The Defender Lives On! Well, Sort of.

This has been quite the week for automotive unveilings. It seems like everyone is releasing some new or updated vehicle, and each seems to be packed with more technology than the last. But to our surprise, Land Rover has bucked the trend. Instead of releasing another progressive design, the British manufacturer took things back a few years and announced the “return” of the Defender for their 70th anniversary.

It’s to be produced by Land Rover Classic, the same folks who made the beautiful “new” three-door Range Rover seen here, and, of course, this is just as epic. The limited edition trucks, of which only 150 will be made, are the most powerful versions in history, sporting 5.0-liter V8s producing 400 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. That will rocket these four-wheel drives from 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic’s director, said he felt it was “fitting that we’ve been able to release the full potential of the iconic Defender, whose much-loved shape remains synonymous with Land Rover, 70 years since it was seen in public for the first time. The idea of reintroducing a V8 Defender was something we were discussing as far back as 2014, when we were still building the Defender in Solihull. We knew the demand was there for a powerful and fast Defender; the Land Rover authenticity is the ultimate finishing touch for discerning clients purchasing these collector’s edition Defenders.”

An eight-speed ZF automatic transmission will be paired to the big V8, and the trucks will be fitted with sport mode, uprated brakes, and improved handling kits (springs, dampers and anti-roll bars), plus exclusive 18-inch diamond-turned Sawtooth alloy wheels and 265/65 R18 all-terrain tires. If you’re still not satisfied, a select number of upgrades will also be available, including power upgrades for the TDCi diesel engine, and high-performance suspension and braking kits.

Eight colors will be available to clients, which include two satin finishes. Every body color is contrasted by a Santorini Black roof, wheel arches, and front grille, and is finished off with a machined aluminum fuel filler cap, Defender bonnet lettering, and door handles. Inside is no less luxurious. A full Windsor Leather interior trim covers the dashboard, door panels, headlining, and Recaro sports seats, and Land Rover Classic’s own Classic Infotainment System has also been installed.

These limited edition Landys will be produced in both 90 and 110 configurations and can be purchased directly from Land Rover Classic. Sadly, if you’re in North America, you’ll once again be missing out on your opportunity. These trucks are only to be sold in the United Kingdom, Europe, and MENA markets, leaving us out in the cold yet again. Not that it matters. With a base price of over $200,000 for a Defender 90, we’d say that these final Defenders are a touch out of most people’s price range. Even so, we just love the fact that these trucks exist. Knowing that “new” Defenders and Range Rover Classics are being produced in a small British shop gives us a warm fuzzy feeling inside. We’ll just ignore the fact that we couldn’t even afford the front seats.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Chris didn’t receive a real taste of the outdoors until moving to Prescott, Arizona, in 2009. While working on his business degree, he learned to fly and spent his weekends exploring the Arizona desert and high country. It was there that he fell in love with backcountry travel and four-wheel drive vehicles, eventually leading him to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal. After several years of honing his skills in writing, photography, and off-road driving, Chris now works for the company full time as Expedition Portal's Managing Editor.