The Anvil Defender is the work of Blacksmith Engineering, an engineering powerhouse dedicated to rebuilding classic 4x4s to be stronger, faster, and more capable. Think of them as the guys who build real life A-Team vehicles, sans Mr T, Murdoch, and Hannibal.

The Land Rover Defender is an off-roader that needs no introduction. It’s a 4×4 that was directly based on the Series 1, 2, and 3 Land Rovers of the 20th century – with the addition of some modern engineering, a far more livable interior, and mod-cons like air-conditioning, power steering, and electric windows.

Since leaving production in 2016 the many hundreds of thousands of surviving Defenders have seen a surge in popularity and price, and garages like Blacksmith Engineering have been doing a roaring trade developing “Skunk Works” versions of the model with far more power that they ever had from the factory.

The custom Land Rover Defender you see here started life as a Military-Spec 1987 Land Rover Defender 110, the only major parts that remain after the rebuild are the bulkhead, skin, military-issue roll cage, removable tin top, and the transfer case.

Typically when featuring a vehicle I’ll write about it myself but in this case, the team at Blacksmith Engineering have done such a detailed job of documenting their work that I’m just going to turn it over to them to tell you about the build in minute detail:


Invigorated with a fully remanufactured and built Cummins 4BT Turbo Diesel P-pump engine which is fitted with a #10 fuel plate for improved fuel delivery and achieves 30 mpg during normal highway and city driving. Hamilton camshaft was fitted for increased performance and ARP head studs were used for durability. Fluidamper harmonic balancer and liquid filled engine mounts were used to reduce engine vibration. The Holset hybrid HY35/HX30 turbocharger fed by cold air intake and custom liquid to air charge air cooler provides better airflow for performance.

The cross-flow two row custom aluminum radiator, custom fan shroud and engine driven clutch fan provide ample cooling for the 4BT engine. Fuel is supplied to the engine with all new fuel lines using a 2 micron filter system and a new Land Rover 30 gal. steel fuel tank all mounted with new mounting hardware. The exhaust is custom fitted with full stainless three-inch exhaust tubing, Steed Speed exhaust manifold for performance Fitted in the engine bay is an electric assist power steering system and stock manual steering gear.

Anvil Land Rover Defender Engine Underside


The drivetrain is fitted with the proven and Durable ZF5-S42 5-speed manual transmission and a South Bend high performance single disc clutch with Diesel Conversion Specialists adapter plates. It has an upgraded modern clutch slave cylinder providing improved leverage for easier pedal pressure.

The LT230 transfer case with 1:1 high range gearing and ATB differential make this truck a true all-wheel drive when needed, retains the low range crawling capabilities and still allows for 80+ mph highway cruising capability. The drivetrain was upgraded for maximum strength with; new bearings, new seals, new series six bolt flanges, new universal joints and one-ton axles. Detroit soft locker differential in the rear and Detroit Truetrac differential in the front for excellent all terrain traction.

Anvil Land Rover Defender Chassis


The body and drivetrain sit on a brand-new Land Rover 300 TDI structurally updated and fully galvanized frame with new black semi-gloss Wolf wheels fitted with Goodyear 235/85-16 Dura Trac tires.


Rear twin piston disc brake system using Land Rover components and Front Forbyn Bros custom 11-inch slotted and vented disc brakes with four piston Wilwood calipers all powered by a Hydraulic brake booster creates brakes with state of the art modern capabilities and standards. Old Man Emu springs and shocks upgrade the suspension all around to support the larger Diesel engine and provide vastly improved ride and handling.

Anvil Land Rover Defender Offroad 2


The aluminum body was stripped down to bare metal and all body components were individually prepped and repainted in Land Rover Coniston Green and semi-gloss black. The roll cage was powder coated black and all new rubber window channels and seals were installed. A Puma bonnet was added for a more powerful look and improved clearance in the engine bay for the engine along with a KBX grill facia kit and a wet weather heater intake cover.

Billet aluminum hinges from Optimill provide more robust and maintenance free operation. The front and rear of the truck are adorned with matching custom fabricated steel bumpers. A lighter weight Smittybuilt X20 10,000lb synthetic rope wireless remote-control winch is installed on the front bumper and a BEC custom fabricated swing out spare wheel mount installed on the rear bumper.

Anvil Land Rover Defender 1


Open up the doors and you will find Exmoor black leather heated front seats, Exmoor black leather forward facing lock and fold seats in the second row and Exmoor black leather rear inward facing fold down bench seats in the rear. The upper and lower dash, visors and cubby box are wrapped in black leather. In the dash is a Raptor Engineering center pod for control switches and gauges which is also pre-wired for additional lighting. Interior body panels are custom fitted matching the seat and headliner material.

A custom headliner is installed on the removable hardtop. The steering column is fitted with a Moto Lita steering wheel and Billet aluminum covers from Optimill are fitted to the pedals. The windshield is heated while a Land Rover heater and air conditioning system keeps the cab temperature comfortable in all weather. A Sony GS610BT receiver with Bluetooth phone and USB connectivity is paired with 4 JL Audio MX650 speakers, 2 JL Audio 6W3V3 Subwoofers and a JL XD700/5 Amplifier.  Dynamat heat and sound barrier as well as Land Rover insulating mats throughout the cabin to reduce noise and enhance cab comfort.

If you’d like to see more from Blacksmith Engineering or order your own vehicle, you can click here to visit their website.

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Images – ©2019 Stan Evans

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Watch the Behind-the-Scenes footage from the photoshoot below:

Published by Ben Branch -