Land Rover Defender Works V8 Announced
Land Rover has gone a bit overboard in its 70th Anniversary year, producing the Defender Works V8.
As most of you probably already know, the Defender went out of production a couple of years back after many decades in service. Over the years it scored little in the way of creature comforts. Less attention was paid only to the styling, which barely changed. You can imagine the consternation in the Defender project corner every time a new homologation rule arrived in the mail. “We have to put indicators on?”
Defender Works V8
I’ve been to a few 70th birthday parties over the years, but none has been this stark raving mad. While dropping a V8 into the Defender isn’t new – the 1979 Series III Stage 1 started the trend – it’s not exactly commonplace. It’s not really part of the Defender’s charm to have a bellowing bent eight under the square-rigged bonnet.
The V8 develops a rather decent 297kW (481bhp) and 515Nm. The last Defenders to roll down the line were rather more sedate, with 90kW (145bhp) and 360Nm. Top speed wasn’t 170km/h and even if it had been, trying to hit it would have been madness. 0-60mph (98km/h) arrives in 5.7 seconds. Imagine the look on a quick 5 Series driver’s face. Ironically, you’ll both be using the same ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. The Defender even has a Sport mode. Hipsters the world over will be utterly furious.
To help tame the grunt, beefier springs, dampers and anti-roll bars help keep things on the road.
Further evidence of caution having been thrown to the wind is a distinctly un-Defender set of 18-inch diamond turned sawtooth alloys. While you can accelerate toward muddy ruts at great speed, these wheels will probably eject themselves to avoid certain ruination in the ruts.
The website says the production cars are “specially selected” but Twitter phenomenon Sniff Petrol spotted a set of partially assembled cars on a factory tour last year.
Seems these official Defender V8s will be brand new cars. When I went to see the last Defender come off the line in 2016 I spotted these new panel sets out the back of the factory and at the time I thought 'now why would they need those…?' pic.twitter.com/RkO9EnP9A5
— Sniff Petrol (@sniffpetrol) January 17, 2018
Well, turning 70 in any business is a gigantic achievement, triply so for a car maker. It’s a notoriously difficult business and Land Rover came face-to-face with ruin more than once over the years. So it’s worth celebrating, as Ferrari demonstrated last year.
The head of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, Tim Hannig, says the idea has been kicking around for a while.
“The idea of reintroducing a V8 Defender was something we were discussing as far back as 2014, when we were still building the Defender in Solihull. We knew the demand was there for a powerful and fast Defender; the Land Rover authenticity is the ultimate finishing touch for discerning clients purchasing these collector’s edition Defenders.”
Fair enough. They’ll be a collector’s item alright – just 150 will be available for purchase in either 90 or 110 versions. A 90 will cost a staggering £150,000, which will score you an Audi R8 Spyder in the UK.
If you want one, you better be quick and, basically, live in the UK. The press release carefully avoids mentioning countries outside of the kingdom except to say Middle East and North Africa region customers can grab one on a personal import basis.
If you fancy a closer look at the business producing the Defender Works V8, click here.
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Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.