Truth be told, ‘Defender V8 Trophy II’ conjured up images of a new Defender V8 given the full rally raid overhaul. No, there isn’t the motorsport heritage to tap into and, yes, it would cost as much as a helicopter, but a new Defender Trophy would make a nice pair with the 25 cars first announced 18 months ago.
Alas, no. Defender V8 Trophy II is a lot like what went before, which will sound like great news to anyone who missed out in 2021, and a little strange to those wondering why Land Rover Classic is still making £200k new (old) Defenders. Clearly the restomod game still has some life in it for the manufacturer's icon, even with the Works V8 cars that preceded the Trophy and the glut of tuning specialists out there.
To the matter at hand. As before, this Defender Trophy makes 405hp and 379lb ft from a 5.0-litre V8, mated to the eight-speed automatic gearbox. No official performance figures have been issued, though given the 2018 Works V8 could reach 60mph in less than six seconds we’d expect similar speed from Trophy II. And similarly white knuckles from anyone holding on at the time. That said Land Rover Classic is promising a ‘comprehensive rebuild’ for each car, with improvements to the brakes, steering and suspension to best manage that power.
The Trophy will still off-road like a Defender, too, with 500mm of wading depth, an external roll bar, a winch, an expedition roof rack and even an LED light bar. Land Rover is keen to show off the off-road potential and heritage with the camouflage livery for the Trophy II, which includes 23 locations that ‘have played a part in Land Rover’s illustrious off-roading and exploration adventures over more than 70 years.’ So that’s Camel Trophy, G4 Challenge, The First Overland and so on. As with the 2021 Trophy - noticing the theme? - buyers of the Trophy II will be invited to take part in a three-day off-road competition with their cars and fellow customers.
In fact, the biggest difference for the second Trophy will be the availability of a 110 Double Cab pickup model for full Baja kudos. And, all cynicism aside for a sec, a V8 Trophy pickup does sound pretty cool. Which Land Rover is banking on, of course, as just five of those will be built alongside 10 of the 90 bodystyle and another 10 of the bigger 110 Station Wagons. As you might expect, all will be built from 2012-16 Defenders sourced and rebuilt by Classic, with an interior overhaul that includes leather Recaros, an upgraded infotainment system and an Elliot Brown clock (with a watch for the owner, too).
So it’s the same again but ever so slightly different for the Defender Trophy II; if people want them and are going to buy them, then why not? With prices starting at £225,000 for a 90 - heaven knows what the pick up will be - it looks set to be a lucrative endeavour as well. MD of JLR Special Vehicle Operations Michael van der Sande said each of the 25 Trophys is “a labour of love, sourced, assembled and remastered by our passionate specialist team”. Finally, fear not if you aren’t able to get one of these Defenders; not only are 1,000 Elliot Brown watches inspired by the Trophy II going on sale, Land Rover Classic will also launch ‘Trophy-influenced Genuine Accessories’ for Defenders later in the year. And they ought to cost a bit less than £200,000.
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