Second chances are often as rare as truly daring adventurers and the genuinely unique vehicles that create them.
It is not surprising then that Land Rover – and the people and the proving grounds that made its ground-breaking Defender into the automotive legend it is today – has now created a rare, second chance to mold a new generation of legends.
So rare is this second chance, that just 25 iconic Defenders and their new owners will not only get to to relive but to recreate the “guts and glory” that underpins every nut and bolt of Land Rover’s Defender lineage.
This is a lineage forged from one of the toughest expeditionary competition series known to man and machine and one that has cemented the Defender into the record books of completely off-road motoring.
Just two words – Camel Trophy – exemplify what was arguably world’s most coveted, respected and followed test of endurance – which pitted man and machine against the toughest terrains on Earth.
Land Rovers were used as the sole manufacturer in the Camel Trophy from 1981 to 2000 (with the exception of 1999), and every vehicle was built by the factory’s special vehicles department. This meant every single vehicle was identical.
Having provided the ultimate test of endurance, the Camel Trophy had already become “quite a big deal” by the late 1980s and by 1989, over a million would-be explorers had applied to participate and represent their countries in what was then considered one of the most demanding challenges on Earth.
And now, 21 years after the Camel Trophy era, Land Rover is setting about to recreate the unique “Camel Trophy vehicles”, while giving the next generation of owners and drivers a chance to become Land Rover Defender legends.
But in a new decade and a completely new era, there will be no countries competing for a coveted Land Rover Trophy and the greatest challenge will be no doubt be raising the finance for this automotive expedition.
That is because only the purchase of a limited edition Works V8 Trophy Land Rover will secure entry into the Land Rover Trophy Adventure Competition to be held later in 2021.
The good news for South Africans with a deep sense of adventure and even much deeper pockets is that the Defender Works V8 Trophy is available in Africa, along with the United Kingdom (UK), Europe, MENA (Middle East, North Africa) and Oceania on an individual import basis and subject to rules on importation of vehicle conversions.
South Africans should however note that participation in the the competition is subject to COVID-19 restrictions, which at the time of writing, included a travel ban on South Africans wishing to enter the UK.
This is what Land Rover had to say about the vehicle, the competition and its location and features:
WATCH: Racing driver, stunt driver and Land Rover ambassador Jessica Hawkins stars alongside
Land Rover adventure legends, including 1989 Camel Trophy winner Bob Ives, in
Defender Works V8 Trophy launch film here.
Land Rover Classic is continuing the formidable expedition legacy of the original Defender with a limited production run of adventure-ready Defender Works V8 Trophy vehicles for an exclusive competition at Eastnor Castle in 2021.
Based on the re-engineered 2012-2016 Defender Works V8 specification developed by Land Rover Classic, including 298kW/515Nm 5.0-litre V8 petrol powertrain, eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and comprehensive uprated suspension, steering and braking packages, the Trophy vehicles feature a wide range of additional upgrades specifically tailored for off-road use.
Twenty-five examples of the Defender Works V8 Trophy, in a mixture of 90 and 110 Station Wagon body designs, will be exclusively finished in a unique Eastnor Yellow paint colour with matching 16-inch steel wheels. Contrasting Narvik Black paintwork features on the wheel arches, bonnet and rear door. The purpose-built vehicles also receive LED headlamps, a Heritage front grille, unique Land Rover Trophy badging and event participation graphics personalised to each customer.
The Defender Works V8 Trophy is designed to tackle the most demanding endurance challenges. Additional all-terrain kit includes a front winch, multi-point expedition cage, roof rack, underbody protection, A-bar, raised air intake, LED spotlights and mud-terrain tyres.
Inside, the instantly recognisable 4×4 benefits from full black Windsor leather upholstery with Recaro sports seats, contrast yellow stitching and a bespoke Land Rover Trophy clock face by Elliot Brown. Land Rover Classic’s own Classic Infotainment System with integrated navigation and mobile device connectivity is also fitted.
Later this year, Defender Works V8 Trophy customers will be invited to compete in an exclusive three-day adventure at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire – the spiritual home of Land Rover all-terrain training, testing and development. This will be the first time customers drive their car.
Dan Pink, Director, Land Rover Classic, said: “The Land Rover Defender has always been more than just a vehicle, its engineering capability and suitability for overland expedition and all-terrain competition means it’s renowned with getting away from it all. The new Land Rover Trophy will bring this to life for a new generation of adventurers.
“Experiences are a key part of Land Rover Classic’s DNA and this whole concept comes directly from feedback we’ve received. Our customers want to create their own stories, battle scars and patina with their Works V8 Trophy vehicles from day one, fuelling campfire chats with like-minded enthusiasts.
“We’re looking forward to an exciting and memorable event, full of camaraderie, and continuing the Land Rover Trophy legend for years to come. Seeing the silhouette of these vehicles which you’ll instantly know as a Land Rover, traversing the hills at Eastnor, will be a defining moment of the adventure.”
On seeing their Defender Works V8 Trophy for the first time, customers and their co-drivers will make their first marks by adding their names and country flags to the vehicle. They will then embark on a range of challenges inspired by famous global adventures and competitions spanning more than seven decades of Land Rover production.
Expert one-to-one tuition will be provided as part of the adventure, giving customers a unique opportunity to develop extreme driving techniques and skills in their own vehicle, before putting their training to the test. Everyone will compete for a range of prizes, including a grand prize for the overall winner – to be announced later in 2021.
The Land Rover Trophy event will be supported by the New Defender and carefully selected brand partners Elliot Brown, Fat Face and Musto, who have created complementary products specifically for Defender Works V8 Trophy customers.
Both 90 and 110 wheelbase Defender Works V8 Trophy derivatives are now available to order direct from Land Rover Classic, with prices starting from £195,000 (about R4-million) for a 90 in the UK.