Just 30 examples of the Classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition will be produced.
Land Rover Classic, a specialist department under the JLR umbrella, has revealed its first heritage-themed special edition Defender, inspired by the brand's legacy and modernized with the very best the company has to offer. It's called the Classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition, and it's a magnificent ode to Land Rover's history.
The vehicle takes its inspiration from a Series IIa owned by Spencer Wilks, one of the founders of Land Rover and a former Managing Director of the Rover Car Company. The Isle of Islay in Scotland also played a part in creating this incredible off-roader.
Powered by the same 5.0-liter V8 that motivates other Classic Defender Works vehicles, the Islay Edition produces a mighty 405 horsepower and sends its power to all four wheels via an equally modern eight-speed automatic transmission. 0 to 60 mph is dealt with in 5.6 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 106 mph.
Straight-line speed is of little importance to the average Defender owner. They'll be more interested to hear about the Defender Suspension Upgrade Kit, which ushers in a revised coil spring rate and dampers, along with suspension tuning that makes the classic Defender more comfortable on the tarmac. A Handling Upgrade kit includes a superior braking system with uprated discs, calipers, and pads.
From afar, the exterior could lead you to mistake the Islay Edition for any old farm vehicle. But the devil is in the details. The glossy Heritage Grey is tasteful and inspired by the Mid Grey hue of Wilks' car. The steel wheels and roof are finished in a contrasting Limestone hue, which works beautifully with the main exterior shade.
Up front, you'll find the classic-style radiator grille and traditional logos and badging finished in the body color. LED headlights are a welcome addition. The side graphic - which reads "GXC 639C" - is a lovely touch; this was the original registration of the Series IIa owned by Spencer Wilks.
Inside, the "Puma" dashboard brings some modernity to the interior. Windsor Ebony leather upholstery covers the seats, doors, dashboard, and roof lining. The dark upholstery is uplifted with a lovely tweed created by the Islay Woollen Mill. Shades of green, blue, and purple were chosen to represent the area that inspired the vehicle.
An array of luxury features have been crammed into the cabin, such as satellite navigation, Bluetooth, and DAB radio. The pistol gear lever (borrowed from newer JLR vehicles) is the only contemporary component in the cockpit. The center storage console features a removable tray with leather tabs. This tray features oak sourced from whisky barrels from the Kilchoman Distillery in Islay.
The trays feature 4.33-inch wooden discs that emulate a whisky barrel's bottom. These discs are each made from a specific piece of wood, which makes every vehicle unique. The disc is embedded within a tray fashioned out of American Walnut wood veneer.
The tasteful wood detailing is repeated on the loadspace floor. The elegant oak veneer features classy metal inlays, and Land Rover claims this statement piece has met the same "standards as those used on the latest production Range Rovers." A clock, housed within the dashboard, has also been decorated with matching wood grain.
Islay isn't just another place. To Land Rover, it's the beginning of everything. Spencer Wilks used his Islay-based estate to test early prototypes of the iconic off-roader, evaluating its capabilities across the challenging landscape of his property. As for the name, the estate gamekeeper remarked that this rugged Rover must be a "Land Rover," and the name has stuck ever since.
It will be an exceptionally rare creation, with just 30 examples slated for production. Priced from £230,000 (approx. $287,500) for the 90 and £245,000 (approx. $306,250) for the 110, it's not cheap, but it's far more affordable than Overfinch's take on a revitalized classic Defender.
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