WORDS: ELLIOTT HUGHES | PHOTOGRAPHY: LAND ROVER
Land Rover Classic has announced a limited-production run of 25 expedition-inspired Defenders. Called the Defender Works V8 Trophy II, the vehicles celebrate Land Rover’s heritage of global off-roading and exploration.
Each of the 25 cars will be finished in a unique camouflage referencing the 23 remote locations the Defender has conquered over the course of its seven decades of production. The camouflage finishes are inspired by locations included in The Camel Trophy, The First Overland and the G4 Challenge. Each design features the silhouette of several hidden Land Rovers for their owners to spot.
Land Rover has also confirmed that its 25 customers will be invited to test the abilities of their cars by participating in the exclusive three-day Land Rover Trophy competition. Participants will receive expert tuition ahead of competing in various points-based off-road challenges that are inspired by Land Rover’s global expeditions. The winning team will walk away with an unspecified ‘grand prize’.
The basis of the limited-edition models is the final iteration of the Defender that was produced from 2012 to 2016. The donor cars will be stripped and rebuilt by hand to an upgraded specification developed in-house by Land Rover Classic.
“The Defender has conquered terrains across the world. Our latest Defender Works V8 Trophy II honours this expedition heritage in its unique exterior design, paying homage to some of these stunning locations,” says managing director of JLR Special Vehicle Operations, Michael van der Sande.
“Each of the 25 vehicles available is a labour of love, sourced, assembled and remastered by our passionate specialist team. As well as taking delivery of a highly collectable vehicle, our owners will have the unique opportunity to put theirs to the ultimate test in a bespoke Land Rover Trophy event.”
The driving experience offers far more potency than a regular Classic Defender with the fitment of JLR’s 5.0-litre V8 engine, which is quoted at 399bhp and 380lb ft. The muscular V8’s power will be sent through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission that is controllable via Land Rover’s pistol shifter.
Additional enhancements have been made to the vehicle’s suspension, steering and braking systems, and the car will be offered in both short-wheelbase 90 and long-wheelbase 110 guises. A 110 Double Cab Pick-Up will also be available – a first for a Land Rover Trophy model.
Land Rover Classic has also revealed a host of exterior upgrades. Sawtooth 18-inch alloy wheels create a more aggressive aesthetic, complemented by a satin-black bonnet and full-width LED light bar for better visibility in off-road conditions at night.
The front of the car is characterised by a bespoke grille and protective A-frame that houses a winch so the car can haul itself free when stuck in the wilderness. At the rear, there is an added recovery point, rock sliders and an external protective roll bar. A rear ladder provides access to the roof rack, which can be used to stow off-roading essentials such as tents, fuel and supplies.
Open the driver’s door and you’re greeted with Recaro sports seats finished in plush Windsor leather with contrasting stitching. Windsor leather has also been used to upholster the dashboard, doors and headlining to ensure the interior’s atmosphere is fittingly premium.
Land Rover’s latest infotainment system constitutes another interior upgrade, and features integrated navigation and mobile-phone connectivity that brings the Classic Defender experience right up to date. A Land Rover Trophy clock face by Elliot Brown that mirrors the exterior camouflage provides a neat finishing touch. Elliot Brown will additionally supply each owner with a unique Competitor’s Edition wristwatch, and 1000 more watches inspired by the car will also be made available.
Existing Defender owners will have the chance to enhance their cars in the style of the Works V8 Trophy II later this year, following Land Rover Classic’s announcement that it will be releasing an official range of accessories.
A list price has not been specified, but you can expect it to fall around the £195,000 mark charged for the last V8 Trophy model. Prospective customers can enquire about ordering their Defender Works V8 Trophy II by heading to the Jaguar Classic website or contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.