You Know You Want To: £90K V8 Defender
Like an AMG G-Wagen, only British and better
And as the AMG G-Wagen moves steadily into quilted leather old-age there's something gratifyingly uncouth about this JE Engineering 'Zulu' Defender, bass-bin aside still keeping just enough proper off-road credibility to keep us interested. And while a G-Wagen can just about - at a pinch - cut it as everyday transport you'd still have to be pretty bloody minded and dedicated to choose it. Never mind fork out £90K on it. And for that we'd salute anyone willing to take the plunge.
If you needed any further encouragement the dealer has even put up a video focusing on the bit that really matters - the noise.
JE ENGINEERING LAND ROVER DEFENDER ZULU
Why you should: 460hp, side exhausts, snorkel and sinister black paint
Why you shouldn't: Price requires some serious denial
See the original ad here.
For me at least, the obvious answer is a resounding no.
Don't LR fit V8's themselves? Wouldn't your money be better spent asking them to build a V8 monster that's factory fresh?
Let me guess you think a Defender is cramped, noisy and has a too small a cabin? So what if you added a wider body, increased elbow, leg and head room. You might even improve NVH, refinement and comfort too. Yet still retaining the modular build and ladder chassis construction, live axles and off road ability?
Umm sounds rather like you are wanting a Discovery 1!!!!!
BTW - lack of elbow room is a good thing in the Defender, as it allows for 3 seats in the front but a narrow overall width (good for off roading). It also means as the driver you are sat right next to the window, this allows you to stick your head out when off road and easily see the front or rear wheel. This can be quite handy on certain types of terrain. Moving the seat further away from the window seriously affects this.
Twisted and JE do charge incredible prices though - Twisted diesel Defenders, while fantastic, start at £75k... Admittedly, both companies take the cars apart and rebuild them, rather than just sticking bits on.
My own has had a rebuild and tuning (by Nene Overland - a bit cheaper than JE/Twisted, and thanks to the previous owner), and on-road performs more like a Discovery in terms of refinement and cruising ability, than the Defender it's based on. However, the nice interior means that it is useless as an off-road tool: you're too busy worried about ruining the seats and carpets (rubber matting in large quantities has been purchased after I spent an entire Sunday cleaning mud out of it after a shoot recently)
I still love the idea of a supercharged V8 in a Defender. Money no object, I'd have one. JE also put the twin turbo JLR V6 (250bhp) into Defenders. Cost of engine/drivetrain conversion alone? £30k+. Ouch.
Lots of low revs burbling from the V8 just seemed a bit monotonous. I was really hoping for some serious beans going on with this soundtrack.
But then again I do drive (occasionally) a TVR V8s.
Maybe giving it the full Heinz leads to too much wheelspin (can you have too much wheelspin).