To celebrate Land Rover’s 70th anniversary last year, the British SUV manufacturer built the Defender Works V8, a limited-edition, higher performance version of the firm's hardcore SUV. The response from Defender fans was so strong that now Land Rover Classic is offering upgrade kits (with optional installation) inspired by the Defender Works V8. The packages will allow owners of 1994 through 2016 Defenders to enhance the wheels, braking, suspension, and engine of their SUVs, both 90- and 110-inch wheelbase variants. All of the enhancements have been designed, tested, and approved to meet Land Rover's OEM standards, and they come with the firm's standard accessory and aftermarket-parts warranty.
The upgrade kits range from $527 diamond-turned 18-inch Sawtooth aluminum wheels, to the full Defender Classic Works Upgrade Kit, priced at $20,752, including installation.
Calum McKechnie, head of Land Rover Classic, says, “In 2018, Land Rover’s 70th Anniversary year, we saw unprecedented demand for the limited-edition Defender Works V8, which brought new levels of handling and performance to this iconic vehicle. Extending the range of fully engineered, tested, and approved upgrades offered by Land Rover Classic underlines our commitment to supporting existing Defender owners, as we look forward to the new Defender’s world premiere later this year.”
For 2007-model-year Defenders onwards, LRC offers the Defender Suspension Upgrade Kit, which tunes the suspension for greater on-road comfort and improved handling. It includes upgraded coil springs, shock absorbers, swaybars, links, and bushings.
You can also upgrade the Defender's brakes with the confusingly named Defender Handling Upgrade Kit. The “handling” upgrade adds the Works V8's uprated brake calipers, rotors, and pads to the Suspension kit, along with 18-inch Sawtooth alloy rims.
The full Defender Classic Works Upgrade Kit is available on 2012-and-later 2.2-liter TDCi powered Defenders, and unlike the other packages, which can be ordered from dealers, the full kit must be ordered directly from Land Rover Classic, which does the installation. Along with wheel, brake, and suspension goodies, the full Upgrade Kit adds performance rated tires and an engine upgrade that boosts the diesel’s power by 39 hp, up to 160 hp and 341 lb-ft of torque, yielding a new top speed of 106 mph. Standard emissions controls are retained, and the upgraded engine still meets EU5 N1 Commercial standards for CO2 emissions.
In addition to the mechanical upgrades, the Classic Works Upgrade also includes special badging on the front fenders and a certificate of authenticity. Prices for the Classic Works performed upgrades include Land Rover picking up your Defender and putting it through a “health check” before doing the upgrades, along with vehicle delivery when it's finished, as well as, depending on the customer's location, a tour of Land Rover's Classic Works facilities in Coventry, UK, and Essen, Germany, where the upgrades are fitted.