1986 Land Rover Defender Has 21st Century Luxury

Classic Cars / Comments

Osprey Custom Cars deserves a round of applause for this one.

Few owners of a car or SUV built within the last five years would complain about the astounding advances in quality, driver-assistance technologies, and infotainment convenience. What they may complain about is a certain charm and endearing simplicity found in older models that are often lacking in newer cars. Osprey Custom Cars have shown that both the old and new can be combined with its latest build, namely, a thoroughly modernized 1986 Land Rover Defender 110.

It's not the first time that Osprey, a company based in North Carolina, has impressed us. Recently, it unveiled a pristine 1995 Land Rover Defender. Like that one, the '86 was - and still is - renowned for its remarkable off-road prowess, but the barebones interior has been a bit difficult to accept by deep-pocketed customers whom set their sights on these rugged utility vehicles. Osprey corrects this with a total makeover. As such, this '86 Defender was taken apart right down to the frame, which was then galvanized and powder-coated.

Osprey Custom Cars
Osprey Custom Cars
Osprey Custom Cars

New body panels, a revamped suspension, and upgraded Terrafirma shocks were added, too. While it still looks instantly identifiable as the original from the outside, Osprey elected to replace the original's drivetrain, fitting the refreshed 110 with GM's LS3 engine, producing 465 horsepower in this application. In fact, it would take much more than the space we have here to highlight all the mechanical upgrades, including a dual Magnaflow performance exhaust system.

It wouldn't be a true Land Rover Defender if it couldn't handle the rough stuff, so the revived 110 also has heavy-duty front/rear axles, a Terrafirma front skid plate, and a Terrafirma stage 3 lift kit. Outside, the tough looks remain but the upgrade introduces a new hood and doors, an SVX-style front end, and rock sliders.

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Osprey Custom Cars
Osprey Custom Cars

The cabin is a big step forward over the original, with leather seating for seven, a custom center console, and new trim. Back in 1986, owners wouldn't have known what to do with features like the Kenwood audio system with DVD, Bluetooth, navigation, and Apple CarPlay. A backup camera has been added, too, with the latter being a requirement on all new vehicles sold in the US.

Of course, there are some limits to what Osprey could do with such an old design, so the Defender still lacks airbags and modern driver aids, but it's an otherwise stunning update that will warm the hearts of older Land Rover owners while also impressing younger adventurers.

"We've rebuilt this truck from the ground up with all the finest components and finishes," said a proud Aaron Richardet, the owner and co-founder of Osprey Custom Cars.

While its $189,950 price tag is a lot of money, and could buy you an almost fully loaded 2020 Range Rover, it's hard to put a price on a classic that has been so tastefully and comprehensively whisked into the present day.

Osprey Custom Cars

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