Land Rover Classic searches out the best of classic Land Rovers, painstakingly restores, rebuilds and re-engineers them to creates truly unique vehicles for the genuine enthusiast who appreciates every thoughtful touch that breathes new life into an iconic past.
Meet the very special Classic Defender Work V8 Islay edition. The first heritage special edition, inspired by Spencer Wilk’s personal Series 11a Land Rover from 1965.
Donor vehicles date from 2012-2016 and Land Rover Classic installs a modern naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 powertrain with eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. Offering 298kW (405PS) and 515Nm of torque, performance is effortless.
The Islay Edition – like the Works V8 – will accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds, while top speed is rated at 106mph. Every example is specially selected and reengineered, with the Defender Suspension Upgrade Kit comprising uniquely tuned suspension that’s tailored for enhanced on-road comfort and dynamics, with revised coil spring rate and dampers. The Handling Upgrade Kit is also included, which provides uprated Works V8 specification brake discs, pads and callipers for enhanced stopping power.
While the vehicle’s exterior is pure heritage, in addition to the modern V8 and ZF auto, there are plenty of under the skin technical upgrades including uprated suspension and braking systems, tailored for superior on-road performance and dynamics.
Confident in the vehicle’s performance, it’s all about the beautifully crafted exterior and interior. It starts with the Heritage Grey bodywork, Limestone roof and matching heavy-duty steel wheels plus iconic heritage branding and badges with the unique side graphic “GXC 639C” – an insider’s nod to the registration plate of Wilks’ Series 11a.
The bespoke interior is trimmed in luxurious Windsor ebony leather with unique tweed detailing from the Islay Woollen Mill, chosen specifically for the Defender Islay Edition. It features an earthy base that echoes the local landscape. Land Rover Classic chose colours to represent the area, with blue for the sea and the sky of Islay, purple to reference the local heather, and a subtle yellow chosen to reference the peaty grassy landscape. The special fabric also features on a unique pouch in the centre cubby, for stowing small items such as a smartphone.
Beside the gear lever is a plaque detailing the story of how the Land Rover name came to be, when the estate gamekeeper, Ian Duncan, is reported to have exclaimed to Wilks – who in 1947 was testing a heavily modified Rover that would become the Series I on Islay’s Laggan Estate – that it must be the new “Land” Rover he was driving.
The central stowage space features a bespoke detail that strengthens the link back to Islay. Its removable tray, complete with leather tabs, features the oak of whisky barrels sourced from the island’s award winning Kilchoman Distillery, which was established in 2005 by Wilks’ granddaughter and her husband.
Each tray features a unique 110mm wooden disc replicating the end of a whisky barrel and is made from a specific piece of the wood that displays the authentic stencilled lettering, meaning every vehicle is a one of a kind. The disc is set into the tray, which is finished in American Walnut wood veneer to complement the whisky barrel oak, with beautiful dovetail joints for an exquisite finish. The specially crafted surround showcases the distillery and Woollen Mill in the same stencilled font, just like a genuine whisky barrel – and includes the official Land Rover 75th anniversary logo. The base of each cup holder is also made from the whisky barrel wood.
Oak wood veneer detailing extends to the rear load space floor, and the beautifully finished and durable feature meets the same rigorous quality and engineering standards as those used on the latest production Range Rovers. The clock on the centre of the dashboard also mirrors the wood grain of the other features.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get your hands on the Defender Islay edition in Australia – you’ll need to contact the UK directly via Land Rover Classic. To help you manifest the universe to deliver you the option to purchase; pricing is £230,000 for the 90, and £245,000 for the 110 in the UK. Don’t delay the Works V8 Islay Edition will be limited to 30 examples, all Station Wagons, with 17 available as a 90 short wheelbase and 13 available as a seven-seat 110 version.
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