The world is awash with retro Defenders of all kinds but this is something else. The good folks over at Commonwealth Classics have just unveiled a tasteful restoration of a ’91 Defender 90, equipped with a proper V8. According to the restomod legends, this particular vehicle was designed exclusively for a customer who wanted a unique off-roading V8 Defender 90 to accompany his existing Defender 110. Suffice to say, he got one.
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Starting out as a 200Tdi with a 5-speed transmission, Commonwealth Classics were tasked with redefining the architecture of the iconic vehicle, per the owner’s instructions. According to the brand, they were hunting a different V8 experience that separated this build from others, which eventually led them to Rover 4.6L V8 engine. A beast of a block, the addition follows the same architecture that underpins the 3.9L and 4.0L offered in the NAS Defender and in the P38 Range Rover while also seen later in the Discovery.
The donor vehicle was a ’96 P38 model and they worked with TWS Motors up in Tauntan Mass to build this 300bhp / 300lbs-ft 4.6L Rover motor, but Commonwealth Classics didn’t stop there. Some nice additions include a custom set of stainless-steel headers being bolted to a Magnaflow stainless exhaust. The R380 5-speed and the LT230 transfer case have also been modified for a taller overall ratio. They have also kept the low-range remained unchanged, but now the V8 can be exercised better in terms of the higher revs.
“We put the power to the wheels with heavy-duty components inside the R380 5-speed and the LT230 transfer case, as well as modifying the gearset in the transfer case for a taller overall ratio,” Commonwelath Classics said. “The low-range remained unchanged, but the change helps better stretch out the 4.6L V8’s legs.”
The truck meanwhile has been painted in Porsche Graphite Blue Metallic and Land Rover’s Alpine White while 235/85/16 euro-spec Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires fit in nicely within those wheel-arches. The interior has a full custom-leather upholstery across the doors, dash, front and Puma-rear seats, and window trim plus Harris Tweed has been draped across the roof with its sunroof and fixed panoramic window. They have even removed the bulkhead and replaced it with the same style support bar used on the NAS trucks. Overall, we’d say that this is one cool truck that any Defender fan would love to have in a heartbeat!