03 October 2023
Better known for its high-end restomod conversions of G-series Porsche 911s, Northamptonshire-based Oshe Automotive is now turning its attention to the Defender.
Although each build will be bespoke, Oshe has developed the basics of the Defender conversion to be a limited volume production model – only three to four a year – under the banner of the ‘Adventure’ range.
Oshe – which takes its name from the African god of thunder – unveiled the Adventure prototype, based on a Defender 90, at the Royal Automobile Club in central London in early September. On the face of it ‘just’ another restomod, Oshe has extensively re-engineered the car, mechanically and cosmetically. Under the bonnet is a GM-sourced LT1 6.2-litre V8 producing 450bhp and 487lb-ft of torque, chosen in preference to more typical ‘crate’ engines for its reliability, economy and lower emissions.
It’s mated to a GM 8L90 eight-speed automatic gearbox; considerable development work was needed to get the auto to function properly in this application. The Defender retains its original transfer ’box, but the limited-slip differentials are uprated to cope with the big hike in torque. AP Racing discs and calipers replace standard items.
Another impressive development is semi-active, electronically controlled suspension, featuring five different (mappable) settings to strike the best compromise between on-road and off-road driving. The system also incorporates anti-body-roll technology to improve on-road handling.
The Oshe Defender recently appeared on the famous Rotunda at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall
To give a more modern look, Oshe has flattened off all the external rivets and filled in the bodywork’s dimples, a complex and time-consuming process. And the company has commissioned its own steel wheels that echo the style of Series rims yet can accommodate modern tyre sizes. But while customers can spec the interior of their Adventure in a plethora of materials and colours, there’s a limited exterior colour palette – Oshe’s owner, David Lane, is passionate about retaining Land Rover’s heritage in the appearance of his vehicles, and is only offering body colours that complement traditional hues.
Lane also wants the Adventure to be everyday useable and comfortable, and so Oshe has committed many man-hours to improving the cabin. By reprofiling the door panels the team has freed up 50mm of extra elbow-room each side, while an electric handbrake makes the cabin less cluttered. The front seat bases are lowered to enable you to sit ‘in’ the seats rather than ‘on’ them, while the standard (huge) brake pedal is slimmed down to create more footspace for the driver.
As with all such restomods, the Adventure can be kitted out with whatever the owner desires in the way of interior appointments, including air conditioning and wireless phone charging.
The first Oshe Adventure is set to be completed before the end of 2023, with prices starting at £225,000. Even if you can’t afford one, it’s great to take inspiration from if you’re tackling your own Defender project. For more information call 01327 343030 or email David Lane, [email protected].