Special-edition Land Rover Trophy Defender event
Land Rover Classic is a Division of Land Rover that refurbishes second hand vehicles and resells them. This Division 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.
The 2021 Trophy vehicles are kitted out and painted to resemble the 1980s Camel Trophy Defenders.
Based on the re-engineered 2012-2016 Defender Works V8 specification developed by Land Rover Classic, including 298kW (400hp) / 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 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 finished in a unique Eastnor Yellow paint colour with matching 16-inch steel wheels.
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, there’s black Windsor leather upholstery with Recaro sports seats, contrasting yellow stitching and a bespoke Land Rover Trophy clock face by Elliot Brown. Land Rover Classic’s own infotainment system with integrated navigation and mobile device connectivity is also fitted.
Later in 2021, 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 cars.
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 vehicles, before putting their training to the test.
Everyone will compete for a range of prizes, including a grand prize for the overall winner.
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 (A$348,000) for a 90 in the UK.
Hands-on Camel Trophy experience
Outback Travel Australia’s publisher, Allan Whiting, was one of the press team covering the 1986 Camel Trophy, held in northern Australia, during the Wet Season. The route was from Cairns to Darwin and although it was a relatively dry ‘Wet’ there was plenty of mud, deep river crossings and…crocs.
Some of that country is tricky even in the Dry, so you can imagine what it was like in the Wet. There were crocs and snakes everywhere and we slept above ground, in Malaysian Army-issue hammocks. The press drove the same route as the competitors, but not the very short, sharp special stages that were designed for the shorter-wheelbase vehicles.
The competitors had short wheelbase, lightly-laden Land Rover Defender 90s, but the press vehicles were fully-loaded 110s. All the Camel Trophy vehicles had standard open diffs, so they were easily bogged.
The official figures for the 10J, 2.25-litre, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder diesels fitted to these vehicles were 46kW (62hp) and 140Nm. They would not pull a sailor off your sister.
The shorter-wheelbase competitors’ vehicles weren’t exactly nimble, but they were a lot lighter than the overloaded support vehicles the press corps was driving.
Not only were the vehicles heavily loaded, but a lot of that weight was there just for visual effect: like a line of full jerry cans across the back of each roof rack and rack-mounted driving lights that got smashed off by overhanging branches.
Most days, we winched at some point and I can remember one bogging when a shackle broke. The busted shackle destroyed the windscreen, just missing Ming, the Malaysian journo who was driving at the time and disappeared out the back window. We never found that shackle.
Although a daily supply aircraft found us most evenings, our repeated requests for a replacement windscreen went unheeded, because, as we later found out, the event organisers wanted us to be filmed, liberally coated in insects and mud, before a new screen was fitted.
The Camel Trophy organisers weren’t Land Rover employees and they didn’t quite understand that journos have outside connections. Threatened with mutiny and newspaper headlines about safety, they soon flew in a new screen that we fitted ourselves.
The Camel Trophy was all about ‘image’ and the more extreme the situation, the better the organisers liked it. It’s a miracle no-one was seriously injured or killed during the 1986 event. The one moderating influence was Land Rover’s own Geoff Stubbs, who kept competitor risk to a minimum. (Stubbsy also found Allan’s lost glasses, during a river crossing – handy bloke.)
The Aussie team didn’t win the overall Trophy, but did come away with the teamwork prize and Allan Whiting kept in touch with one of the competitors, Ron Begg.
After 2000, the Camel Trophy type of event gave way to a much tamer and safer, Land Rover Experience. Outback Travel Australia was involved in the Arnhem Land set-up for the 2015 Land Rover Experience in the Northern Territory.