Classic Cars

A custom Land Rover Defender with a factory-fitted 3.5-litre V8

Land Rover Defender V8

This is a 1989 Land Rover Defender which has been fitted with a 3.5 liter V8 from factory, not one of those popular aftermarket conversions. It also came from the factory with a soft top and the desirable 5-speed manual transmission.

The vast majority of Land Rover Defenders that have been built were fitted with one of the company’s turbodiesel engines, 3.5-litre V8s are rarer and, thanks to their considerably higher power output, they are very fun to drive on-road and off-road. .

Quick Facts – A V8 Land Rover Defender

  • The Land Rover Defender first appeared in 1983, although it originally bore the “Land Rover One Ten” and “Land Rover Ninety” badges. After the Discovery was released in 1989, Land Rover needed to differentiate its model ranges, so the name Defender was chosen and was used in 1991.
  • The Defender was a significantly improved version of the Series 3 Land Rover that had preceded it, featuring a new suspension with coil springs instead of leaf springs, permanent four-wheel drive, a more modern interior, a taller compound windscreen from a single window. , and more modern engines and transmissions.
  • Bringing out a new Land Rover is always a challenge, as Land Rover enthusiasts are often lifelong owners who have strong ideas about what a real Land Rover is. The Defender proved a smash hit, and it remains so today years after production ended.
  • The Land Rover Defender you see here was fitted with the Rover V8 from the factory. A 3.5-litre gasoline engine that has its roots in the Buick 215 cubic inch alloy V8 of the 1960s. It offers excellent power and torque for its relatively low weight.

The Rover V8 and the Defender

The story of how the Rover V8 was born is fascinating, it started as the Buick 215 cubic inch V8 that was originally launched in 1961.

Description of the imageThe 3.5-liter Rover V8 features an aluminum alloy block and cylinder heads, making it lighter than many comparable V8s, but no less powerful.

It was an exceptionally small and light V8 thanks to its aluminum alloy block and heads, and its 3.5 liter displacement, much smaller than most comparable American V8s.

Interestingly, Buick only kept the engine in production until 1963, when it was replaced by a similar engine with an iron block, and then later by engines with an iron block and cylinder heads.

British automaker Rover was looking for a more powerful engine for future production cars and so a deal was struck with General Motors to buy the tooling and rights to the defunct Buick 215 V8. Rover engineers extensively redesigned the engine to make it stronger, then launched it in a touring car in 1967.

They might not have known it at the time, but the Rover V8 would become one of the most important performance engines in British history. It powered everything from Range Rovers and Land Rovers to racing cars and high-performance sports cars built by companies such as TVR, MG, Morganand many more.

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Description of the imageThe interior of this Defender now benefits from new black Exmoor Trim leather upholstery, a Mountney Classic steering wheel and smart USB output.

The engine’s low weight, good torque characteristics, reliability and simplicity make it an ideal engine for four-wheel drive applications as the defender – so much so that many aftermarket conversions have been made over the years. But collectors still tend to prefer factory-made examples.

The 1989 Land Rover Defender V8 shown here

The vehicle you see here is an upgraded 1989 Land Rover Defender V8, as mentioned above this vehicle came from the factory with this engine fitted but a number of other upgrades were undertaken to bring it up to speed. a modern level.

This Defender is also an original soft-top model, a rarer option than the standard hardtop and another common aftermarket conversion.

Among the upgrades that have been applied to this vehicle are a re-trimmed interior with black Exmoor Trim leather upholstery, a Mountney Classic steering wheel, smart USB output, an Edelbrock carburettor on a new intake manifold and paintwork has been updated. been repainted in the original Midnight Blue.

It now rolls on 16-inch steel wheels with gold center caps wrapped in Comforser CF3000 knobby mud tires. A tubular steel rear bumper was installed, as was a tow ball, and rocker guards were fitted on each side.

The car is currently for sale on Collecting Cars in a live online auction, if you would like to find out more or register to bid you can click here to visit the list.

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Images courtesy of Collecting Cars

Land Rover Defender V8