A range of upgrades has been launched for the venerable Land Rover Defender by Land Rover Classic, the Midlands firm’s in-house heritage division.

The upgrades are based on those applied the limited-run Defender Works V8, a swivel-eyed lunatic of a thing built to mark the Landy’s 70th anniversary that was powered by a 399bhp, 5.0-litre V8 engine. It could batter the 0-60mph sprint in 5.6secs but the conversion rather showed up the limitations of the Defender’s chassis. Still, putting the V8’s running gear into a machine with less than half the power should result in a more rounded driving experience.

First, the 18in Sawtooth wheels that can be fitted to any Defender built from 1994 onwards. They cost £432 each before you add your tyre of choice. Or you could fork out £4,068 for a full set with tyres, fitted by LRC.

Things start to get more serious with the Suspension Upgrade Kit which consists of revised springs, dampers, anti-roll bars, links and bushes. LRC claims the set-up improves both comfort and handling on normal roads. It’s only available on cars built after 2007.

To that, you can add the Handling Upgrade Kit which adds beefier brake discs, pads and calipers.

If your Defender has the post-2012 2.2-litre TDCi engine – shared with the Ford Transit – LRC can also boost its output to 162hp and 341lb/ft of torque – without affecting emissions. Top speed rises to the same 106mph as the Works V8.

All the upgrades are available on both Defender 90 and Defender 110 models, the latter being more expensive. The Suspension and Handling packs are available as a kit of parts that can be fitted by any LR dealer. But if you want everything, it can only be fitted by LRC at an all-in cost of £16,995.

That also includes a full health-check on the car as it arrives, Classic Works badges on the front wings, an owner’s certificate and a tour of the LRC facility when you go to collect the car.

If these upgrades improve the Defender’s handling as much as Land Rover Classic claims, they could prove to be a sound investment. Especially as classic Defenders seem to be depreciation-proof, these days.

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By Graham King