Sujaan Hannan has been in the car scene for a long time now, at first by swapping cars and soon it followed to restoring some unique gems. The main limelight of his restoration ranges between his Land Rover Defender builds as none of them looks alike.
What makes you passionate about the car restoration business?
I was introduced to the concept of “car” at a very early age, when I found my father also passionate about cars and saw him working on his. Years passed by and at the age of 18 I was asked to help one of my friend sell his car. The deal happened way quicker than I could have imagined. I sold a car and earned a handsome amount of money from it which boosted my confidence and made me feel like I am capable to do more. From there I started my business of swapping cars and making trade. Soon I found myself restoring cars and since then I have fell in love with cars.
What do you like to do beside restoring cars?
Beside restoring cars, I am a huge adventure junkie. Traveling has been a very big part of my life as I build cars to prove my potential and what better way to test them than to take them on a journey with an unknown destination. I visited Sreemangal the most with my defender. Other places where I also travelled are Sylhet, Jaflong, Madhobpur, side of Sunamgonj, Baniachong(biggest village in Asia). One of the highlights of my trip has to be Bandarban with my Defender where I took it to the peak of Thanchi.
During November 2015 I was going to Thanchi from Bandarbon, while going downhill it was so steep that my brake faded and something started melting from one of my wheel due to heat. My brake stopped working properly. Unfortunately, I stopped in a place which was a remote area with weak signal. I called my technician and couldn’t even hear him properly. So I just sat there and tried to push
the car little by little. The air released from the brake and it got fixed all by itself as it cooled down. So what I learned from my mistake is to drive in gear when in downhill since it is a manual transmission. That day I still didn’t turn around but continued my journey. I didn’t want to give up.
Why did you choose to restore Defenders?
Defender is the best companion to any man with the willingness to go traveling. When I am traveling using the Defender I can differentiate it with other cars, such as the amazing suspension geometry, and great ground clearance. I find Defender is most suitable when traveling off-road.It’s a four wheel drive rugged machine. Defender 300 TDi engine is very fuel efficient and when we go off-road, 300TDi turbo diesel makes it easier to go over any barrier because of the immense torque presence just under the accelerator paddle. The suspension is better and it is easier to get grip even in mud terrain with proper tyres. No matter if it’s a mountainous or rocky or sandy location, the Defender will climb it to the top without any hesitation.
Which wheelbase do you prefer?
Defender comes in different wheelbase option as they were meant to serve different purpose back then, but over here we mostly see 90 and 110 Defender as they were more commonly produced. I am telling the difference between these two by sharing my own experience. With the 90 wheelbase, I can go anywhere I want to explore even on a 6 feet wide road. When I went to Madhobpur in Sreemangal. There was a road of 5 to 6 feet wide and when I went there with my Defender I was surprised at the smooth performance of my car whereas nobody ever drove on that road. So I realized that the short body of the Defender is in advantage for any adventurous travel. Meanwhile, 110 is suitable for family vacations as it has larger space capacity. Although personally I prefer 90 wheelbase more as they are lighter and have a better power to weight ratio making it suitable for any rock or hill climbing while easier to maneuver in a jam packed city like Dhaka.
It has been said you also have been to the Rallycross with one of your Defender. Can you tell us more about it?
Initially I had no experience with defenders so I researched n tried to learn using the internet. I researched how to fix the car, how to restore it, where to find the parts and who to call to fix the car. Eventually, I got introduced with a garage MARM in Tejgaon. So from there, I first started my restoration. I took my car for restoration over there and when I finished the job I took my Defender to go to Sreemangal. When I drove that car in the tea garden, I felt different and adventurous. The car was able to go on anywhere I put my sight on. I always used to look at videos on what a Defender can do and I was quite impressed. Hence I took it to the tea garden and I wasn’t disappointed. I drove it around there for three hours and went quite deep inside.
Every year I use to buy Defenders, so in 2016 I bought a new Defender and travelled and explored a lot of places such as Gopalgonj, Sylhet, Bandarbon and many other places.
In December 2016, it was the first rallycross in Bangladesh. Nobody ever used the Defender to race in Bangladesh and I was the first one. I restored it again by replacing the damaged parts with brand new ones and finally got into the race. I was very excited to race with a totally different car. My main goal was to just race and enjoy myself, I did not care about winning or losing. Now I did race normally but I never raced on a dirt track, on a professional level like that. Once again I was surprised at the performance of my Defender. Everyone was watching me drive and I felt quite proud. When the car got tilted on one side on the first corner I felt scared. I had a lot of adrenaline running through me but did not made me stop. I came 32 seconds slower than the champion of that year’s Rallycross, Mr. Avik Anwar in his Mitsubishi Evolution. It was one of the best days of my life and a huge achievement for me.
What is the future plan?
I bought a 110 Defender Camper and I want to make it a legit camper and it is my next project since I like traveling. I want to put up a bed, kitchen and everything necessary to travel and live in a remote area. When I bought it, I
found a generator from Hyundai company with 11horsepower, a compressor, a drill machine and a steel cutter machine. This is very rare especially the car has only travelled 8000km. I plan to take it out of the country with me to different countries just like “Vladimir and his Hummar H2”. (To read more about it collected the second issue of Turbine)
Do you have any words of advice for the readers?
I don’t have any specific words but if your hobby is travelling no matter what, Defender is your best choice. Learn more and drive where no man has been.