Sometimes a vehicle that's been officially killed-off by its manufacturer simply refuses to lie down and die, and that seems to be the case with the Land Rover Defender. Despite its agricultural nature and lack of creature comforts, it's one of those vehicles that will always be loved by enthusiasts. It therefore shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that Land Rover is producing a limited edition, high-performance version of the Defender to celebrate the company's 70th anniversary this year.
Iconic is a word that's bandied around the motor industry a little more than perhaps it should be these days, but if there is a vehicle that thoroughly deserves to be regarded as a design icon, it has to be the Defender.
Only 150 units of the Defender Works V-8 will be produced to mark this milestone anniversary for the Land Rover brand, and they won't be like any Defender the company has built for some time. Although the Defender was exclusively a diesel vehicle for many, many years until it was discontinued, this one will have a 5.0-liter petrol V-8 under the hood that will develop some 405 PS. And that should get the "Landy" from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 5.6 seconds, and onwards to a new top speed of 106 mph.
This limited edition Defender Works V-8 is intended to pay homage to early models with high-powered engines such as the Series III Stage 1 V-8 from 1979 and subsequent Defenders including the 50th Anniversary Edition, which are now highly desirable and sought after by today's enthusiasts and collectors.
The Defender Works V-8 will actually be the most powerful and fastest version of the Defender that Land Rover has ever produced. The 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated petrol V-8 powertrain produces 405 PS and 515 Nm of torque, which is much more than the 122 PS and 360 Nm the standard Defender delivered.
Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director, said of the special edition Defender: "It's fitting that we've been able to release the full potential of the iconic Defender, whose much-loved shape remains synonymous with Land Rover, 70 years since it was seen in public for the first time."
There will be 90 and 110 wheelbase versions of the Defender Works V-8 available in eight standard body colors that include two satin finishes, and they will be available to purchase direct from Land Rover Classic with prices starting from £150,000 (about US$207,000) for a 90 in the UK.