This brutish Defender build will be raced by the film franchise's stunt driver.
When you think of James Bond films and the cars that are in them, the first brand you'll think of is likely Aston Martin. The sports car manufacturer has been associated with the spy franchise for generations, but it's not the only British brand that has close ties to the fictional world of 007. Land Rover has featured many of its products in many Bond films, including the latest, No Time to Die, where the Land Rover Defender proved that even brick-shaped off-roaders can be exciting to watch on screen. This association has been a part of the films for almost 40 years, starting with 1983's Octopussy. The film franchise has been around even longer, and now Land Rover is celebrating that fact with a unique rally entrant.
The first James Bold film ever, Dr. No, was released on October 5, 1962, which makes 2022 the 60th anniversary of the franchise. Thus, Land Rover outfitted a Defender 90 with livery "inspired by 60 years of James Bond films". The black painted off-roader gets gold decals with the names of each 007 film detailed across both its hood and its tailgate, while the doors and roof get a special 007 60th logo.
More than just a marketing exercise, this vehicle will be driven by Mark Higgins in the 2022 Bowler Defender Challenge, a feeder series for some of the biggest rallies on the planet, including the Dakar rally. Fun facts: Higgins is a three-time British rally champion and one of the chief stunt drivers for the last four James Bond pictures, namely Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre, and No Time to Die.
The vehicle is already a natural off-roader, but competition requires some upgrades. Thus, it gets a full roll cage, upgraded cooling solutions for the engine and transmission, a sports exhaust, and a new rear roof spoiler. Strengthened 18-inch Bowler wheels are fitted too, along with all-terrain tires and "a bespoke suspension design with modified subframes, new springs, and unique turrets for increased stiffness." Higgins and his co-driver, Claire Williams, will be competing in the Bowler Defender Challenger at the North Wales leg of the one-make series on March 26.
"The Defender is a tough and capable vehicle when it leaves the production line and I've seen it perform really challenging stunts while on the set of No Time to Die," said Higgins. "With the race-ready enhancements made by the Bowler team and with Claire by my side, we are confident we can have a great result."