Is this the ultimate ‘old-school’ Defender?

If you fancy a bit of old-school exotic off-road excitement closer to home, Land Rover is building 25 ‘adventure-ready’ re-engineered versions of its original expedition Defender.

The select group of owners of the new reborn Defender Works V8 Trophy 4X4s will also be given entry to an exclusive adventure competition at the spiritual home of Land Rover testing and development, the rugged off-road courses around Eastnor Castle near Ledbury in Herefordshire.

The project aims to recapture the essence of the original Camel Trophy trial held over two decades between 1980 and 2000 and involving mainly Land Rovers and Range Rovers in testing terrain in locations as diverse as the Amazon basin, Papua New Guinea, Siberia, Mongolia, Borneo and Australia.

Both 90 and 110 wheelbase Defender Works V8 Trophy derivatives – based on the 2012 to 2016 variants – are available now to order direct from Land Rover Classic, with prices starting at a hefty £195,000 for a compact 90 and £205,000 for the larger 110.

For that price, each of the 25 Land Rover Defender Works V8 Trophy 4X4s, fully re-engineered by Land Rover Classic from specially sourced donor 4X4s from the era, will feature a 405PS 5.0-litre petrol V8 powertrain, eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, uprated brakes and handling kit.

Buyers have a choice of Defender 90 and 110 Station Wagon body designs finished in unique Eastnor Yellow paintwork with contrasting Narvik Black on the wheel arches, bonnet and rear door, as well as body-colour heavy-duty 16-inch steel wheels.

The reborn Trophy vehicles feature a wide range of additional upgrades specifically tailored for off-road use including comprehensive uprated suspension, steering and braking packages.

The purpose-built vehicles also receive LED headlamps, a Heritage front grille and unique Land Rover Trophy badging and event participation graphics personalised to each customer.

Extra all-terrain equipment designed to tackle the most demanding endurance challenges includes a front winch, multi-point expedition cage, roof rack, underbody protection, an A-bar, raised air intake, LED spotlights and mud-terrain tyres.

Interior features include full black Windsor leather upholstery, Recaro sports seats with contrasting yellow stitching, plus a bespoke Land Rover Trophy clock face by Elliot Brown.

Land Rover Classic’s own bespoke infotainment system with integrated navigation and mobile device connectivity is also fitted.

Acceleration from rest to 60mph will be around 5.9 seconds for the 90 and 6.1 seconds for the 110, with the top speeds of both limited to around 99mph.

Both have a ground clearance of 250mm and a wading depth of 500mm.

The prices are a chunky mark-up on the 150 Land Rover 70th Anniversary Defender Works V8s of 2018 which sold for £150,000 and £160,000 respectively.

To help kick-start the new limited edition Trophy launch, racing and stunt driver Jessica Hawkins, who is also a Land Rover ambassador stars alongside 1989 Camel Trophy winner Bob Ives and others in a specially shot online video.

Land Rover Classic, with its own boutique facility on the outskirts of Coventry said: ‘We are continuing the formidable expedition legacy of the original Defender with a limited production run of adventure-ready Defender Works V8 Trophy vehicles for an exclusive competition at Eastnor Castle in 2021.’

Land Rover Classic said: ‘Later this year – and subject to Covid-19 restrictions – Defender Works V8 Trophy customers will be invited to compete in an exclusive three-day adventure at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire – the spiritual home of Land Rover all-terrain training, testing and development. This will be the first time customers drive their car.’

Once familiarised with their new vehicles at Eastnor, customers and their co-drivers will add their names and country flags to the vehicle before embarking on a range of challenges inspired by famous global adventures and competitions spanning more than seven decades of Land Rover production.

Experts will give participants one-to-one tuition to help customers gain experience in extreme driving techniques and skills in their own vehicle, before they put their training to the test.

Land Rover said: ‘Everyone will compete for a range of prizes, including a grand prize for the overall winner – to be announced later in 2021.’

A number of Camel Trophy veterans and experts – as well as 1989 event winner Bob Ives – will also be on-hand at the Land Rover Trophy to share their knowledge and experiences.

The event will also be supported by the new Defender and Land Rover partners Elliot Brown, Fat Face and Musto.

Director of Land Rover Classic Dan Pink said: ‘The Land Rover Defender has always been more than just a vehicle, its engineering capability and suitability for overland expedition and all-terrain competition means it’s renowned with getting away from it all.

‘The new Land Rover Trophy will bring this to life for a new generation of adventurers.

‘Experiences are a key part of Land Rover Classic’s DNA and this whole concept comes directly from feedback we’ve received from our customers.’

Mr Pink said: ‘We’re looking forward to an exciting and memorable event, full of camaraderie, and continuing the Land Rover Trophy legend for years to come.

‘Seeing the silhouette of these vehicles which you’ll instantly know as a Land Rover, traversing the hills at Eastnor, will be a defining moment of the adventure.’