Work Or Play

Land Rover Defender Turbo Diesel

Published in the May 2019 Issue May 2019 Build, Feature

By Shawn Clegg

Photos By Stan Evans Photography


Old trucks like Broncos, Defenders, Blazers and Land Cruisers are often met with a viscerally excited "thumbs up" reaction when seen on the road. Unfortunately, many of these old trucks struggle to keep up with traffic on the freeway.

Blacksmith Engineering Co. was created to synthesize some of the beautiful truck designs from our automotive past with modern technology. Our goal is to hand-build a “best-ever” version of that truck defined in terms of performance, torque, comfort, capability and other elements. We do this while vigorously holding onto the “soul” of the original vehicle.

Very little remains of the original donor, a 1987 LHD military-grade diesel Land Rover Defender 110.  In fact, all that does remain is the skin, the bulkhead firewall, original military issue roll cage, removable hard top, transfer case and axle housings.

Staying true to the donor's diesel blood, BEC lead by its chief engineer Brad Story started with the best diesel motor available that would fit in the engine compartment: the Cummins diesel 3.9L 4BT.

This motor is not available in crate form so the engineers at BEC found a donor and had it completely rebuilt by Wild Diesel of Ogden, Utah, close to BEC's home base of Eden, Utah.

The motor was fitted to a brand-new galvanized chassis provided by Land Rover via Rovers North, connected to a ZF five-speed manual transmission, a completely rebuilt LT230 transfer case and one-ton Land Rover axles that could handle the power that Story was about to imbue the motor with and make this truck a true all-wheel drive when needed.

Not only does the Cummins stay true to the diesel roots of the Defender but also transplants into the vehicle a massively high torque power plant which creates an incredibly fun driving experience. There is no need to "wind up" this engine. The power is there on demand at very low rpm relative to any gas motor.

ANV-LR1's finely-tuned turbo diesel engine delivers 30 mpg and dyno tested at Industrial Injection in Salt Lake City at 580 ft-lbs of torque. These are crazy performance and pulling power statistics for a Diesel Defender.

ANV-LR1 is a one-off Super-Defender. It is a defender designed to go anywhere and handle anything.

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