There and Back Again: A Rover's Tale

Posted by Muyshondt Staff on

Back in May 2017 we purchased a Land Rover 90 – technically pre-‘Defender’. In July of last year we published the first story about it. If there’s any constant in the work we undertake here, it’s that nothing good happens fast. As per usual, time is malleable, quality isn’t.

After the accident, over 1.5 years ago now, we discovered that our Land Rover was a bit of a rust onion. As we removed parts to repair damage, we found rust. So we removed those parts. And found more rust. This kept on going until we completely disassembled the truck down to the chassis. Where we found more rust.

This is in some ways both an accurate portrayal of the issue, and an overstatement. The truck did have rust, but it was not a lemon. It was just 31 years old and not as well maintained as would have been liked, and wasn’t to the level we like to do things. 

So off came each part, piece by piece, restoring where appropriate and reasonable, and replacing with new parts otherwise.

The process was painstaking. We cut out the passenger footwell and upper corners on the bulkhead, and welded in new ones, followed by an epoxy coat and primer (and soon to follow with the original Trident Green paint).

We found a completely gratuitous amount of body filler in several areas (more on that in a future entry here).



We built new wings from scratch.

We made it down to the chassis, where we found the front outriggers and rear crossmember were pickled with rust, and that the rear crossmember had been replaced once before. So we continued. We dropped the axles, removed the suspension, took off the engine and drive shafts, the exhaust, and everything else until we got down to the chassis alone. 

The outriggers were cut off with new ones welded in place, and the second rear crossmember was dissected from the chassis and replaced with the third, and last one this truck will see, welded carefully with plug welds to ensure strength. Every steel part was de-rusted with a wire wheel, rusty bolts cut off in their totality, and every little detail attended to fully.

The whole chassis was then sprayed with POR15, a rust protective coating, on the exterior and will soon be filled with cavity wax in the interior.

We’ve reached an important turning point. We have shelves filled with replacement parts we acquired along the way during disassembly, and have finally begun to put pieces back together instead of taking them apart. What started off as just minor maintenance and addition of a few comforts like air conditioning ballooned into something rather more complete.

A frame-off restoration was perhaps not the intent when we started out, but the choice is not a grey one: Either do things right, or don’t do them at all.

Over the next several months the Land Rover 90 will be re-assembled, to a condition much better than we found it in. We’re excited to get back on the road soon, and we’ll post another couple of updates along the way!

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Holsters & Sheaths

Posted by Muyshondt Staff on

We are pleased to introduce the latest edition of Muyshondt Leather Goods, and a major restock on some old classics.

We have been working on holsters for the Flieger and Beagle for well over a year. The project has been a long one – we created a simple, elegant, and durable design, cut from a single continuous piece of premium Shell Cordovan leather, a belt loop with hidden stitching, with a black liner layer to protect the Electric Torch from rubbing against any metal hardware, with lines of robust stitching on each side, an integrated flap, and finished with signed copper hardware with Muyshondt livery.

Due to the nature of this design, we must use some of the longest and thinnest pieces of Shell Cordovan available, and get extremely low yield from each piece of leather, which is most commonly used in the finest footwear worldwide. Since we started using Shell several years ago, demand has continually increased and availability has decreased. We are fortunate and grateful to be able to work with this material and are very excited to be able to bring what we feel is some of our best design in leather to you today.

More details are listed on the Beagle and Flieger Holster pages respectively. We’re open for pre-orders presently – there is a small lead time for materials and manufacturing, and we expect to deliver orders by February 2019. Preorder pricing is in effect and will rise to full retail of $325 at the end of production.

We are also very pleased to share the long-out-of-stock Aeon and Maus sheaths with you again in all versions of Shell Cordovan and kangaroo. These are in stock and available for immediate shipment.

As usual, if you have any questions or need assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Nathalie

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Vintage Aeon UV

Posted by Muyshondt Staff on

Today marks the release of a tiny batch of items from our past in conjunction with, and available exclusively through, our friends at RedBar Group.

In 2006, nearly thirteen years ago, Muyshondt was founded, and released its first product: The CR2 Ion. This design begat the Aeon Mk. I, and Aeon Mk. II that came after it.

It’s a straight forward design. A knurled body with a stowaway keyring, and an activation performed by twisting for low intensity, and twisting more for high, with constant brightness maintained across both. It defined the state of the art for its time – and served as our first platform for development and innovation in lighting that came after.

As a small point of pride for us, many of our older designs, including the CR2 Ion, Aeon, etc. still remain in regular service in owner’s hands, even after all these years.

These Electric Torches have long since gone out of production, but we did have enough parts stored to build a small handful of them, and today we release a special vintage version of an old friend, catered towards the watch enthusiast.

Using a mix of elements from the CR2 Ion and Aeon Mk. I designs, we’ve created a special, all-vintage UV Aeon, useful for charging lume, and especially so for inspecting vintage watches.

The Electric Torch comes equipped with a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides, a light engine that functions progressively by twisting, and twisting more for low and high intensity, and is built from hardcoat anodized aluminum. It produces a flood of constant-brightness ultraviolet light that lets you see things that you cannot with the unaided eye: For watches, you can see repair work on lume and dials, and for general life, you can find scorpions, spiders, and other fluorescent creatures and compounds.

These Electric Torches are being offered in partnership with our friends at RedBar Group, and come together in a package with a Vintage UV Aeon, leather sheath made from Horween Chromexcel leather, and a pack of five MPC-CR2L Power Cells, for $325.

You can read more about this special edition Electric Torch here.

They will be available tonight at RedBar New York, and you can put your name down for any extras left available after this evening by e-mailing RedBar Group.

As always, thanks for your interest in Muyshondt. We look forward to having the honor of one of our products entering your service and seeing your wrist shots!

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Weekend Projects

Posted by Enrique Muyshondt on

We’ve been working on a long-term "weekend project" here at Muyshondt that we had hoped to share somewhat earlier, but certain events caused some troublesome delays, but also led to some good opportunities to do a substantially better job.

Perfect.

In June 2017 we purchased a 1986 Land Rover Defender 90. We had spent a while looking for Defenders, and this was, without question, the one. It's a beautiful, British, green box, imported from the UK, and right-hand drive.

Fundamentally, our products are about seeing the world around you. We are all guilty of spending a bit too much time connected, and the point of the Land Rover was (and is!) to be able to see more of the world for ourselves. With visions of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains rolling through our heads, we set off.

It was in good condition overall, considering its age. It started without complaining, it drove straight, it smelled of oil, and was built like a tank. It appeared to have some rough edges – a little rust in the bulkhead corners which we thought we could eventually get patched, a few areas of galvanic corrosion, as well as a few items worse for wear from age, but nothing crazy. I had assumed that after about three months work, we’d have a good, workable adventure mobile, and set out to spruce this old workhorse up.

Problems arose pretty quickly. We ordered an air conditioning kit, which took over two months to be delivered (A common joke for Defenders without air conditioning is to just lower the windows and drive faster). When it arrived the parts included were not for the model truck we had, and we had to wait several more weeks to get the right plumbing fixtures to be able to install it in the engine compartment.

In the meantime, we gutted the vehicle internally – the headliner had had aftermarket speakers installed into it and was sagging heavily from their weight, and had developed a black “patina” from people-oil in the fabric. The previous owner in the UK had replaced the stock seats with racing-style bucket seats, which were, with difficulty, removed from the truck as well. Custom metal plates had been crudely fabricated and welded to accommodate the seat, and it was challenging to get them removed.

Racing seats:
1) Look ridiculous
2) Reduce head and leg room by inches
3) Seriously though, racing? In a Defender?

The rear seats and carpeting were pulled out completely, revealing a rear cabin that had seen some solid use doing what these old tanks are best at doing. We cleaned the carpet residue off and coated the entire rear of the truck in bed liner to give it some measure of protection and wear resistance for our activities.

Patina.
Protection

We started finding interesting “hacks” in the car when we got to the rear sliding windows – we removed them, and found that they weren’t stock parts; the previous owner had used a saw to cut slots in the panels to fit in a sloppy manner, and installed the windows aftermarket. Once removed we found uneven cuts, flashing, and general shoddiness that we had to smooth out with a file to prevent accidental cuts.

As we replaced all the lights on the outside, due to crushed and fading plastic domes, we found the vehicle was frankenwired. Switches would activate things in bizarre ways, certain lights would work, or not work, depending on which other lights were, or weren’t, turned on.

Rust. There's more where that came from.

When we finally got all of our air conditioner plumbing parts in, and started wiring it into the fusebox, we found curious issues of sorts. We hadd noticed the car was dirty on the inside when we first bought it, but didn’t really think much of it. It’s an old Land Rover. It likely got used and hadn’t seen a wash in a while, we assumed. It had a fine, uniform layer of dirt in several areas. Pulling the fusebox out, we found a relay for the wiper motor filled with water. It still worked. When we tipped it out, muddy water, similar to the color of the dirt caked in the Defender, seeped out.

Oddly enough, the relay stopped working after it leaked the water out, and was replaced.

In the Defender's defense... The muddy water had it coming.

I suspect, given the dirt on the chassis and body, that the truck at one point found itself partially submerged.

Once the installation the air conditioning unit was done (in what was supposed to be a weekend job that turned into three months due to missing parts), we decided to go and have all the glass replaced – we had purchased new windows for the entire truck from the UK, and had them tinted here in town with some amazing material that blocks something like 97% of incident heat. We loaded up everything into the back of the truck, and I started driving to the glass shop.

I made a mistake.

Installing the AC unit had required changing how the hood latched onto the body. Originally a lever release hood, We had replaced the mechanism with a cable release accessible from the cabin, as the lever release interfered with the radiator for the air conditioner. I didn’t latch the hood correctly before I left to get the glass installed.

Shellshocked View

Driving down the road at highway speed (despite jokes to the contrary, a Defender will reach 65mph. Eventually.) – the hood quite suddenly and unexpectedly ripped clean off of the front of the truck. In movies and television, the cliché is that an unlatched hood gets picked up a bit by the air, then bounces up and down a few times, before finally just being ripped off to cinematic effect. That didn’t happen.

When the hood came off it, quite luckily, hit the windshield wiper first, which has a quarter inch steel shaft that holds the wiper assembly. The wiper was lost, and the shaft for it bent and mangled, but the impact was fortuitous – it deflected the hood from the windshield, and likely prevented my death. On the way up it further hit the windshield frame, and then, in another stroke of luck, the prop (a piece of steel used normally to just keep the hood open when you’re working in the engine compartment) held strong and prevented the hood from separating completely and possibly hitting another car.

In place of that, I had the world’s worst kite.

Don't try this at home.

The hood was held aloft by the air, anchored by the prop, and spinning around in circles a few feet above my head. I immediately pulled off to the side of the highway, and when the speed got too low, the hood crashed down, smashing into the side of the truck, then into the road, making one of the worst noises I’ve ever heard in my life as the metal was dragged along the road for several feet, like an altogether more discordant and menacing version of nails on a chalkboard.

The hood was toast, but in better condition than expected, considering.

The car has been in the shop getting repaired ever since.

As a result of the accident, we found some additional issues during disassembly, and what originally was intended as a series of fixes to get back on the road quickly evolved into something more complete as we found more interesting and insidious problems to be addressed as pieces of the hull came off.

Until we meet again.

At this point, we’re working on a nearly full restoration of the Defender, with the original look and feel, but with some benefits of modernity and improvements 32 years after it was built.

What will follow is a series of occasional entries here, detailing the bits of the restoration process, both in how we got to where we are today, and new developments as the car starts slowly coming back together. I’m looking forward to sharing the story with you.

Enrique

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Aeon Mk. III Pre-order

Posted by Muyshondt Staff on

We’re excited to be bringing the Aeon Mk. III Series 2 to you today. A few notes regarding pre-orders:

  • The delivery date is an estimate. Usually we’re on time. Sometimes we’re a little early. Sometimes we’re a little late. As always, time is malleable, quality isn’t. We're working towards July 2018, and are thankful for your patience and support.
  • There may be minor changes to appearances or specifications in production, but this is unlikely.
  • Updates will be posted on Instagram Stories (instagram.com/muyshondt) and occasionally sent out by e-mail. Please follow us on Instagram to receive regular updates, and sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.
  • Need help at any time before shipping? Contact us.

All pre-orders will receive a free five-pack of MPC-CR2L Power Cells with their purchase.

Edit: This was covered some in the product pages, but it’s worth pointing out directly here, too. 

The main differences between the Series 2 and Series 1 Aeons are:

  • Knurling has been replaced with a banded grip, which was used in the Opus models previously.
  • Some tweaks have been made to the tailcap area, inside and out.
  • The Mk. III Light Engine has been replaced with the Calibre 515, which changes how the light engine handles light intensity control internally.
  • Darkwell Titanium and Relic Copper finishes, popular in the Beagle, are now available in the Aeon as well.
  • All Series 2 Electric Torches come serialized under the clip

The Aeon Mk. III S2 is intended to build on the foundation laid by its predecessor. The previous model has been widely unavailable in Titanium since 2016, and we’re excited to be bringing the Aeon back to production in its latest form. We’re also glad to be able to continue to offer the S1 model in aluminum for as long as we have inventory left available.

We appreciate your interest in Muyshondt products and are greatly looking forward to seeing what adventures you take them on soon. Thank you so much for joining us on this exciting new project - we're glad you're here!

Best, 

Nathalie

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