If there’s one factor you can not belief, it is your personal reminiscence. Research have proven that even the recollections we expect we’re certain of, so-called flashbulb recollections—for instance, the place you have been whenever you realized of the 9/11 assaults—could be corrupted by time. Even with out these research, many people have had moments in maturity after we reached for the title of an individual we as soon as knew properly and got here up empty. However for all the thoughts’s fallibility, there are some issues that may make its flashbulbs go off like a pack of paparazzi on the tail of a TikTok star. Issues such because the Osprey Land Rover Defender.

This Defender seems loads like those Land Rover bought in america from 1993 to 1997 and elsewhere nearly constantly since 1983. However this one is newer than its 1993 registration suggests. It’s the product of a small manufacturing outfit—Osprey Customized Vehicles—that places Defender our bodies on a brand new body, drops in a contemporary engine, matches some up to date inside bits, and sells the ensuing machine for six figures to individuals who’ve run out of causes to say no.

Michael SimariAutomotive and Driver

The instance we drove for this story had the physique from a Land Rover Defender 110, which was shipped from England to Osprey’s meeting web site in Wilmington, North Carolina. As soon as stateside, its panels have been painted Keswick Inexperienced and bolted onto a brand new body fabricated with galvanized metal. Beneath is a lifted suspension with taller-than-stock coil springs and dampers. Motivation comes from a Basic Motors-sourced LS3 V-8 mated to a GM six-speed automated transmission. It makes about 430 horsepower on this software, although a 335-hp V-8 could be fitted, such because the one we drove earlier this 12 months, to maintain prices down.

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Inside, the cabin is swathed in leather-based, together with the seats. Varied buttons and knobs really feel interval acceptable to the mid-Nineteen Nineties, though some aren’t. Osprey says the facility entrance home windows, as an illustration, have been by no means out there on North American-spec Defenders, nor have been the clearly modern aftermarket touchscreen infotainment system and the pushbutton shifter setup.

Michael SimariAutomotive and Driver

Defenders additionally by no means got here with stonking V-8s just like the LS3. The unique North American Defender 110 did have a V-8, however it was a 3.9-liter lump that made solely 182 horsepower. The roaring LS3, however, is a 6.2-liter mill acquainted from the C6 Corvette, the place it made a robust 435 horses. That is extra energy than you may get even within the new 2021 Land Rover Defender, which tops out at 395 ponies, and it is much more than you want in a high-riding truck that feels completely locked in battle with the legal guidelines of physics. At full thrust, the wind whistles previous the Osprey’s vast aspect mirrors, its off-road-oriented tires squirm for traction, and the passing surroundings flirts with being a blur. That is nonetheless a 4700-pound brick, in spite of everything.

That entertaining assault in your senses is unquestionably a major motivator for Osprey’s clients, as the remainder of the truck’s driving expertise can be unfamiliar to most individuals searching for a $189,950 automobile. The Osprey’s bumpy journey meant we needed to brace our proper foot towards the middle tunnel to maintain regular stress on the accelerator. The steering is sluggish, which makes navigating fast corners an act of future planning. And its operating lights are so dim that we generally questioned whether or not they have been on in any respect, even when the indicator icon on the sprint stated they have been. Fortunately, flipping on the Osprey-installed LED headlights gives a extra fashionable flood of sunshine.

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Michael SimariAutomotive and Driver

However maybe these annoyances are what helps this Defender catapult its driver again in time so successfully. Even these of us who’ve by no means pushed an unique Defender have been blasted with nostalgia by its varied buttons, knobs, and levers that click on in and misplaced with a satisfying tactility absent in fashionable vehicles. And one staffer who was skeptical of this costly monument to ruggedness nonetheless admitted that it introduced again recollections of driving genuine Land Rovers a long time earlier.

Sadly, autos could be as imperfect as our recollections. We in the end weren’t in a position to full our take a look at of this Defender as a result of, throughout the first go down our take a look at monitor’s straightaway at wide-open throttle, the buildup of stress within the exhaust system blew a gap by way of its muffler. Osprey proprietor Aaron Richardet stated that in mild of our truck’s failure the corporate would spec a special muffler on Defenders with the LS3 engine, beginning with the half-built ones already within the workshop. Points corresponding to this are one of many dangers Richardet’s clients take once they go for one among Osprey’s customized creations, which is why they’re lined by a full one-year guarantee. “If you need a brand-new automobile that is going to carry out flawlessly, go purchase a brand new Land Cruiser,” Richardet stated. “However if you would like one thing that appears cool, has a cool sound, retains its worth, and fulfills that itch [for something unique], I feel we do it finest.”

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