One of the most treasured aspects of the original Defender is its staple Rover V8 engine. The 3.5L V8 reminded us all of the “Little Engine Who Could” with its ability to pull through just about anything (somehow). But as the engine got more advanced with time, the 4.0L version of the Rover V8 proved itself to be a workhorse that ultimately couldn’t keep up with the times.
Until 2015, companies such as ECD offered restored Defenders with fully rebuilt Rover V8 engines (at the client’s request, the engine option is still offered today). As time went on, ECD began to notice that the old workhorse just didn’t meet the needs of its clients, who expected the powerful and custom exterior of their vehicle to come with performance to match. Already itching to introduce something more innovative to its custom builds, ECD had already been plotting on making its Defender V8 the next big thing for Defenders. Then came Project Beast, a vehicle whose design and planning alone sent shivers up the spines of the ECD founders. Drooling over the design, the entirety of Project Beast set the precipice for a whole new wave of vehicles being produced by ECD. In matte black (another first for ECD), the Defender 110 would be the company’s first Defender with an LS3 V8 under the bonnet. The small-block Corvette engine took months of planning, design, and engineering, the results of which produced the ultimate timeless classic built to rival any off-road vehicle in modern times.
Project Beast made waves, beat records, headlined articles, and started the movement for the Defender V8 swap. With the blueprint for seamless installs and ensured nationwide service (through the GM engine warranty), ECD’s drivetrain team (headed by Charlie) made the LS3 engine the standard for the company from that point onward. But of course, after that, ECD couldn’t stop there and has since introduced powerhouse after powerhouse to its V8 engine lineup. The company now offers the 5.3L LC9, LT1, 6.2L LS3, 565 HP LS3+, and the ridiculously powerful 640 HP LT4 V8 engines from GM for its custom Defenders. 640 HP in a Defender? ECD says, “why not?”
The new wave of V8 Defenders has been set as the go-to option for the American Market, in large part due to its ease of maintenance and familiarity with its performance. Other companies such as Arkonik and Twisted have also started offering the LS3 and the LT1 for their V8 Defenders. But can one honestly hear about an insane and rare off-road vehicle having a Corvette engine under the hood and not be intrigued? While many Defender enthusiasts prefer the nostalgia of the original Rover V8, it is clear that the latest V8 Defender innovation is one that is here to stay as the now 30-year-old classic continues to dominate into the 21st century.
Unit 107 – 4930 Industrial Lane Kissimmee, FL 34758
UK logistics Center
Unit 5 Crown Industrial Estate
© 2022 ECD Automotive Design. All images are the property of ECD Auto Design and cannot be used without our consent. E.C.D. Automotive Design is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Jaguar Land Rover Limited, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, including Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC. DEFENDER and RANGE ROVER are registered trademarks of Jaguar Land Rover Limited. We build restored defenders, range rover classic’s, and jaguar etypes.