Land Rover’s beloved Defender may be (temporarily) going away next year, but that isn’t stopping tuners from giving the current model a new attitude.
The outdoorsy SUV is typically offered with a range of four-cylinder diesels, but this time around, U.K. firm Wildcat Automotive has given the rugged Defender something it’s never had before: straight line speed.
Wildcat’s version has been fitted with a GM-sourced LS3 small block V8, the same 6.2-liter unit from the previous generation Corvette.
Under the Defender’s pyramid hood, the V8 makes 430 horsepower, more than 398 pound-feet of torque, and is hooked up to a six-speed automatic gearbox. However, for more mud flinging grunt, the company offers performance upgrades that can grant an additional 120 hp or more.
The Devon, England-based manufacturer has released a video detailing the swapped Defender’s capabilities. It’s no Corvette, but it’s got the blissful soundtrack down, and it’s probably quick enough to outrun a prideful lion.
Watching the big SUV sprint about with muscle car speed is almost comical to witness, but it’d likely never get old behind the wheel.
The company’s slogan reads, “Off-road is our road,” so the brand’s tendency is to bolster the suspension as well. The one featured in the photos and film you see here, though, was built to specific customer specs, and he requested small winter tires to be fitted. Outside of that, the underpinnings looks to be unchanged from the factory.
Still, the new engine, riveted fender flares, and chunky grill give the 4×4 a whole new character. One of speed, one of muscle, but chock-full of the same go-anywhere ambition.