The Land Rover Defender can define its roots as early as 1948 with even the Series I finding inspiration from the immensely capable Willys Jeep. For over half a century, the Defender as it would become known in the 1980s offered an affordable, reliable and overwhelmingly capable all-purpose vehicle. With a multitude of variants, the platform was modified and used extensively by a host of services, including an armoured version for use by the Police, an ambulance conversion and even a 6x6 variant for the fire brigade.
Built for a continuous run of 67 years, production ceased in January 2016 after more than 2 million Land Rover Series & Defender models had been built. For much of its lifespan, the Defender was offered with quite humble powerplants, although a V8 was offered until 1998 with just 184bhp. Due to its popularity, several aftermarket options were available to those seeking more power from the likes of Bowler, Twisted and J.E. Engineering.
To highlight the end of the original Land Rover Defender production run and the brands 70th anniversary, Land Rover produced 150 examples of the V8 Works. With the introduction in recent years of the Land Rover Classic program, the manufacturer has been committed to the restoration of their models, re-engineering and offering upgrades for existing models.
The V8 Works 70th Anniversary marks the first use of a V8 in a Defender since 1998. In order to produce the 150 examples after the production run had finished, Land Rover sourced low mileage and unsold examples from within the dealership network.
The donor vehicles were stripped back by Land Rover Classic and re-engineered to support the new powerplant. The 5.0 naturally aspirated V8 is paired with the marque’s 8-speed ZF gearbox affording a greater level of comfort and convenience at all speeds. Power stands at 400bhp and torque at 380lb-ft a healthy chunk more than the now-retired standard cars 120bhp!
The 70th Anniversary sees a number of chassis and driveline revisions in addition to the updated drivetrain. The dual-speed transfer box with automatic torque biasing central differential can shift up to 90% of torque to the front or rear axle as required. The new 18” wheels and all-terrain tyres help deploy the power, whilst the Defender sees upgraded brakes, improved springs, dampers and anti-roll bars.
This example is offered in Bering Grey, a colour launched with the 70th Anniversary that takes a blueish tint in direct sunlight over the most recent Orkney Grey. All 70ths see their front grille, roof and wheel arches painted in contrasting Santorini Black. The bonnet lettering, fuel filler cap and door handles are machined from aluminium. Inside this example features Ebony Windsor leather, upgraded Recaro sports seats and an updated Land Rover head unit. The two rear seats fold when not in use.
A fantastic celebration of one of the most iconic British cars ever built, this Defender V8 Works 70th Anniversary presents as an immensely useable proposition.
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