Skip advert
Advertisement

£230k Land Rover Defender Works V8 Islay Edition unveiled

The new Islay Edition is a birthday tribute to the iconic Defender from Land Rover Classic

The original Land Rover Defender has not been short on special editions during its 33-year production run (with many of those coming after its official end in 2016), but the firm’s ‘Classic’ division may just have created the ultimate version with the new Land Rover Defender Islay Edition. 

Land Rover says the Islay Edition is inspired by the 1965 Series IIa owned and used by Spencer Wilks - one of the founders of Land Rover. Wilks also tested early prototypes on the Isle of Islay, Scotland - which gives the new car its name. The launch of the Islay Edition also marks Land Rover’s 75th Anniversary in 2023.

The Islay Edition is based on the Classic Defender Works V8 which means there is a 5.0-litre, V8 petrol engine pumping out 400bhp and 515Nm of torque through an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. Despite the unassuming exterior, this Defender will go from 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 106mph. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

Donor vehicles are used to make this special edition Defender, although Land Rover says each car is comprehensively restored, re-engineered and upgraded, plus they’re restricted to models built from 2012 through to 2016. 

At first glance, the Defender Works V8 Islay Edition looks like any other Defender but it features heavy-duty steel wheels finished in a special Limestone paint, the headlights are improved with LED units and there’s a side graphic of ‘GXC 639C’ - a nod to Wilks’ Series IIa registration. The colour choice is ‘Heritage Grey’, which extends to the rear mudflaps and the grille. 

Underneath, the Islay Edition receives uprated suspension with revised coil springs and dampers and an improved braking system to deal with the extra power. 

Further changes have been made to the cabin where there are details that pay homage to the Defender’s history. The seats, side trims, roof lining and dashboard get ‘Windsor Ebony’ leather and the centre console and dash are finished in the same Heritage Grey as the exterior. 

A small plaque next to the gear lever tells the story of how Ian Duncan told Wilks that the Series I he was testing must be the new “Land” Rover - giving the company its name. A special tweed design created by the Islay Woollen Mill features throughout the interior. 

Further tributes to Scotland come in the form of oak sourced from Kilchoman whiskey distillery barrels used on the central stowage space and the base of each cup holder. 

The Islay Edition is available in both 90 and 110 bodystyles, with the short wheelbase costing from £230,000 and the 110 from £245,000. Exclusivity is assured because only 30 will be made, split between 17 for the 90 model and 13 for the 110. 

Click here for our review of the Land Rover Defender Works V8...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Land Rover Defender review
Land Rover Defender - front tracking
In-depth reviews

Land Rover Defender review

The Land Rover Defender is one of the most complete cars on sale, combining a rugged go-anywhere ability with newfound civility
17 May 2024
Updated Land Rover Defender gets a sprinkling of extra luxury and a new diesel engine
Land Rover Defender 110 Sedona Edition - front
News

Updated Land Rover Defender gets a sprinkling of extra luxury and a new diesel engine

The Defender now comes with a higher level of comfort according to Land Rover
7 May 2024
“You don’t need a Land Rover to have some off-road fun”
Opinion - You don’t need a Land Rover to have some off-road fun
Opinion

“You don’t need a Land Rover to have some off-road fun”

Senior News Reporter Alastair Crooks has got the off-road bug and wonders what’s stopping people from exploring the limits of their SUVs
1 May 2024
Best 7-seater cars to buy 2024
Best 7-seater cars - header image
Best cars & vans

Best 7-seater cars to buy 2024

We pick the best seven-seater cars across a wide range of price points
1 May 2024

Most Popular

Mercedes says ‘no thank you’ to EQ: EV brand to be axed
Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 - EQS badge
News

Mercedes says ‘no thank you’ to EQ: EV brand to be axed

Mercedes will roll back EQ branding for its electric cars as the first generation of EV models reaches the end of its lifecycle.
15 May 2024
UK faces “epidemic” of young uninsured drivers
Car crash
News

UK faces “epidemic” of young uninsured drivers

The number of young people convicted of driving without insurance has tripled since 2021, due to sky-rocketing premiums
17 May 2024
Car Deal of the Day: SEAT Leon is an ideal family hatchback for £165 a month
SEAT Leon TSI EVO - front tracking
News

Car Deal of the Day: SEAT Leon is an ideal family hatchback for £165 a month

Excellent interior quality and efficiency make the SEAT Leon our Deal of the Day for 17 May
17 May 2024