What happens when you get an ambitious 20-year-old to modify a 2004 TD5 defender 90? An insanely modified beast! That’s what happened when Ollie picked up a project from his dad’s friend who wanted a custom Defender. However, companies that specialized in modifying them would charge an arm and a leg and still not get all the specifications right, so Ollie decided to take on the challenge after discussing it over dinner one day.
The dad’s friend is a car collector who does a lot of shooting, and he wanted to add one to the collection that could be used for hunting trips, so Ollie built a ‘shooting vehicle.’ The work began in 2018 and took a year to complete. He worked on it with a family friend who did the fabrication and brackets while Ollie was the project manager, ordering parts for the car and influencing the overall vision of the Defender.
So how does Ollie know so much about cars? Well, the dad is a car enthusiast, which rubbed off on him, first owning a 1990 land rover with a 200Tdi engine but not liking everything about it; he began modifying it and other land rovers, which led to the dad’s friend job.
Let’s look at some of the features and performance of this one of a kind build kitted with a corvette engine!
What makes this Defender so unique is that they swapped out the old diesel engine with 170,000 miles on it for a new Corvette engine! A 6.2 liter LS3 V8 engine mated to a Tremec T56 6-speed manual gearbox pushing out 430 hp with 426 Nm of torque! What’s more, Ollie thinks it could be more than that as they had installed a performance stainless steel exhaust with better headers prior to the shoot with Ricky from living life fast.
They had to make custom brackets and move the engine back 10 cm to clear the steering box and the front axle. It resulted in the engine’s balance point being right on the bulkhead, pushing the weight further back in the car, improving the ride and handling.
They revamped the Defender by installing a new steering box and poly bushes. They also lowered the car by 2,” and with the 18″ wheels and progressive springs installed, the ride becomes firmer and less sharp on bumpy roads or rough terrain. The Defender also has constant four-wheel drive with a limited-slip rear axle and operated front axle.
Ollie notes that the Corvette engine Defender is still a highly capable off-roader, but it’s ridiculously fun to drive on tarmac.
Built with a gun owner in mind, the Defender has a custom gun safe that runs the length of the car, capable of fitting long guns as well as a cartridge holder, a drinks rack, and a few coat hooks.
It has a modern touch to it with a full pioneer system installed with a touch screen dashboard display with all the bells and whistles like apple car play and a subwoofer to match the sound. There’s a side step on either side of the car to make entry and exit easier for occupants.
The Defender has a fiberglass bonnet with a hood scoop, 18″ BFGOODRICH® – All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, EBC disk brakes, and progressive handling suspension. Surprisingly they were able to keep the car’s weight low at 1,700 kilos even with all the modifications.
Ricky and Ollie soon hit the winding roads of the English countryside to have a feel of the Defender. The moment Ricky starts the engine, you immediately hear it purr like a sports car! The corvette engine comes alive, and you realize you’re looking at a Defender but hearing a Corvette. It’s a strange combination, and even the onlookers can’t help but wonder what’s under the hood. Ollie mentions that it does get a lot of looks when out and about mostly because of the sound.
Not long after, Ricky can’t help but floor it on small stretches of straight road, and you can see Ollie’s face change a couple of times, wearing a look of surprise. It gives you a good idea of how the car accelerates almost immediately and handles beautifully. Ricky notes that initially, the clutch felt light, which is unheard of in a Defender, and it took some getting used to, but once that’s out of the way, it’s smooth sailing.
Ollie’s build proves to be a beast, and we hope we can see more outrageous builds like this on SUVs and trucks in the future!