This Custom Land Rover Defender Packs a 525-HP LS3 V-8 Under Its Hood
The special Defender celebrates the model's 70th anniversary.
It's long been the go-to answer for dodgy British iron: drop an LS in it. That's exactly what Himalaya does with its upgraded Land Rover Defenders, including this tribute to the 70th Anniversary special that debuted a few years back. The Rover V-8 in the U.S.-spec Defender isn't a bad engine, per se, but you know what's better? An LS—in this case, an LS3 making 525 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque. Originality is one thing, but the big power and easy parts availability of the General Motors engine is always a plus.
Himalaya builds their rigs on a custom chassis, of which they are the exclusive importer to the U.S., from a U.K. supplier. The builds also include upgraded brakes, suspension, and interior fittings. While the company will gladly drop a GM-sourced V-8 in its creations, Himalaya can also fit one with a Cummins diesel or even use the original Rover engine.
This particular 70th Anniversary tribute build also features a six-speed automatic transmission, Fox shocks, and 18-inch alloys shod in BFGoodrich A/T KO2 tires. Surprisingly, it's not painted in a heritage color, such as the famous mint green painted on Land Rover's earliest products. Instead, it's a deep red set off by gloss black accents. There's also nothing retro about the interior, which sports a two-tone white-and-black look that neither complements the exterior color well nor looks like anything you'd typically find on an original Defender—modern or vintage. But it's an accurate homage to the aesthetic choices that the company made for the original Land Rover Discovery Works V-8—although Himalaya's version is much more powerful.
The thing about an outfit like Himalaya is that these aren't series production builds. It's all custom work, so if you would like your Himalaya Defender done up with retro tweed or carbon fiber and Alcantara, then you'll get it. All it takes is money. And if you want this particular build, that'll take a good chunk of money, too. Visit the Himalaya website for more information.
We should mention that Himalaya isn't the only company doing this sort of work to Defenders. Arkonik, a U.K.-based company, will sell its creations in the U.S. for a lofty sum, but they admittedly appear to do high-quality work. There are surely others out there as well. The boom in Land Cruiser restoration shops, like the FJ Company, has certainly inspired others to do the same with other legendary four-wheel-drive trucks and SUVs.
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