Even with a car as good as the new Land Rover Defender, it was always going to be a challenge to replace something as iconic as the old one. There really is nothing quite like an original Defender - and there's no replicating the affection lavished on them either. The temptation to take advantage of both sentiments has clearly proven too much for Land Rover Classic - hence the unveiling of the Defender Works V8 Trophy.
Your eyes don't deceive you: the Eastnor Yellow car is a bonafide - indeed, technically secondhand - example of the Defender that went out of production five years ago. But as the Works V8 of 2018 proved, there's simply too much goodwill towards the old stager for the Defender to be culled entirely - and so the new (in a way) special edition model is here.
Clearly inspired by the Camel Trophy cars - and "paying tribute to the iconic 4x4's enduring expedition legacy" - this Defender makes use of the same mechanical package as the Works V8. That means the 5.0-litre engine makes 405hp and 379lb ft, driving all four wheels through the eight-speed ZF auto, heavy duty front and rear differentials and a torque biasing centre diff as well. The Trophy is fitted with better brakes and suspension compared to a standard Defender of the era, with bigger discs, uprated calipers and new telescopic dampers.
Obviously a Defender Trophy need only make limited concessions to on road performance, though - this is a vehicle for off-road adventures. As such it's fitted with an "all-terrain kit" including underbody protection, off-road tyres, a raised air intake, a winch, a roof rack and the "multi-point expedition cage." The body-coloured 16-inch steel wheels are a far cry from the chunky alloys seen on the new Defender, which will surely please many.
This is still a new (and limited edition) Land Rover product, though, so the Trophy comes with a raft of standard equipment and special features. Each of the 25 cars - split between the 90 and 110 versions, all acquired by the manufacturer secondhand - will receive Narvik Black contrast accents, the heritage front grille, black Windsor leather, Land Rover Classic's infotainment system and a Trophy clock face by Elliot Brown.
That isn't all the 25 customers get, though - oh no. When circumstances allow, they will be invited to a three-day experience at Eastnor, driving their cars for the first time at the spiritual home of Land Rover. It'll be in full Trophy fashion too, with names and country flags attached, then a range of challenges "inspired by famous global adventures and competitions spanning more than seven decades of Land Rover production". There's going to be a goody bag for all participants from brand partners like Fat Face and Musto, plus a grand prize for the most successful challenge driver of the 25 buyers - although that's still to be confirmed.
Why all this extra fuss? Well, Land Rover believes that customers "want to create their own stories, battle scars and patina with their Works V8 Trophy vehicles from day one, fuelling campfire chats with like-minded enthusiasts". Which is nice. But the scale of its price tag obviously plays a part, too. Back in 2018 the Works V8 cost from £150,000; now the Trophy starts at £195,000 plus VAT for the 90, with the larger 110 presumably commanding an additional premium on top. Which, however you think about it, is an awful lot of money. Still, don't bet against all 25 being allocated by the time you've finished looking at the pictures.
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