The Land Rover Discovery, along with an Opel Movano ambulance, is now believed to be saving victims in the Donbass region.
Mission blue light, run by an aerospace engineer who wishes to remain anonymous, began with funds raised through family and friends. He then heard of an available ambulance after contacting the D3&4 owners group on Facebook.
The Discovery 3 had been grounded due to a sticking turbo actuator – a fault that usually required the body to be removed. The engineer learned how to create a rudimentary tool from a bucket handle, fixed the defect, and then purchased the vehicle.
“What made it really appealing was that it had a roof rack and a Prospeed ladder, which look like chicken teeth,” he told LRO. The rack was sold within 24 hours for almost as much as it would have cost new; the money was given to the Movano ambulance.
Both vehicles were transferred to pre-arranged Ukrainian drivers before reaching the border. The support vehicle – a second Disco 3 – brought the team back to the UK.
“We’ve all heard horror stories about D3s, so I wanted to reduce the ambulance’s risk by installing a spring suspension,” he said. He also upgraded the oil pump and installed a new timing belt – a common weakness of TDV6 engines. “Most of the corporate referrals came from companies that I was already a client of.”
A group effort
The Discovery 3 ambulance is equipped to carry up to two doctors, in addition to the driver, plus a stretcher.
Goods and services worth around £3,000 were supplied by Arkleys 4×4 (who carried out the work on the engine). Other support came from Advanced Factors (which donated the oil pump and upgraded service items), Terrafirma (spring conversion), Major Mods (vinyl packaging), Medtree (medkits and a defibrillator) and Land Rover Passion (which provided panels for attaching medical kit and an interior tailgate release cable).
“It’s one thing to build yourself a motorhome or an overlander, but the idea that it will entail a patient has created a different kind of seriousness about it.”
The conversion process was a joint effort. “I had a big BBQ, so a bunch of friends came over to do the suspension change. Everyone has been supportive, and none of the sponsors wanted to publicize it – they just want to help. It is really touching.
“But as long as the conflict is still ongoing, I think it will look a bit like a hollow victory.” There are still so many needs out there.
Mission Blue Light continues to fundraise for emergency vehicles for Ukraine. Support them JustGiving page.