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LR Classic presents Defender Islay Edition

Themed edition celebrates Land Rover founder, Spencer Wilks, with 298kW V8 kick

4 May 2023

LAND ROVER CLASSIC has this week revealed its first heritage-themed special edition Defender.


Dubbed the Classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition, the vehicle celebrates one of the brand’s founders and former managing director of the Rover Car Company, Spencer Wilks, and the Isle of Islay, Scotland, where the Land Rover name was born.


Inspired by the Series IIa Land Rover owned and driven by Mr Wilks – a vehicle which now forms part of the Land Rover Classic collection – the model runs the same 298kW 5.0-litre V8 and eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic transmission as the Classic Defender Works V8.


Like that model, the Islay Edition is produced from what Land Rover Classic says is a “comprehensively restored, re-engineered and upgraded” donor car, which much be produced between 2012 and 2016 to be eligible for conversion.


Land Rover Classic will produce just 30 examples of the hand-built vehicle, all station wagons, with 17 available as a short-wheelbase 90 and 13 as a seven-seat 110. Pricing is listed at an eye-watering £230,000 ($A433,730) for the 90 and £245,000 ($A461,970) for the 110.


Finished in Heritage Grey paint, in a nod to Mr Wilks’ Mid Grey original, the Islay Edition features a contrasting roof and heavy-duty steel wheels in Limestone, the wheel arches colour-coded to the body colour to offer what Land Rover Classic says is a “refined” look.


The vehicles badging is likewise colour coded while, up front, the Islay Edition sports a classic-style grille, familiar from the run-out Defender Heritage Edition. Rear mudflaps also feature the iconic Land Rover heritage logo.


Unique to the Islay Edition is a side graphic reading GXC 639C – the registration of Wilks’ Series IIa – which provides a subtle nod to the vehicle that inspired the remake. Other highlights include LED headlights and uprated suspension and brakes Land Rover Classic says provide “superior on-road performance and dynamics”.


Stepping inside, the Islay Edition boasts a range of thoughtful touches and “incredible attention to detail” aimed at embracing the spirit of Mr Wilks’ IIa.


The cabin is upholstered in Windsor Ebony leather with body-coloured surrounds featuring on the centre control and infotainment stack. A modern touchscreen infotainment unit hosts satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio reception and Bluetooth connectivity.


Contrasting tweed finishes, in colours chosen to represent the Hebridean island of the model’s name, add a sentimental touch to the vehicle’s décor, while Heritage Grey paint surrounds the pistol-style gear shift level, beside which is a commemorative plaque.


The central stowage area includes leather tabs and oak finishes, the latter sourced from whiskey barrels from Islay’s Kilchoman Distillery – the distillery established by Kathy Wilks, granddaughter of Spencer Wilks, and her husband in 2005.


In honour of the vehicle’s release, Kilchoman Distillery is producing a limited edition ‘639’ whisky that will be gifted to each Islay Edition customer.


Further back, oak wood veneer detailing covers the rear load space.


Powering the Islay Edition is a Classic Defender Works naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 producing 298kW and 515Nm. Land Rover Classic says, “performance is effortless”. The mill hustles the special Defender to 100km/h in an impressive 5.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 106mph (171km/h).


“In 2023, we celebrate 75 years of Land Rover. Spencer Wilks and the Isle of Islay are an important part of our history, and the Classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition is a fitting way to help us celebrate a landmark anniversary,” said Land Rover Classic director, Paul Barritt.


“It references a special vehicle in our collection, Spencer Wilks’ beautiful Series IIa, and is influenced by the special products and incredible nature of Islay itself.


“The authenticity, modern engineering, and exquisite execution from our skilled engineers and technicians, make this limited-edition Classic Defender a very special vehicle for our discerning clients looking for the ultimate heritage Land Rover.”


Sales enquiries may be directed to [email protected]

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