Trophy Comeback – at a price

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By Patrick Cruywagen

10 February 2021

LRM editor Patrick Cruywagen checks out the exclusive £200,000 adventure-ready Defender Works V8 Trophy models

Diehard fans of old Defender have been crying out for Land Rover to continue producing the legendary model - and they have obliged, with the stunning Defender Works V8 Trophy vehicles.

It’s enough to bring tears to the eyes of the faithful. And the price is pretty eye-watering, too. Check out the video here

Available in both a 90 and 110 station wagon and limited to a small production run of only 25, owners of these Trophy trucks will also get an exclusive invite to take part in a three-day off-road competition at Eastnor Castle in 2021 (Coronavirus permitting, of course).

The event? Think of it as a watered-down version of the old Camel Trophy for people with lots of money, because the asking price for a Defender Works V8 Trophy in the UK starts at £195,000 for a 90. You still think the new Defender is pricey?

When Land Rover turned 70 in 2018, Land Rover Classic Works celebrated by announcing that they were going to build no more than 150 Defender Works V8 70th editions by using old Defenders built between 2012 and the end of old Defender production in 2016. My sources tell me that they still have about ten of these to build.

These re-engineered Defenders enjoyed a power plant transfer: out with the 2.2 TDCi and in with a 405PS / 515Nm 5.0-litre V8 petrol, mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. Suspension, brakes and steering have also been uprated to handle the V8 beast.

Now, three years later, Classic Works will be doing exactly the same to the 25 Eastnor Yellow (enthusiasts call it Sandglow, or Camel Trophy Yellow) V8s as they did to the Defender Works V8 70th editions. However, the Defender Works V8 Trophy will also have several additions for enhanced off-roading capabilities. These include a front winch, multi-point expedition cage, roof rack, underbody protection, A-bar, raised air intake, LED spotlights and mud-terrain tyres.

If it’s going to take part in an extreme off-road event then it certainly has to be made of the right stuff. While the 70th Works V8s sat on fancy 18-inch wheels, these have non-nonsense black 16-inch steel wheels with mud terrain tyres. Imagine having 405PS and 515nM at your disposal when playing in an impossible mudhole? That’s like giving a hippo a bagful of E-tablets.  

While most of the Defender is (Sandglow) yellow, the Narvik Black paintbrush has been applied to the wheel arches, bonnet and rear door. Add into that black mix a roof rack, ladder and roll cage and it certainly starts to more than look the part.

To improve old Defender’s traditionally bad headlamps they have been replaced with much brighter LEDs. Other nice touches include the Heritage grille and unique Trophy badging and decals. Each customer will get personalised graphics for the event, with the name of the owner plus a small country flag, just like they used to do on the Camel Trophy.

As for the interior, once again black seems to dominate. No standard old Defender seating like they had on the Camel Trophy: think black Windsor leather upholstery with comfy Recaro sports seats. They had to get yellow in somewhere and they did, with the stitching.

Elliot Brown, the makers of the toughest watches on the planet, including the Land Rover X Holton pro watch, have made the beautiful Land Rover Trophy Defender’s clock face. Land Rover Classic produce their own infotainment system, which is more modern than what we find in old Land Rovers, so that too is in this new-old Defender, so you can connect your phone to the system!  

If we are allowed some sort of normal movement later this year, a special three-day adventure event will take place at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire for the 25 new owners of the Works V8 Trophy Defenders. Incredibly, this will also be the first time they get to meet and drive their Defenders, but not before receiving special one-to-one training from extreme off-road driving experts.

Land Rover have been hosting extreme challenging global driving events for decades, including the legendary Camel Trophy series from the 1980s and 90s, plus the more recent G4 Challenge, so owners of the Works V8 Trophy Defenders will know what to expect at the Eastnor event.

Can you imagine smashing a wing of your £200,000 Defender on a tree, followed by water pouring in through the windows as you try and cross a raging river? That’s the tantalising prospect in store for those new owners.

Elliot Brown brand ambassador and stunt driver Jessica Hawkins features in the Defender Works V8 Trophy promotional video alongside the everybody-loves-him Camel Trophy legend and winner, Bob Ives. These two experts will be on hand to assist Land Rover Trophy participants with training and when things get hairy. The event will also be supported by Land Rover brand partners Fat Face, Musto and Elliot Brown, who will be creating special product for the event. Hopefully some of this will be for sale to Land Rover enthusiasts.

All 25 participants will be competing for a range of prizes, while the overall winner will walk away with the grand prize of a whopping yet-to-be-announced prize. A new Defender perhaps?

While 99.99% of Land Rover fans cannot afford one of these 25 Defenders, we reckon it’s good to see Land Rover acknowledging the role played by the iconic vehicle and those equally-legendary Camel Trophy events.

You can order a 90 or 110 wheelbase Defender Works V8 Trophy directly from Land Rover Classic right now, with prices starting from £195,000 for a 90 in the UK. I suspect that by the time this article is printed they will all be sold out. See here.