It is because the exploits of the Camel Trophy adventurers behind the wheel of their yellow Defenders are held in as high regard as those of the rallymen in Lancia Delta Martini and the marathoners in Porsche 917 Gulf Racing. These great raids organized in the 80s and 90s across the most inhospitable and inaccessible regions of the world exert a fascination all the more keen as the pandemic confines us close to home.
The Eastnor yellow of the Camel Trophy is as famous at Land Rover as the orange and Gulf blue at Porsche
The Land Rover Defender Works V8 Trophy will be assembled in just twenty-five units in ateliers de Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works established in 2016 (in long 110 or short 90 chassis). As the name suggests, this limited series is based on the model that is officially called Defender Works V8, to avoid confusion with the modern day Land Rover Defender. Behind this name hides a first series of 150 copies which was presented in 2018, in time to steal the show from a certain Mercedes-Benz G-Class, which was then completing its metamorphosis.
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Visionaries and opportunists, Land Rover executives have acquired several dozen Defenders, among the last copies produced until 2016 (official date of its withdrawal from the catalog). The technicians of the Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works department (which made a name for itself by remaking Range Rovers from the 1970s, with admirable respect for the origin) did not go all the way. Taking advantage of the latitude offered by the regulation of vehicles produced in very small series, they grafted a ultra-modern 5-liter petrol V8 engine under the hood of the old Defender. As a result, no less than 399 horsepower and a 0 to 100 km / h shot in less than 6 seconds which makes the Defender Works V8 the fastest model in the line. The brake system and suspension have been revised accordingly. Alas! Due to homologation constraints, the Defender Works V8 Trophy cannot be registered in France.
Wanted chic, the Defender Works V8 born in 2018 returns to its roots to better face the mud
The Trophy version inherits the same features as the 2018 Land Rover Defender Classic Works V8, including its ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. But where the latter took great pleasure in making lie his rustic origins by dressing in custom leather and precious wood, the Trophy returns to the fundamentals of crossing. The presence of Recaro bucket seats does not preclude the use of the finest black leather, while modern satellite navigation instruments sit alongside an Elliott Brown hand watch.
Outside, we immediately notice the presence of a winch and a bull bar. You can access the huge luggage gallery made of steel tubes via a ladder whose silhouette was long associated with that of the high English 4×4. The excavator headlights, the deported air filter and the steel rims with solid veil attest that the Defender Classic Works V8 Trophy is not there to look good.
Eastnor is to Land Rover what Fiorano is to Ferrari: a test track to put the mechanics to the test
The front left wing of each of the twenty-five copies of the Land Rover Defender Classic Works V8 Trophy will be adorned with the names and surnames of its driver and co-driver, as in the good old days of the preparatory games organized to decide between the international crews who are candidates for the Camel Trophy.
To complete the illusion and give the thrill of adventure to the happy customers who have spent the minimum sum of 225,000 euros to afford one of these vehicles (base price for the Defender Classic Works V8 Trophy 90), the builder will invite them to three days of games in the mud, around Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire, England. It is there, in the spiritual cradle of Land Rover, that house pilots have pushed the “Landies” and “Range” to their limits for nearly seven decades.
Grumpy minds will always be able to say that the traps which dot the 106 kilometers of tracks around Eastnor Castle are nothing, next to the difficulties thrown in the wheels of the participants of the Camel Trophy, organized annually between 1981 and 1998. To the frozen roads of Mongolia and Siberia, to the rutted tracks of Papua New Guinea and Madagascar, were added the crossings of Dantesque rivers of South America, the attacks of malaria and of human-eating tribes.
Images of Discovery and Defender embedded in mud adorned the walls of teenage bedrooms
Imagined by an advertising agency in Düsseldorf to promote Camel cigarettes by RJ Reynolds, the first edition of the Camel Trophy, organized in 1980, got the better of the three Jeep CJ-6 hired for the occasion. The following year, the German crews set off again, this time behind the wheel of five Range Rover V8s prepared by Land Rover’s Special Operations department.
Over the editions, each of the models in the range of the English manufacturer has had its hour of glory, from the old Defender to the young whipper Freelander, including several evolutions of the Discovery. A sacred Land Rover know-how showcase, until the last edition of 1998. At the time, the leaders of BMW, the scorched buyer of Land Rover, Rover and Mini, had come to doubt the return on investment of the Camel Trophy. Barely two years later, their decision to abandon this form of promotion was sealed by the ban on tobacco advertising.
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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