Land Rover Classic limited release


The 2023 Classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition was inspired by a Series IIa Land Rover owned and used by Land Rover founder, Spencer Wilks and the Hebridean island where he holidayed.



The Wilks’ Laggan Estate on Islay (pronounced eye-la) was used to test early prototypes and in 1947, while Spencer was driving his heavily modified Rover across the rugged landscape, the estate’s gamekeeper remarked that it must be a ‘Land Rover’: thus the name was born.

Based on the same technical specification as the Classic Defender Works V8, the Islay Edition is powered by a 298 kW 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine, mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. 



Each vehicle is comprehensively restored, re-engineered and upgraded by the Land Rover Classic division, utilising donor vehicles from 2012-2016. Each carefully crafted and hand-assembled vehicle is a luxurious, collectible classic Defender, from the original manufacturer.

The Works V8 Islay Edition is limited to 30 examples, of which 17 are 90 short wheelbase and 13 are seven-seat 110 versions.

The Classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition is finished in Heritage Grey – derived from the Mid Grey paint of Wilks’ original vehicle – with a contrast roof and steel wheels finished in Limestone. 

Traditional Land Rover logos and badging are finished in body colour and there’s a classic-style grille, familiar from the run-out Defender Heritage Limited Edition.

Unique to the Works V8 Islay Edition is a side graphic reading ‘GXC 639C’ – the registration of Wilks’ Series IIa – which provides a subtle nod to the vehicle that inspired this themed version of the classic Defender.

As with previous editions of Defender Works V8s, the Islay Edition features modern enhancements including LED headlights, uprated suspension and braking systems, tailored for on-road performance and dynamics.




Windsor Ebony leather covers the Premium Defender seats, side trim, doors, roof lining and dashboard. Body colour detail surrounds the centre console and Classic Infotainment System – the latter incorporating satellite navigation, DAB radio and Bluetooth into an original display and fascia. 

Unusually for a Classic Defender, the footwells are carpeted. Upholstery and trim highlights are finished in tweed, crafted by the Islay Woollen Mill.



The centre bin’s removable tray features the oak of whisky barrels sourced from the islands award winning Kilchoman Distillery. The clock in the centre of the dashboard also mirrors the wood grain of the other features.

Kilchoman Distillery has a family connection to Spencer Wilks, whose granddaughter Kathy Wills established the distillery with her husband, Anthony, in 2005. A ‘639’ limited edition whisky is also being produced in honour of the Defender Islay, and each client will be presented with a bottle to enhance their vehicle’s collectability.



Oak wood veneer detailing extends to the rear loadspace floor. The Defender Islay Edition is priced from Stg£230,000 for the 90 and Stg£245,000 for the 110 in the UK.

JLR Australia will not be importing the Classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition, so customer enquiries should be directed to Land Rover Classic – / +44 (0) 2476 566 600 /

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