A dual purpose Land Rover Defender specially equipped to provide not just transport for his diving and film crews, but also to serve as a mobile base camp and dive centre in remote, off-road locations.
Halls, a newly appointed Land Rover global ambassador, admitted he didn’t believe all his ambitious specifications could be met, but the specialists in Land Rover’s Engineered to Order (ETO) team have succeeded in creating a unique vehicle tailor-made to his requirements. Just as Jacques Cousteau had his trusted ship Calypso, Monty will have ideal support in the form his unique Land Rover Defender.
True to the Defender’s “above and beyond” ethos, Monty’s bespoke vehicle is packed with clever engineering and design solutions that take its functionality to a new level. His brief was for a vehicle that could support his diving and conservation expeditions – “a one-stop, go-anywhere, cope-with-anything dive centre and laboratory”.
The modifications included features specific to Monty’s work such as storage for diving air tanks, a VHF ship-to-shore-style radio, a water tank and hosing facility for cleaning kit and provisions for night working, such as external lighting.
Monty also asked for a sliding table, strong enough to bear up to 200kg and an awning to give protection from the elements. Although he himself thought this might be impossible to include, the engineering team duly delivered what he wanted. Even more challenging to achieve was his requirement to be able to attach a trailer to either side of the vehicle with a winch system for launching or landing a dinghy.
Monty is a great advocate for the brand, with years of Land Rover experience gained in the field in his earlier career as a Royal Marine, and in his current role as a popular and respected marine wildlife and conservation expert, diver, film maker and author.
He said: “I’ve had Land Rovers for years; the association goes back to my days in the Royal Marines when they were very much the vehicle of choice for doing improbable tasks over impossible terrain. After leaving the marines and getting into expeditions, it seems a natural transition to continue using Landies. I’ve had several old Defenders, a new Defender, Freelander and the new Discovery, so I am a Land Rover fan through and through.”
Although most of Monty’s exploration is beneath the waves, the all-terrain capability of a Land Rover Defender is crucial for getting him to remote locations and providing a versatile and reliable base of his work in the field.
Looking forward to his new ambassadorial role, he said: “My specialty is sea level and below, so people might think my options are limited. But the reality is we have 11,000 miles of coastline in the UK and frequently the only way to reach it is overland, taking all your equipment with you.”
Monty is already planning expeditions where his new Land Rover Defender will be set to work, including a project to monitor basking sharks off Cornwall and observing Orca whales in Norway. He explained: “The vehicle will be perfect to access high points for viewing their movements, as well as putting boats into the water in remote coves.” When he is not out in the field, Monty will also be using his new Defender as part of his regular ambassador work in his touring shows and lectures at schools and colleges.
Mark Cameron, Land Rover Brand Experience Director said: “Working with Monty on this project has provided a great opportunity to practically demonstrate the skill and flexibility of our engineers to create bespoke customer solutions. This one off interpretation of the Land Rover Defender will provide real value to Monty’s marine research projects and of course this fits very well with Land Rover’s Above and Beyond spirit.”