Upgrades applied to older models

Time is inching towards the official unveiling of the 2020 Land Rover Defender, but before the world becomes acclimated with that powerful new machine, the automaker is bringing things back to the past.

Numerous media outlets recently reported that Land Rover is breathing a new sense of life into older models tailored towards Defender 90 and Defender 100 vehicles built between 1994 and 2016.

Adrian Padeanu, of Motor 1, said there are numerous upgrades available as part of this backtrack into the past. The prices also range based on what vehicle owners want as part of their revised Defender models. For example, the starting off point for an 18-inch Sawtooth wheel is about $525. Want the entire set of four as well as a spare? Fork over about $2,625.

“If you happen to have an old-school Defender equipped with the 2.2-liter diesel engine built from the 2012 model year onwards, the most significant upgrade offered by Land Rover Classic squeezes an extra 39 horsepower for a grand total of 160 hp, while torque is rated at a generous 463 Newton-meters (341 pound-feet),” Padeanu said. “Doing so will lift the top speed to 106 mph, which is more than you’ll ever need in a vehicle like this.”

Jonathon Ramsey, of Auto Blog, said the wheels, brakes and suspension being offered now are built to fit any of the aforementioned models. He echoed Padeanu regarding the wheels, calling it the “easiest point of entry” among the announced upgrades. The wheels should slide onto any Defender model made after 1994, he stated.

“The Defender Suspension Upgrade Kit heightens on-road responses and works on any Defender built from the 2007 model year,” Ramsey said. “It swaps the stock unit for retuned dampers, coil springs with revised rates, and new anti-roll bars, links, and bushings.

Upgrades one year after an anniversary

The timing of these upgrades is something interesting as well. While being released prior to the 2020 Defender model, they are coming out in Europe just one year after Land Rover released a limited-edition short wheelbase Defender Works V8. It was part of the company’s 70th anniversary.

“The truck, constrained to 150 examples, was powered by a 5.0-liter V8 with 399 horsepower and given a smattering of upgraded parts to manage the power,” Ramsey said.

The braking kit for the new upgrades is actually a borrowed concept from the Defender Works V8 model. Padeanu said the suspension package on the upgrades take after the “souped-up version of the workhorse.”

“Suspension and handling packages come with Defender Works V8-spec brake discs, pads, and calipers matched to the aforementioned 18-inch wheels, while the dampers, coil spring rates, links, bushes, and anti-roll bars are all optimized,” he said.

The downside is for United States residents, due to the Defender upgrades only currently being offered in England and Germany. Who knows, it may reach a town near you in the states before the 2020 model is released.

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