The Best 4x4xFar
The best 4×4 by far is the one you have in your driveway, but it is also a slogan adopted by passionate Land Rover owners around the world. For many, the image of a Land Rover quickly conjures up thoughts of adventure in far-flung lands, as it’s common to see Land Rovers on safari on the African continent or exploring the Australian Outback. Its legendary off-road performance and storied history certainly does have an alluring appeal to it.
He Bleeds Green
Justin Monnin is one of those people that bleeds Land Rover green, with the traditional oval badge on all his many vehicles. His passion for the brand started as a child watching the Land Rover Series trucks in the Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom TV show. His latest creation is based on this ’06 Range Rover Sport HSE, which he not only uses off road to showcase his company’s products, but also as a daily driver. His little boy loves being dropped off at school in this luxurious and mean looking vehicle.
Justin started Lucky 8 Off Road Equipment in Buffalo, New York, back in 2005. The company has since become a stalwart of the Land Rover community in the United States, offering up a huge catalogue of OEM and aftermarket parts, custom vehicle builds and custom solutions to elevate the full range of Land Rover vehicles for off-road adventures. The company is a major contributor to the Land Rover community, and can be seen at nearly every major Land Rover gathering around the country each year.
The RRS is the natural evolution of vehicle builds at Lucky 8, as they’ve already tackled nearly all major models in the Land Rover lineup over the years, and have fully dialed in the off-road capability upgrades for the LR3, the close sibling to the RRS. Justin wanted the aggressive sporty looks of the RRS, with the off-road capabilities that he has already been able to squeeze out of the LR3. With this particular build he also wanted a fully streetable vehicle that could drop his kid off at school, take his wife out to a fancy restaurant, run errands for the shop and then show up at an off-road event and wheel hard, before driving back home.
So many off-road vehicle builds these days are just scatter shots of aftermarket equipment thrown at a vehicle. That approach leads to overweight vehicles that break more often, handle horribly on road and sometimes aren’t as capable off road as the stock vehicle on which they’re based. The Lucky 8 RRS is the exact opposite of this approach, with only a handful of tasteful and purposeful parts used to elevate the vehicle’s off-road prowess, it has aggressive looks, yet maintains reasonable everyday driving dynamics.
Lift & Grip
The largest difference with this RRS over a stock vehicle is the ride height and ground clearance. The adjustable airbag suspension has been retained, while giving the vehicle an extra 2.5 inches of ground clearance. The Proud Rhino Lift Kit for the RRS includes four machined aluminum rods that reposition the suspension height sensor, which provides the additional lift.
All of these components are top quality and designed to take the off-road abuses that you’d expect from a green oval badged vehicle. This lift sets the truck up at a height that is very similar to the normal off-road mode of the stock suspension, which is normally the tallest setting. This is a similar kit Lucky 8 developed for the LR3/4, but the advantage of the lower slung body and aerodynamics of the RRS make it feel more planted at highway speeds than its Land Rover brethren.
The lift kit also allows for a 33-inch tire, over the stock 29-inch tires. Only minimal rear inner fender well trimming is needed for the larger tires, as the lift and the upgraded bumper take care of the rest. The taller sidewall of the 4-inch larger tire also allows for lower tire pressures, which provides more traction off road, and the larger diameter provides a bit more ground clearance.
Most RRS come with a 19-inch wheel, which offers a dismal selection of compatible off road capable tire options. Lucky 8 offers a 18-inch steel wheel which provides the correct back spacing to accommodate a wider and taller tire, while also clearing the large disk brakes. The 18-inch steel wheel also provides a much wider selection of compatible off-road tire options, and provides strength and durability above the stock OEM wheels.
Justin is running Atturo Trail Blade MT tires, in a 33”x12.50” size, on the RRS, which offers him a good balance of off and on road performance, while still providing an aggressive look.
Armor & Recovery
A proper off-road vehicle requires protection from rock impacts and proper recovery points, for those times when you do get stuck. The Lucky 8 RRS is sporting a Proud Rhino front winch bumper, Terrafirma skid plate and Proud Rhino Rock sliders. This combination protects the vehicle’s important systems and provides solid recovery points for winch and Hi-Lift vehicle recoveries, while keeping the added weight to a minimum.
The Proud Rhino winch bumper is designed specifically for the RRS. It works well with the body lines on the truck, sticks out no more than the stock bumper and increases the vehicle’s approach angle, due to the removal of the lower valance. The key to a quality bumper, besides overall functionality, is the quality details that elevate the user experience. This bumper features magnetic holders for swivel recovery rings, which keep the rings quite even when bouncing down the roughest road, and a boxed-in section designed to hold and protect the front air suspension valve block. The valve block, usually located just behind the inner fender well plastic guard, is a vulnerable component in the stock location on the RRS.
The RRS Proud Rhino bumper provides a home for a RED Winches Explorer 10K winch and four Baja Designs LED lights. The RED Explorer winch has a line speed of 62 feet per minute, which is just shy of twice the speed of a Warn Zeon, offers an air free spool and brake, and is CNCed from heat treated aluminum.
The winch system is finished off with a Lucky 8 orange 100-foot Bubba Rope Winch Line, Factor 55 Tapered Fairlead and Factor 55 Ultra Hook. There are two Baja Designs Squadron Sport combo lens LED lights in the bumper, and two Baja Designs XL Pros on the radiator guard. This lighting combo provides a wide range of light that is perfect for the tight twisty East Coast trails that Justin regularly drives.
The Terra firma skid plate and Proud Rhino Rock Sliders round out the vehicle protection package. The skid plate is a thick aluminum construction, which protects the lower motor, oil pan and front differential. The RRS comes with stock skid plates, but they can’t handle serious off-road abuse.
The Proud Rhino Rock Sliders are specifically designed for the RRS and protect the extremely vulnerable, low hanging, air suspension compressor with a built in cradle that retains the factory compressor case, keeping noise levels down. The sliders also work with the “AMK update” compressor replacement upgrade, and are mounted to both the frame and lower part of the sill. This creates a very robust slider that not only protects the body and allows for an off-road pivot point, but also retains the lower plastic trim on the body, which keeps the vehicle looking sharp.
A Front Runner Slimline II roof rack tops off the Lucky 8 RRS build, providing a durable modular design that allows for easy addition of a plethora of accessories. Its main purpose is to carry the oversized spare tire, but also offers up a place to carry extra water, extra fuel and a set of TRED Pro traction ladders. The rack also matches the lines of the vehicle extremely well, which helps retain the RRS’s aggressive styling and good looks.
Off & On Road
You’re sure to see the Lucky 8 RRS at all sorts of off-road and Land Rover events across the country, and on the streets of Buffalo, New York. Justin has done an amazing job at creating a quality vehicle package for the Range Rover Sport that blends the refined aggressive on road look and feel of the vehicle with the off-road capabilities that Land Rovers are known for. The best 4×4 by far? You be the judge.
Lucky 8 Off Road 2006 RRS
2.5” Proud Rhino Lift Kit
Wheels & Tires:
18” Steel Lucky 8 Wheels wrapped
in Atturo Trail Blade MT (33×12.50) Tires
Proud Rhino Front Winch Bumper, Terra Firma Skid Plate, Proud Rhino Rock Sliders
Red Winches Explorer 10K Winch, Lucky 8 Orange 100’ Bubba Rope Winch Line, Factor 55 Tapered Fairlead, Factor 55 Ultra Hood, TRED Pro
2 Baja Designs Squadron Sport w/Combo Lens, 2 Baja Designs XL Pros
Front Runner Slim Line II Roof Rack, Front Runner Double Jerry Can Holder, Front Runner Roof Rack Spare Tire Carrier, Land Rover Front & Rear Light Guards, ARB 50qt Fridge, Pelican Cases, Gap Diagnostics IID Tool & App, Graphics by 716 Design