, as even the smallest of gaps needed to be filled in order to keep the cold night air out.

Landy Like Around the World
Landy Like Around the World
Landy Like Around the World

Finally, the workshop was calling my name! The groundwork was done at this point, and the wood I had ordered for the interior had arrived, so it was time to fire up the circular saw and start assembling. It was amazing to see it slowly come together, with the puzzle looking more and more finished and I installed each new piece. It took weeks of work, much longer than I had originally planned for, and my life turned into a revolving schedule that consisted of the workshop, the garage, the gym, school, and maybe a quick trip out to the local trails - one has to stay fit, after all. I guess shlumping 2.75 x 1.7m plywood boards in and out of the back of the Landy certainly proved to be excellent training, though. After much measuring, sawing, milling, polishing, and drilling, everything was suddenly finished. It was like I woke up one day and all of the details big and small were done: every light was shining, the 220V socket was working, and the wall units were as solid as they'd ever be. Everything had found its place and the only left to do was put the tools away.

Julia Hofmann
Landy Like Around the World


Landy Like Around the World


Views: 45,205    Faves: 219    Comments: 47







Julia's story is interesting enough that we reached out to her in Germany with a few questions about the project. With all sorts of vehicle options out there, including 4x4 vans that you can stand up in, why did you choose to go with a Land Rover instead?

I think that it's a passion for the older Land Rovers that began at an early age. One reason is the movie 'The Gods Must be Crazy' that my brother used to watch nearly every day, and that features an old Land Rover. It's never intact during the movie, but it's also never broken. They really are one of the best off-road vehicles that have been built in the last fifty years, and it's now my mission to prove this.



How many nights have you spent in your Land Rover, and is there anything that you plan to change/update now that you've had it running for awhile?

I've spent about twenty five nights in it now, and there's a few things that I'll likely change at some point in the future. The pigeon hole at the back of the car needs handholds at the sides and better metal fittings, and a second tank or LPG system would a great addition. Also, some of the interior lighting is a bit too bright and direct, and there are a few organizational spaces that I'd change. Being able to cook outside, even in the rain, would also be great.




The relatively small space inside your vehicle has probably forced you to take on a more minimalistic approach to travel. Have you had to make a conscious decision to pack and live comfortably with less, and if so, has that been difficult at all?

Nope, it wasn't difficult to decide what to take with me and what to leave behind, probably because I've already spent so much time living out of a bag while traveling around the world.



What was the biggest challenge during the conversion?

Trying to make it waterproof... I thought that I had it, but I failed!



Have you found yourself stranded anywhere due to it breaking down? I'd imagine that you'd have to be pretty handy to be able to keep an older Land Rover running...

Yes, there have been three incidents. The first one was pretty small; I was driving in the Alps and one of the side mirrors began to wobble. I caught it just before it fell off and was able to fix it at the next rest stop. I've had more serious issues though, including with the clutch and differential. I'm very thankful to have a private emergency number that I can call and the person on the other end tells me what to do - my brother. These are some of the reasons to drive an older car, though, being able to fix it anywhere.



Will you be visiting North America in 2014?

Definitely! I will fly to California to visit Marin bikes and the Sea Otter festival, and I'd also like to head to Crankworx in Whistler as well.


Landy Like Around the World
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102 Comments

  • + 15
 That all I was thinking the whole time lol
  • + 19
 Damn, seems the competition already here. Why i only think about that too??? Dont tell my wife
  • + 5
 eclectic landlady
  • + 3
 an epic twist too classic British engineering
  • + 8
 Mehr Mädchen wie dies in Kanada bitte!
  • + 7
 1.19: Incorrect tapping technique, 2/10, pass.
  • + 16
 I'm in love! Good looking, likes camping, avid MTBer, uses power tools.. Where can I find one!?!?
  • + 51
 has to be a catch... I bet her sandwiches are awful ... -_-
  • + 2
 we were all thinking that exact same thing all the way through they cant all be hidden away we want more cool women who are into this stuff . bloody awesome truck though
  • + 0
 Looks awesome! 2 questions...
1. Is there room for one more (i.e. ME?)
2. Are you travelling to North America?

Be awesome to ride with you if you do come over here....I know how to cook and do laundry too!

Have a great Road Trip.
  • + 4
 you must be a real chick magnet with comments like that. what are you 14 years old?
  • + 2
 @Chuckbike you better never talk about my woman in that context!
[Reply]
  • + 12
 I own an 87 Defender 90. I love it to death, and I am a dyed in the wool, oil leaking, roof dripping, green bleeding Rover freak, but I would sell it and buy a Toyota to drive around the world. Because getting where you want to go is an important part of a road trip.
  • + 2
 haha very true.

On a side note, this could not be more German. "Ve are going on a very long roadtrip, ja, und first ve must re-engineer ze entire interior of ze vehicle for ze maximum spatial efficiency ja!"
[Reply]
  • + 9
 Wow. Something just unequivocally sexy about a woman that not only lives to bike, but is knowledable and handy with shop tools (and it looks like a bunch that I don't even know how to use). How hot is she!?
[Reply]
  • + 5
 There are not many things that make me feel really proud to be British these days, but one of them is the Land Rover Defender. Every time I see a wildlife documentary, or some other programme where they need a real off road vehicle, there they are. Still running since 1971 in most cases... all they've changed is the wheels and the colour! Long live the Landy!
  • + 15
 I read 70 percent of all 4x4's used in Africa are made by Toyota.
  • + 10
 yep and in aus, as much as i hate it the land cruiser is a far better vehicle
  • + 9
 This also isn't a defender. It's a Series 2.
  • + 4
 Agree with bonkywony. Hi-Lux and Landcruiser rule supreme in Africa. Especially Hi-Lux works really well on dirt tracks. 90/110 look better on Safari pics.
  • + 5
 True. There's a reason the UN stopped using Landies and switched to Landcruisers. The Landrover's selling point will always be sentimental, picture 'offroading' in your head and you'll probably see an old creaking Defender with a muddy dog in the back. The older Cruisers are becoming a classic as well but I doubt they'll ever reach Landy status.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC8YFYh-jnI

Even the queen has one, can't beat that.
  • + 1
 70% of all Land Rovers ever made are still on the road running, no other brand have this number. you dont buy a Toyota beacuse you love the car, but you certanly buy a Land Rover cause you love it. When i finish riding, there it is, my Defender 90 waiting for me i wouldn't want any other car.
  • + 1
 Unfortunately production of them wont live for much longer, that's going to stop next year because of emissions laws and that the Defender cant be updated (I imagine it could be but wouldn't be economically viable) to meet them.
  • + 1
 yeah, they are going to replace it with something free of character and fun so that it will be comfortable and handle like a sofa on pillows with fuel economy and safety and gobs of plastic crap and shiny paint on the outside. Rendering it useless offroad and virtually indistiguishable from every other Hyund-ota economy grocery getter. that way the suburbanites who change their car every 3 years will like it and buy tons of them. leaving those of us who drive or 4wds full of tools and gear through miles of muck and rock and hell looking for a decent option on the market. finding nothing, we will continue to restore ancient Rovers with thousands of dollars worth of new parts, because we wont be seen dead in a Jeep JK!
  • + 1
 RoverDover good man.
@mrsmythe. Emissions come from the engine, not the chassis. If they're killing it, it's not because of emissions. They could change the engine to one from something else in the range a lot easier than starting from scratch. Scrapping of a model is always the call of the bean counters. Obviously they haven't been getting enough beans recently. Don't get me wrong, I love the Range Sport and the Evoque, but they aren't true off the road vehicles. And don't get me started on the X-series BMWs.
  • + 0
 I think you are right they could develop a engine with better emisions it coud be hybrid or something. Land Rover doesnt belive in Defender anymore. Wrangler will be the only hardcore offroad left in the market. All they want now is to fit the car with loads of electronic so the driver only have to throttle and push a button. They need people to change car every 3 years. Defender owners tend stay with it for a long time.
  • + 1
 hate to be the one to tell you this, but wranglers are far from hardcore off road vehicules. you have to put 5 grand just to make it usable off road.
  • + 1
 Run the last Wrangler with leafsprings. Sort of cutoff period for me. Good mix of offroadabilites and wearing. The small engine plays nice with the drivetrain. New Wrangler and Def are just to finicky. Hi-Lux took place but less than stellar in sand. Had a Santana PS-10 with the 3l diesel truck engine from Iveco. This was everything the Defender should have been. Fiat killed the whole company within 2 years.
  • + 1
 @jaame as you say it comes down to the accountants. They could make it pass emissions laws, but the cost of changing mountings, gearboxes, new exhaust systems, etc, would probably push the cost above what a number of people are willing to pay and the resulting numbers that would sell would make it economically unviable. Hot Rod magazine proved with their Crusher Camaro that you can update an old car to pass emissions laws and keep it going. You only have to see their latest updates to it to see what can be done as it is now within a gnat's cock of being a 9 second car that does 17MPG (US gallons). I bet there is also some issues arising from NCAP testing and in particular the effect on pedestrians in a crash; it'd be tough to modify a Landy to reduce the effects on pedestrians in s crash
  • + 1
 RoverDover- you know it IS possible to be partial to a particular vehicle without needing to tear another one down. Especially when you need to shovel a ton of sh*t to do so. The Wrangler is a descendant of the Willys MB, and obviously they off-road quite well in 'stock' form. One doesn't need to throw $5k at one to get it dirty
  • + 1
 YoKev, sorry you got your knickers in a twist about your Wrangler not being the worlds only offroader, but a lot of people live and drive in places other than 'Merica. and dont have access to cheap gas like you do, so we dont drive Wranglers.
  • + 1
 In Europe there is a 4 cylinder diesel version but the Defender is still more economical
  • + 1
 @pedro: The VM Diesel is not more economical. Its actually more expensive to run a diesel than a basic 4 running gas. A Defender never is economical...;-)
  • + 1
 Wakaba: I meant that the Defender 2.2tdci have better fuel consumption than the Wrangler with 2.8 crd vm.
  • + 1
 RoverDover-
No where in my post did I mention owning a Wrangler.
It's interesting that because I spoke [honestly] about a particular vehicle, you ASSumed I did.
Why you chose to break out the sympathy card because you apparently pay more for fuel then I do also puzzles me, since I only responded to your statement about the Wrangler needing $5k in upgrades/mods/whatever in order to drive the thing off-road-as obviously it doesn't.
Did a big, bad, mean 'ole Wrangler steal your Barbie doll when you were younger or something?
First you concoct the story about the Jeep needing a serious cash infusion in order to be driven off-road, and now you grab a string quartet and cry about how hard you have it 'cuz the cost of fuel forces you to own a Land Rover.
FWIW, Land Rovers here are high $$$ luxury vehicles that need to tow around their own gas station(s).
While I'm not an expert on the fuel-burning habits of the Jeep Wrangler, I'm pretty safe in asserting that it gets better mileage than the vehicles your beloved Land Rover makes available to us.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 What a frackin' awesome project! Kudos to you Miss Hofmann for visualizing an awesome concept and putting in the work to create it. Cheers to many epic adventures in your custom rig!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Fond memories with 83 110:
scontent-a-ams.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/t1/426137_100710446724633_261309120_n.jpg
Grumbly V8, superb manual gearbox. 165 might not seem fast, unless you ride on a suspension that dates back to 1948. Supersmooth strombergs, maintenance intensive but very reliable if you stay on top of things. Todays Defenders are a mere shadow compared to that machine.
  • + 1
 165? my 1987 D90 barely makes 105km/h!
  • + 1
 Rover V8 with twin Strombergs and manual gearbox. 160 hp and 5500 rpm. You could go up to 165 till the float chambers of the carbs were empty. The fuel pump could not match the flow and you would drop back to 140. Would not do it often because that scenario leans out the mixture.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Best article on pinkbike ever, great interior work, I can imangine how hard was to make it, I made an structure of nautical plywood to hold 400 liters of fertilyzer in my 1987 wrangler jeep inspired 4x4. It was hell to make, took several weeks, and is nothing compared to your job on the Landy. Congrats
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Bikes and Land Rovers... the two best things in life Smile
  • + 6
 Blondes are the third!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 (British TV's) George Clarke should get Julia Hofmann and her Landy on his next series of a href="http://www.channel4.com/programmes/george-clarkes-amazing-spaces/episode-guide">Amazing Spaces/a> (brilliant program!). He's been to other parts of Europe already, so Germany should be fine, or perhaps catch Julia if she comes to England
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Wonderful marketing, for both Marin (for sponsoring a cool chick) and for Hoffman (design student). While it's super cool that she built her Landy, I could think of few better platforms. I've slept in the back of vehicles and the taller the better. Also, keeping the bike inside never works. It's always too dirty.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Why didn't she pick a bigger car? Everything she did is really nice, but she can't even put her bike in without having to remove the front wheel and turn the bars around. There are lots of cheaper cars around with probably as double as much space as she has now. Just my point.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 We should be business partners, I've never been more serious. I too have been doing the same thing from my own vehicle for the past ten years. This world needs a serious revolution. What you do I can totally relate too. Consider your creation "intellectual property" or freedom at it's best. I have spent over 180 nights living in my car doing what I love. Great minds think alike, when you make your way to Whistler lets rip a lap or two and share some ideas. Ride on.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nice build. Very appealing to the eye. Only thing I do not like is your lack of space. You did very well with what space you have though. Did you do any undercarriage storage? Undercarriage storage is a great way to utilize otherwise unused space.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Great effort,
There were two great mistakes there:
1. By the time you finish your travels you could have bought three best bikes you could imagine by saving the cost on the petrol that beast uses, "20 liters per 50 km".
2. Your fork is almost as stiff as your landy's' suspension, get it tuned.
But hey you are having fun and that is the only thing that matters. Smile loving it. I'm a landrover addict myself.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 A woman not afraid to get behind some tools and show some ingenuity, respect !
  • - 7
 get alive...
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Good luck making it leakproof Wink
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Great Work! absolutely Awesome!!!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 joining the que....wow..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I am thinking about doing this to a Caddy. Just deciding between the swb and maxi. Would prefer the small if it can all fit. Bed does fit with the seat forward. Anybody with experience with this have advice?
  • + 1
 get the maxi I've slept in my swb and it's tight wish I'd bought a maxi now
  • + 1
 Thanks, I was thinking I don't want that much room most of the time so I can sleep well some of the time. But being comfy at the end of a hard day is real nice
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nice. Uh, where's the safety glasses in the workshop? With that, could I hire you to remodel my workshop and perhaps replace the kitchen cabinets?...
  • + 4
 As a carpenter I was thinking the same thing. I always think it's funny people put ear protection on but not eye protection, it takes years of exposure to get measurable hearing loss but ony a fraction of a second to lose an eye.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 that looks amazing, I wish I had a Land Rover!
  • + 1
 No you don't. I used to be a land rover mechanic. They are pieces of shite. If you had one you'd wish you bought a Toyota
  • + 1
 fair enough! never owned one so I assumed they were quality for the price… guess not
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "The God Must Be Crazy" is one of the coolest movies ever made. I watched it countless times when I was a kid. This chick is really cool. Very interesting story.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 How the hell is the inside so tidy? Give me one week on the road and there's stuff everywhere.
  • + 2
 give my landrover 3 kms on the roads of Quebec and all the storage is empty and everything is bouncing around on the floor!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I work for Land Rover as an off road instructor and have seen a lot old converted Landies. This is a great example of a Series Land Rover, Excellent conversion good work!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 It's like Pimp My Ride but better...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Someone please clone this amazingly talented & interesting person. We need more people like in this world.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 old rovers never die!!
  • + 5
 No, but the head gaskets do, ha!
  • + 1
 you have made my day lol
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Makes me think about a project vehicle. Actually I though about converting one of those small old school house trailers into a camper/bike hauler.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I'd love to do something like this, looks awesome! Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'd have gone with a old land cruiser, landys are great if you no how to fix and maintain them. Looks like a great job. Should get her to pimp my tranny connect for summer
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Girl, you know always wear the glasses when do woodworking just for safe.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Awesome! I'm building out a e350 van for similar interest. I wish there was a look at the electrical system she is using.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 No way....this Landy is awesome.massive props
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Own a land rover and make allsorts of bits for it along with my bike... good on you...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 sick. I'd make it so you don't have to rotate the stem if the wheel's coming off anyway
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  • + 2
 Yup, just like all the rest of you fools, I'm in love.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If You're around Québec City hope to see you and Landy at World Cup Mont-Sainte-Anne!!! Enjoy the ride Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I call dibs! (Respectfully of course)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Great project, the finish looks awesome.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I call DIBS! (Respectfully of course)
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Which reminds me, I should get around to sourcing a good rack system for my westy.
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  • + 2
 fuck thats cool
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  • + 2
 Love at first sight
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  • + 1
 I think im in love..... she can fix my wagon any day!!!!
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  • + 0
 Yup she got it all! how come she is ridding alone?
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  • + 1
 Get in the line , boys
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  • + 1
 You're living my dream!
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  • + 0
 Cool.. now try again.. this time with meaning!
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  • + 1
 fuckkkk yyyyyeaaaah!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Wait, there was a Land Rover in this article?!?
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  • - 3
 No wood stove?
  • + 1
 Drive a Landy through a Canadian winter and you might think seriously about a wood stove!
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  • - 3
 Awesome video, magnificent idea and must have woman
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  • - 2
 definitely needs more evoc
[Reply]

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