The off-street SUV revival has been exceptional of late. We’ve noticed the return of the Ford Bronco and Land Rover Defender, and staples these types of as the Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Wrangler have been seeing some of the ideal gross sales in their new histories. But this attractiveness extends past new vehicles to basic off-roaders. Classic Broncos, Jeeps, Land Rovers, Blazers and far more are significantly sizzling. And as a end result, multiple outfits have popped up to deliver not just restored vehicles, but modified kinds to make them greater than ever. We have experienced the option to sample an current Land Rover Defender from Osprey Custom made Cars, based mostly out of North Carolina, and we are really impressed.
Osprey starts with customer’s aged Land Rover Collection or Defender models, or other current Land Rover Defenders, in this circumstance a 1991 U.S.-market place instance, and tears them down to the body and rebuilds them. But it can go over and above that. Osprey can do all forms of inside and exterior updates, as nicely as swapping out engines. Diesels as perfectly as LS V8s are out there to create your greatest Landie.
1st impressions of our check Osprey Defender 90 are rather fantastic. The paint is extremely clean and shiny. Panels all appear to be to in good shape perfectly. The updates these types of as the grille and headlights modernize it without having betraying the first structure that built people today enjoy the Defender in the to start with put. In certain, the flush-fitting home windows on the new top actually carry it up-to-day. The formal Land Rover wheels are another thoughtfully contemporary, but genuine touch.
The interior continues the topic of producing a common Defender seriously nice and very well-constructed, but retaining the experience of it getting a Defender. And importantly, not only does it experience substantial-high quality, but it also feels like it can nevertheless be utilised like an precise off-road SUV. There’s loads of leather with contrast diamond-stitching from the seats up to the roof liner. It’s a thick and rough leather that feels as while it can stand up to tough and filthy managing. The brown hue is a excellent complement to the green exterior. This distinct case in point arrives with a genuine wooden steering wheel that also feels classy and tough. There are even rubber flooring mats, once again, fantastic for earning this usable as an true truck.
Osprey has added some helpful modern-day features to this Defender, far too. Largely, it is really the Atoto aftermarket head device, which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It can be a very little little, but that is since it suits in the typical double-DIN head device slot. It is also remarkably responsive for an aftermarket unit. Osprey also added a contemporary Chevrolet console shifter, a heated windshield and rearview digital camera. But the relaxation of the sprint is very considerably vintage Land Rover. The manufacturing unit gauges, column stalks and weather control are all original. It continue to works by using the primary vital and ignition. And we take pleasure in these choices, as the switches are all robust and clicky, and it implies that it even now feels like a common Land Rover.
Granted, even if Osprey experienced long gone farther in altering the interior, the driving posture would give away the old-faculty nature of the Defender. Nothing fairly sits like this. The placement is extremely significant, so substantially so that my 1997 Suburban abruptly felt like a sporting activities car or truck by comparison. The front passengers are pushed to the absolute edges of the cabin, with shoulders rubbing up against the doors (which are themselves a bit small and make ingress and egress challenging). The pedal placement is weird, way too, with the pedals seemingly in the middle of one’s legs. But the seats themselves are thickly padded and relaxed, and there is certainly loads of area. Headroom in particular is surprising. So a lot room for hats! And surprisingly, the rear soar seats are appropriate for older people. They are also less difficult to access than the entrance seats considering that you get to them from the rear cargo doorway. Obviously, none of this is exclusive to the Osprey. It’s just what an aged Defender is like.
The overall driving working experience certainly deviates from your usual Defender, while. Underneath the hood is not the Rover V8 this truck would’ve had back again in 1991. Rather, it has a very low-miles Chevy LS3 V8 rated at about 435 horsepower and 445 pound-ft of torque (it even states Corvette on it). It is really also coupled to a GM 6L80E six-velocity computerized transmission. Curiously, the 4-wheel-push transfer case is even now from Land Rover. It can be a heavier-duty model than what the Defender initially has, but is British all the same. That also indicates it has comprehensive-time four-wheel travel with a lower-variety and center-differential lock. That is specially handy for places with inclement climate, considering that it implies you won’t have to be engaging and disengaging four-wheel drive as desired.
The motor appears fairly ferocious thanks to a custom exhaust. Coupled with the simple fact that it leans the entire truck more than for a moment at start up, it is equally giggle-inducing and somewhat scary. It truly is exciting rumbling close to, but it is fairly loud. And at highway pace, all that you can listen to is V8 roar. Of training course, this, like several other elements of Osprey’s Defenders, can be adjusted primarily based on the buyer’s choices. We’d strongly endorse going with a quieter exhaust or possibly 1 with cutouts for the most effective of both of those worlds. We would also suggest opting for distinctive transmission tuning. This truck was tuned to shift really challenging, and it failed to like shifting beneath heavier throttle. Osprey verified that the transmission was tuned this way based mostly on the customer’s need. We would significantly favor and would propose something a very little more calm and smooth in a car or truck like this. And of study course, that is an choice.
The ability is unquestionably excellent. It is really a wise total for a truck like this. It can be easily fast, but, it can be not so overpowered that it could get you into hassle. Mainly because, though it has a a little bit stiffer suspension than originally, and some substantial Brembo brakes, it’s however a Land Rover Defender with solid front and rear axles, really gradual steering (though with amazingly additional suggestions than you’d hope) and not significantly grip.
With that remaining reported, entire body roll is not outrageous for this kind of a tall off-roader, and most impressively, it rides rather perfectly. It can be a minor jostling over significant bumps, but most of the time, it can be incredibly composed and controlled. It is really not floaty or wallowy. And it really is silent. The suspension isn’t really clunky, and the human body is rock-sound. There is certainly not actually any creaking, rattling or shuddering. Even wind and highway sounds is acceptable. It is tough to notify with all the exhaust sound, but if that ended up quieted down, you’d find the Osprey to be impressively refined on the highway. It truly is a testament to the company’s build high quality.
There’s one more aspect of the driving practical experience that isn’t going to have something to do with what it really is like guiding the wheel of the Osprey. It truly is about the men and women all over you. In its muted inexperienced paint and basic black accents, I didn’t believe the Osprey was particularly flashy. And nonetheless, I have not experienced so a great deal notice in a press motor vehicle because the last time I had a McLaren. It was not even when I was finding on it with that loud exhaust. It was frequently just when I was sitting in site visitors or parked someplace. Folks were continuously inquiring what it was and complimenting me on it. This truck truly resonated with individuals, unquestionably more so than Land Rover’s existing Defender ever could.
Those things that usually are not essentially on the parts record are element of what makes some thing like this make sense, significantly with a price tag tag of amongst $150,000 and $200,000 dependent on model and attributes (the check truck had a rate of $179,950). You could totally choose up a new Land Rover Defender for only a 3rd of the cost of one of these Ospreys, and it would be extra ergonomic, useful and refined. But the motive you get a thing like the Osprey is simply because you want a little something with the character of the common, but designed nicer (and presumably, more reliable). You want it for the reason that it delights not just you, but the individuals all over you. The Osprey does that, and does it with extraordinary craftsmanship.