Another new, old Land Rover Defender launches - in Selfridges

Published: 09 October 2018

► Land Rover Defender Works V8 soft-top
► Special one-off for Selfridges dept store
► 70th birthday special, 0-60mph in 5.6sec

Remember the Land Rover Defender Works V8 70th Edition, the rip-rortingly special Landie that boomeranged back to life earlier this year as the fruit of the Land Rover Classic department? 

Well now there’s another one – a soft-top Works V8, and it’s having a rather unusual debut. The one-off is being built by JLR craftsfolk in Selfridges’ flagship department store in Oxford Street, London.

These pictures capture it being craned into the first floor of the menswear department, which is being reopened later this month. The rolling chassis of the V8 will be reassembled over the next four days by Land Rover technicians – in full view of shoppers. Check back into this story later to see the finished product.

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Our original story on the Land Rover Defender Works V8 70th Edition

Look what’s back from the dead, Lazarus-like: the Land Rover Defender, relaunched in January 2018 as a low-volume, high-performance birthday special to mark the mud-plugging company’s 70th anniversary.

Land Rover Defender Works V8 70th Edition

The new Land Rover Defender Works V8 70th Edition is an interim model, designed to stimulate interest in the Defender brand which is currently enjoying an interregnum. It is not the new Defender which is due at the end of the decade, just to clear that one up…

Watch the fastest Defender ever in our video below

So it’s a ‘new’ old Defender?

You got it in one. The Works V8 name is a clue that this low-volume run (up to 150 will be made, subject to demand) is the work of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, the arm of JLR that specialises in reworking old cars.

The Defender famously went out of production in 2016, so these models are all lovingly restored/modified models of late 90s or 110s, virtually made new like continuation models. Both wheelbases and bodystyles can be converted into Works V8s.

Is the new 2018 Land Rover Defender Works V8 fast then?

The specs are pretty mind-boggling, if we’re being honest. With the group’s punchy – but naturally aspirated here – 5.0-litre V8 stuffed under the bonnet, there’s a more than ample 400bhp and 380lb ft of torque being fed to all four 18-inch diamond-turned Sawtooth alloy wheels shod in 265/65 R18 all-terrain tyres. 

It’s quite an engineering feat to get it all to work together – so the suspension and steering have been worked over to cope with that excess of grunt. Not that we’re expecting the Works V8 70th Edition to corner like a Range Rover Sport

Prices start at £150,000 for this low-volume birthday special, but it’s likely the costs will be flexible depending on the exact value of the donor vehicle.

Technical specs of new 2018 Land Rover Defender Works V8 70th Edition

An eight-speed ZF automatic handles all that twist, and even boasts a Sport function. Not a word we’ve often heard used in association with the Defender. But it’s reasonably justified: 0-60mph takes 5.6 seconds in a 90 Station Wagon Works V8, and top speed is capped at 106mph to protect your sanity and safety.

The Landie does have form here, of course. Remember that they sold a Series III Stage 1 V8 back in the day as well as a V8 for the 50th Anniversary Edition – large lumps have proved a popular addition to the Defender range in some markets (especially where fuel is cheap).

The full specs look something like this:

  • Engine 4999cc naturally aspirated V8
  • Power 400bhp @ 6000rpm
  • Torque 380lb ft @ 5000rpm
  • Transmission Eight-speed automatic, two-speed transfer box, all-wheel drive
  • Suspension Live beam axle, coil springs, Panhard rod and anti roll bar (front), live rear axle, coil springs, A-frame, trailing arms and anti-roll bar (rear)
  • Brakes 335mm discs front, 300mm discs rear, four-piston callipers all-round
  • Steering Recirculating ball, power assistance

Inside the 70th anniversary special

Naturally, the interior has been spruced up too. It’s fully tailored in Windsor leather across the Recaro sports seats, dashboard, door cards and headlining, and you get JLRs’ inhouse Classic Infotainment System slimline sat-nav too. One other nod to more modern electronics is the bi-LED headlamps, designed to actually illuminate the road ahead unlike the feeble candles on most Defenders.

Interior of Land Rover Defender Works V8

Eight paint colours will be offered on the Works V8, including two satin finishes, while the roof, wheelarches and front grille are contrasting Santorini Black. Note also the machined aluminium door handles you’ll clutch every day; the fuel filler cap and Defender bonnet lettering are equally hand-crafted.

Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic director, said: ‘It’s fitting that we’ve been able to release the full potential of the iconic Defender, whose much-loved shape remains synonymous with Land Rover, 70 years since it was seen in public for the first time. 

‘The idea of reintroducing a V8 Defender was something we were discussing as far back as 2014, when we were still building the Defender in Solihull. We knew the demand was there for a powerful and fast Defender; the Land Rover authenticity is the ultimate finishing touch for discerning clients purchasing these collector’s edition Defenders.’

Sold! How do I buy a Land Rover Defender Works V8 70th Edition?

Move fast, as a maximum of 150 models will be produced by JLR Works. You could ask your local dealer, but we’d go straight to Land Rover Classic and email them on  or call them on +44 (0)203 601 1255.

The car will be sold primarily in the UK, Middle East and North Africa. Sales in other countries will be subject to import rules on modified cars in each territory.

We lived with a Land Rover Defender just before it went off sale. Read our long-term test review here  

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet