This is almost certainly the most powerful, and possibly the most ludicrous, Land Rover Defender we’ve ever featured. It was built by 3R Automotive in the USA, and it’s powered by a Whipple supercharged 6.2 liter LS3 V8.

This Defender started life as a relatively standard 1985 long wheelbase two-door model. It was bought in 2017 by a new owner who lavished over $350,000 USD on the full rebuild, turning it into a SEMA show car and likely one of the most powerful Defenders ever made.

Fast Facts – An LS3 V8-Powered Defender Pick Up Truck

  • The Land Rover Defender debuted in 1983, initially named the Land Rover Ninety and One Ten, denoting wheelbase lengths. The name Defender was applied in 1990 as a way to differentiate the model from the then-new Land Rover Discovery.
  • The Defender closely followed the styling and engineering cues that had been laid down by the earlier Series Land Rovers. It did incorporate a slew of major upgrades, with much improved suspension, brakes, interior comfort, and drivetrain options.
  • A factory V8 version of the Defender was offered, with the Rover 3.5 liter alloy V8 that was later updated to the 3.9 liter version of the same engine. These factory-V8 vehicles are now sought after by collectors.
  • There is a growing community of garages building custom Defenders, largely in the United States and Britain. These custom versions of the vehicle can be extreme, with LS3 V8 crate engines, upgraded suspension and brakes, and luxurious interior fit outs costing well into the six-figures.

3R Automotive

3R Automotive, also known as 3R Racing, was founded by racing driver Robert Raub in 1985. The company name came from the fact that there are three “Rs” in his full name. Raub had enjoyed much success racing in SCCA Trans Am and IMSA Series during the early 1980s with Oftedahl Racing, winning a stack of races and making a name for himself in the process.

Land Rover Defender Pick Up Truck 5

Image DescriptionPower is now provided by a 6.2 liter LS3 V8 fitted with a 2.9 liter Whipple supercharger, it’s said to be good for produces 650+ bhp, and it can send the Defender from 0 – 62 mph in just 5.3 seconds.

One of Raub’s other great passions, besides racing, was classic cars. He founded 3R Automotive in Colorado specifically as a high-end classic car restoration and collision repair workshop, at first with just two employees.

The company earned a solid reputation relatively quickly and as a result the business grew, first moving to a 5000 sq ft facility in 1989, then into a 12,000 sq ft location in Englewood, Colorado in 1993. The company branched out into vintage race car preparation, and it now employs 19 people across all its sectors.

The Supercharged Defender Pick Up Truck Shown Here

This 1985 Defender now looks almost nothing like it did when it first rolled out of the factory in England. It was handed over to 3R Automotive for a full rebuild and it seems that cost was no option.

The vehicle was completely disassembled and then carefully put back together with a wide range of new performance parts, resulting in it now being possibly the fastest Defender we’ve ever featured.

The rebuild included converting the body to a single cab pick up, it had a full-length roof fitted previously. The body was then repainted in white with a black roof and checker-plated bed flooring. Black wheel-arch flares and bumpers were installed, and it was given a white and black ventilated hood to ensure plenty of cool airflow into the engine bay.

Land Rover Defender Pick Up Truck 4

Image DescriptionThis Land Rover now rides on black 15″ wheels with 35×12.50″ Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires, and it has a Warn winch mounted up front in case you get yourself stuck.

The key to its performance is the supercharged 6.2 liter LS3 V8 under the hood. The engine was fitted with an LS Hot camshaft, a 2.9 liter Whipple supercharger, and a custom cold air intake. It now produces 650+ bhp, with 3R Automotive explaining that it can do the 0 – 62 mph dash in just 5.3 seconds.

Of course, you can’t just upgrade the engine and not the brakes and suspension (not if you want to stay living), and so this is where 3R Automotive next turned their attention. It was fitted with TeraFlex lifted suspension front and back as well as new radius rods and custom RockJock Antirock sway bars.

Land Rover Discovery disc brakes were then added front and back, a major upgrade over the original brakes, and black 15″ wheels were bolted into place and shod with 35×12.50″ Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires.

A Warn winch is fitted up front along with an alloy bash plate and a tubular steel radiator protector. Inside the cab you’ll find two Recaro bucket seats with black upholstery and houndstooth inserts. Between them is an aftermarket console that has two cupholders and a Powertrain Control Solutions push-button shifter on the armrest.

The Puma dashboard has been upholstered in black leather, it has a Momo three-spoke steering wheel, and it’s now fitted with an Alpine double-DIN stereo and an aftermarket sound system. To keep the occupants cool (or warm) a Vintage Air climate-control system has been installed – it also has a push button starter and USB outlets for charging devices on the go.

Land Rover Defender Pick Up Truck 2

Image DescriptionInside you’ll find a leather-trimmed dash, two Recaro bucket seats with black upholstery and houndstooth inserts, a Momo steering wheel, an Alpine stereo, air conditioning, and push-button controls for a 6L80E 6-speed automatic transmission.

Power from that LS3 is sent back through a 6L80E 6-speed automatic transmission to a dual-range transfer case and then out to all four wheels. When it was first built this vehicle had a black roll bar fitted with KC off-road lights and a spare wheel mounted in the bed, this all now seems to have been removed which is a shame as it did suit rather well.

It’s now due to roll across the auction block with Mecum at their Glendale Auction in early March. It has just 2,609 miles on the odometer at the time of cataloguing and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.

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Images courtesy of Mecum

Published by Ben Branch -