Every now and again the Automotive industry presents a challenge to all the greatest classic vehicles of all time, and the Chevrolet LS3 Performance engine being placed into a classic Land Rover Defender seems to be one of the most highly desired from Land Rover enthusiasts. A 1990s era Land Rover Defender topped speeds at maybe about 60 mph max, taking a full 30 seconds to get there. Being a large bodied off-road vehicle simply meant the Land Rover Defender needed to be able to handle the challenge of tough terrain, but the Chevy LS3 engine has enthusiasts seeking speed in the Land Rover Defender as well.
East Coast Defender, after winning the 2016 Festivals of Speed People’s Choice Award, recently took our Project Beast out to test what the LS3 in a Land Rover Defender D110 could really do, and the results were more than just impressive. Over-taking the speed of its original 1985 counterpart, ECD’s Beast topped that same 60 mph but in 7 seconds easily, and demanded we push it to over 100 mph. With that high of a speed and the amount of torque, Project Beast required that East Coast Defender upgraded everything else in the vehicle to match the power of the LS3.
Since the LS3 isn’t originally built for a Defender, ECD had to custom fit it for the project, a possibly difficult task without the vast Land Rover knowledge of ECD’s newest Production Manager, Glenn, who has 25 years of Land Rover Defender experience. Next came Project Beast’s other upgrades, like its Ashcroft drive shafts and axles with limited slip differentials. To ensure Beast could reach its max speed while also being able to stop effectively, and most importantly safely, ECD upgraded the braking system to 8 Pot front braking and 6 Pot rear braking with an upgraded all Terrafirma Suspension.
“It’s a relatively small aluminium engine, there’s so much power in such a small package,” ECD Owner and Project Manager Elliot states, “Probably one of the best things about the LS3 is it has tried and tested reliability to compliment the high expectation of standards. The LS3 has a 50,000 mile/2-year warranty and the transmission a 100,000 mile/2-year warranty, also it’s serviceable everywhere in the USA.”
With 10 LS3 Land Rover Defender’s in the works of being built in our Florida facility and primarily shipping to clients in the USA, the LS3 made it an easy decision for East Coast Defender to offer it as a drive-train upgrade. Well that and the fact that we love to modernize Defenders with complete premium upgrades. Not only have we ensured that our builds are easily serviceable, we’ve also added features like the automatic transmission push button shifter to make the Land Rover Defender the ultimate USA SUV.
“Always trying to out-do ourselves I think going forward we’ll upgrade to air suspension so clients have the option to change to 3 different heights for extra clearance, off-roading, and every day traveling. It just gets the blood flowing and sets a completely different tone for the Land Rover Defender.” – Production Manager and 25-year Land Rover veteran, Glenn.