Land Rover Unveils Factory-Built Off-Road Kits to Upgrade Classic Defender

If you own an old-school Defender, you can now buy suspension, brake, engine, and even wheel upgrades directly from Land Rover Classic.

byChris Chin|
Land Rover News photo

Current and past versions of the Land Rover Defender are quite antiquated, and that’s clearly reflected by their design and engineering which dates back many decades. But if you’re a current owner or restorer looking to bring your old box slightly more up to modern spec, then Land Rover is here to give you a helping hand. The automaker just revealed a whole range of upgrade kits for both the short-wheelbase 90 and long-wheelbase 110 versions of the Defender.

Land Rover Classic announced that it’ll be offering upgrade options for Defenders built between 1994 and 2016. Sadly, that automatically excludes pretty much any Defender that potentially exists on U.S. soil since they stopped selling here officially in 1997. Any Defender here also must be at least 25 years or older to avoid the crusher.

But nonetheless, if you are lucky enough to own an eligible Defender, you can now opt for suspension, brake, engine, and even wheel upgrades directly from Land Rover Classic.

For starters, buyers can opt for the “Defender Suspension Upgrade Kit," which includes components originally introduced on the limited-edition Defender Works V8 70th Edition model, such as coil springs and shocks with revised rates, new anti-roll bars, and improved suspension bushings and links to improve on-road handling and comfort. Should one want to go a step further, the next level up is the “Defender Handling Upgrade Kit,” which includes all of the latter, but adds heavier duty rotors, pads, calipers, and 18-inch “Sawtooth” wheels.

Folks with the 2.2-liter TDCi diesel models shouldn't feel left out. The “Defender Classic Works Upgrade Kit” features all of the aforementioned gear, but adds some tweaks to the engine, upping the output of the diesel engine to roughly 160 horsepower and 341 pound-feet of torque, up from 122 hp and 265 lb-ft.

“In 2018, Land Rover’s 70th Anniversary year, we saw unprecedented demand for the limited-edition Defender Works V8, which brought new levels of handling and performance to this iconic vehicle,” Land Rover Classic chief Calum McKechnie said in a statement. “Extending the range of fully engineered, tested and approved upgrades offered by Land Rover Classic underlines our commitment to supporting existing Defender owners, as we look forward to the new Defender’s world premiere later this year.”

Even though none of these upgrades are available from U.S.-based dealers, given how proactive the Defender community is stateside we don’t doubt that a few ambitious individuals will find a way to import these parts and retrofit them to existing models. But until then, we'll have to wait until the new Defender makes its debut.

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