The classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition was inspired by the Land Rover Series IIa that Wilks himself drove and the Hebrides island off Scotland where he used to vacation. This model is now part of the collection of the Land Rover Classic division.
The Wilks’s Laggan estate was used as a testing ground for early prototypes. In 1947, while traveling around the ruggedly beautiful island of Aila in a heavily modified Rover, the caretaker of the estate suggested that it should be called a Land Rover. So that’s how this name caught on.
The Islay Edition version meets the same technical specifications as the classic Defender Works V8 model. It is equipped with a 5-liter V8 naturally aspirated gasoline engine producing 405 hp and an eight-speed automatic ZF gearbox. Islay Edition, like the Works V8, from 0 to 96 km/h. accelerates in 5.6 seconds, and the maximum speed of the car reaches 170 km/h.
Each of the 30 examples has been fully restored, redesigned and improved using the 2012-2016 part of produced and discontinued SUVs of this model. The classic model also uses the Defender Suspension Upgrade kit, which consists of specifically tuned modern suspension parts. As a result, the car is even more comfortable and dynamic on the road. Additionally, the addition of improved Works V8 spec brake discs, pads and calipers allows for increased stopping power.
17 Works V8 Islay Edition cars will be built using the shorter 90 body model, while a further 13 will be longer versions of the seven-seat 110 body model.
“In 2023 we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Land Rover. Spencer Wilks and the Isle of Islay are an important part of our history and the classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition is a fitting way to help us mark an important anniversary. The car reflects another special vehicle of ours, the beautiful Spencer Wilks Series II, enriched with special details from the beautiful Isle of Aila. Authenticity, state-of-the-art engineering and the exceptional work of our skilled engineers and technicians make this limited edition classic Defender a special car. It is aimed at the discerning customer looking for the very best in Land Rover heritage,” said Land Rover Classic Director Paul Barritt.
A timeless look
The classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition is painted in Heritage Grey, echoing the color of Mr. Wilks’ original model. A white roof and solid, limestone-coated steel wheels are used for contrast. The wheel arches have also been painted in Heritage Gray for a better look.
The Works V8 Islay Edition also features the number GXC 639C stamped on the side of the car, a reference to the registration number of Mr. Wilks’ Series IIa car that inspired the model.
Like previous Defender Works V8s, the Islay Edition features other modern enhancements. It is equipped with a modern suspension and braking system, as well as innovative LED headlights.
The interior of the Defender Works V8 Islay Edition is where the car’s connection to the Isle of Islay and Land Rover’s origins is perhaps most evident. The Defender’s seats, side trim, doors, headliner and dashboard are wrapped in luxurious Windsor Ebony leather. It is also used in current Land Rover models.
The center console and classic infotainment system controls are surrounded by body-colored detailing. Although the car is classic, it has a modern infotainment system with digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity. From the outside, it looks like an old-timey piece of equipment. The Heritage Gray body color also covers the details around the automatic transmission’s shift lever.
A plaque is installed next to the gear lever, recalling the history of the origin of the Land Rover name. At its epicenter is Laggan Manor Ian Duncan’s shout-out to Mr Wilks after his heavily modified Rover, which later became the Series I model, attempts to make his car more accurately called a Land Rover.
In addition, Land Rover Heritage logos are embossed on the steering wheel and headrests in the seats. Somewhat unusually for a classic Defender, the entire floor is covered with quality carpet. This gives the car an even greater impression of luxury.
Connections to the island of Aila are conveyed in thoughtful details, which can be found throughout the cabin. The shoulder area of the seats, parts of the doors, the cover of the central armrest and the detail hidden behind the sun visor are decorated with specially selected tweed. The material woven in the Aila Woolen Factory conveys a unique connection to the place and is a testament to its importance in the history of the Defender.
Another thing that strengthens the connection with the island is built into the central compartment – a removable tray with leather tabs. It is made from oak whiskey barrels. These are sourced from award winning Kilchoman Distillery.
Each coaster features a unique 110mm wooden disc with authentic stencil lettering. Carved from a single piece of oak, the disc replicates the bottom of a whiskey barrel. This means that each car is unique and unique. The disc is housed in a case covered with American walnut veneer. The jeweled joints make its finish look exquisite.
Oak veneer detailing extends all the way to the boot floor, and the beautiful and durable finish meets the same exacting quality and engineering standards as the latest Range Rover models. The clock in the center of the instrument panel also stands out with wood grain.
The Defender Islay Edition is priced from £230,000 (approx. €262,000) for the 90 body model and £245,000 (approx. €279,000) for the 110.