Land Rover Ltd Ed Defender V8 Works – 2018

Land Rover has announced a very special Limited Edition Defender V8 Works to celebrate their 70 years of manufacturing. This will be a welcome piece of news for the many fans of this Iconic vehicle, two years after ceasing production. However their is another hidden history related to this special vehicle which we re-produce here.

A rare Land Rover Defender Autobiography has been turned into the demonstrator model for the new V8 Works special edition, which has been created by the firm’s Classic division. 

Just 150 of the new vehicles will be built, with a price tag starting at £150,000 (yes £150,000) for the 90 V8 Works. Each will be powered by a naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre petrol V8 producing 405hp.

Following the announcement of the new vehicle, rumours started about where Land Rover sourced 150 Defenders for the special edition. It was initially thought that they must have been kept behind as production ended, but it then emerged that they will indeed be second-hand models that have been converted.

A car history check for Y8 WKS – the registration number of the first Defender V8 Works revealed by Land Rover – reveals it started off as a rare Autobiography model. Launched in 2015 as a flagship run-out model, the Autobiography featured duo-tone paintwork, a power upgrade to 150hp for the 2.2-litre diesel engine and a luxurious leather-trimmed cabin. With prices starting at £61,845, just 80 were produced for the UK, making them extremely desirable today. There are currently a number of examples advertised on Auto Trader with asking prices nudging £80,000.

V8 WKS, was previously registered as GY15 NDC and was advertised for sale in late 2015 with just 77 miles on the clock for £69,950. It’s not thought that it will be possible to re-register the Defenders, meaning buyers splashing out £150,000 for a V8 Works will be buying a secondhand vehicle registered in 2015 at the latest. Presumably, many will be adorned with private plates. It’s not clear also what will will happen with the odometers. Land Rover won’t be able to simply wind them back to zero.

Jaguar Land Rover’s new Classics division was launched last year at a purpose-built site at Ryton in Coventry. Its website says it’s “dedicated to preserving and restoring our motoring heritage for future generations to enjoy and cherish” – something that seems at odds with turning a rare special edition into a more common special edition. A Land Rover spokesman has confirmed that the new V8 Works Defenders are derived from existing registered models. “They will undergo essentially a nut and bolt restoration with the modifications added. So to a customer, essentially a new vehicle.” JLR Classic’s director, Tim Hannig has also stated “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.”

Land Rover aficionados will tell you that this isn’t the first Defender anniversary special edition. There was the 40th anniversary model, which was axed after just two were built (we can blame strike action at the Solihull manufacturing plant for that). Then there was the epic V8-powered 50th anniversary. And then there was the 60th anniversary SVX, which featured all of the cosmetic upgrades but no extra power for the 2.4-litre diesel Transit engine.

Land Rover’s Classic division has been to work on the 70th anniversary model, finding 150 Defenders sitting around (whether Land Rover had the foresight to hang onto them when production ended, or whether someone has been raiding the classifieds (this is pure speculation as no official announcement has been made). Each of them get a naturally-aspirated version of JLR’s 5.0-litre petrol V8 producing 405hp, along with an eight-speed ZF auto gearbox and various no-doubt much-needed upgrades to go with the power boost: upgraded suspension, beefier brakes and the like. As a result, the Defender Works V8 (to give it its official title) has 380lb ft of torque and will hit 60mph in 5.6 seconds. It will have a top speed of 106mph???.

We all know that many various aftermarket firms have tweaked the Defender, but this is the most powerful ‘official’ model ever produced.

Buyers will get a choice of 90 or 110 wheelbases, with the former starting at a whopping £150,000. They can also pick from eight standard body colours, while the interior has been upgraded with full Windsor leather trim, Recaro sports seats and an infotainment system. Yes, infotainment system in a Defender. If you can’t afford the full Works V8, Land Rover Classic will be offering a number of performance upgrades for lesser models inspired by the V8, including fast-road suspension, braking kits and power upgrades for the TDCi diesel engine.

So the much loved Iconic Defender lives on (for a while at least). One thing that can be assured, for a starting price of £150,000, we bet they will rarely go off-road, will not be the farmers and builders every day work horse, but will probably be keep wrapped in cotton wool as a future investment.

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