Creating a bespoke, one-off vehicle for a movie is no mean feat, and there have been countless cars over the years which have become legends - even cult classics - in their own rights, thanks to their roles in popular films. Think Delorean DMC-12 from Back To The Future, the Ford Mustang GT 390 from Bullitt or even the Batmobile/Tumbler from Batman Begins.
The task is even more daunting when the movie happens to be the most recent James Bond, and not one, but three different models are to be featured. This is precisely what was asked of Land Rover for the blockbuster, Spectre which featured the Range Rover Sport SVR, the new Land Rover Discovery Sport and of course the iconic Defender, albeit in a very unique trim.
It is the Defender, or Defender SVX, which has attracted the most attention. Perhaps due in part to its retirement from the Land Rover stable, and the fact that for the movie Spectre, this particular Defender was so thoroughly made over, it inspired the passions and imagination of Defender lovers the world over. Not much has been known about the magnificent special edition SVX until more recently that is.
Created by Jaguar Land Rover's SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) the Defender SVX's primary task was being able to conquer the gruelling, snow-covered Austrian Alps during filming for the movie Spectre. And, of course, apart from just looking the part, it needed to be able to handle the abuse thrown at it, by both the very low temperatures of the Alps, but also from the stunt drivers and stunt coordinators on set.
In total ten Defender SVX models were created, with one of them being wrecked on set and the other serving as an exhibition model for Land Rover. The remaining eight models were sold off to collectors around the world, with one of them - as you can see from the video below - happening to be Harry Metcalfe, the well-known and well-respected journalist, car collector and founder of Evo Magazine.
The beast which is the Defender SVX starts life as a regular Defender 110 double-cab model, from which point almost everything is worked over by the SVO team. Starting with the wheels and tyres which give the SVX that imposing, aggressive stance. The tyres are almost a metre tall and over 30 centimetres wide and are unique in that they bolt together with the rims, allowing for very low air pressures - as low as 10PSI - perfect for thick snow and muddy conditions. To cover those huge tyres there are unique overarches/fenders which were created specifically for the SVX.
Up front, the Defender SVX receives a bespoke cut-away bumper which houses a massive winch capable of pulling an almost unbelievable 4500kg, a unique blacked-out grille and xenon headlamps. A requisite snorkel - particularly useful in thick snow which might clog up regular air intakes - and powerful quad spotlight arrangement for those pitch black Austrian Alp nights.
A stealthy black roll cage and rooftop storage tray surrounds the entire exterior portion of the passenger compartment, connects and bolts together with a secondary interior roll cage, providing ultimate driver and passenger protection and safety.
Inside the SVX things look a little more standard spec Defender - even the steering wheel is the same as you would find in any other model - however, the seats give away the fact that the SVX is no normal Defender, being special race-type items from Recaro, complete with race harnesses. Which are great for added driver and front passenger safety, terrible for rear passenger space, though.
Powering the SVX is the same 2.2-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine powering the rest of the Defender range. However, like the rest SVX it has had a thorough makeover, this time by Land Rover specialists Bowler who after some fettling (new ECU and larger intercooler) have bumped power up to roughly 135kW and torque to 500Nm, a significant jump from the 90kW/360Nm standard output.
As you can see from the footage in the video, the SVX can pretty much tackle any terrain thrown at it, courtesy of the bespoke race suspension, also by Bowler, who by the way also happen to make Dakar ready race cars. Bilstein shocks, rose jointed suspension, huge anti-roll bars and limited slip differentials - there isn't much the SVX doesn't have. What it does have is a massive amount of wheel articulation and ground clearance, allowing it transverse almost any obstacles.
We won't give away what happens in the video, but we recommend giving it a watch, particularly around the 8-minute mark.
Suffice to say that there will never be a more capable 4x4 than the legendary Land Rover Defender, even in standard trim. With the Defender SVX though, will surely become a cult classic and rightfully earn its place amongst the Deloreans, Mustangs and the one and only Batmobile.
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