In Depth

The Works: Land Rover revives the V8 Defender

Limited-run model celebrates 70 years of the iconic off-roader

There are few cars as versatile as the Land Rover Defender. What started life as a British version of the Willys Jeep for military purposes in the late 1940s became a hit among enthusiasts for its off-roading ability. 

The Defender spawned multiple variants, ranging from extended wheelbase cars to ambulance conversions over its 68-year lifespan, before Land Rover ceased production of the off-roader in 2016.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the British icon, so Land Rover has decided to revive the Defender in the form of a special-edition performance model. 

Called the Defender Works, the limited-run off-roader is inspired by the V8 Series III Stage 1 from 1979, which also spawned the highly sought after 50th Anniversary model. 

The revived car is fitted with a 5.0-litre, naturally aspirated V8 engine that produces 399bhp and 380lb-ft of torque. According to Land Rover, the Defender Works is the most powerful car the company has ever made. 

Power is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, which helps the boxy machine surge from 0-60mph in a sports car-rivalling 5.6sec. 

Inside, the 70th anniversary model gets full Windsor leather trim that covers the Recaro sports seats, door panels and dashboard. An infotainment system with sat-nav comes as standard.

Buyers can choose from eight regular and two satin body colours, while a satin black roof and wheel arches come as standard. Bi-LED headlights also come as standard, as do exclusive 18in diamond-cut alloy wheels.

Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic chief, says: “The idea of reintroducing a V8 Defender was something we were discussing as far back as 2014.

“We knew the demand was there for a powerful and fast Defender,” he adds. “The Land Rover authenticity is the ultimate finishing touch for discerning clients purchasing these collector’s edition Defenders.”

Only 150 examples of the Defender Works are due to reach production and each one carries a price tag of £150,000. However, Land Rover Classic will sell individual parts that can be retrofitted to existing Defenders for those who miss out on the Works edition.

An all-new version of the Defender is also in the pipeline and is due to arrive in 2019. Here’s to another 70 years of the off-road icon.

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