While I was in Wilmington to collect my brand-new Changli, I was able to collect a press vehicle that is about as far from a tiny 1 HP Chinese EV as you could imagine: this resto-modded Land Rover Discovery from Osprey Custom Cars. What would you like to know about this terrifying beast?
Osprey pretty much completely rebuilds old Land Rovers from the chassis up; this one started life as a 1993 Land Rover Defender 110 and is now a pants-soakingly quick monster with a supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V8 from a Cadillac CTS-V.
The guy who handed me the keys told me under no circumstances to put the pedal to the floor. I got it about halfway down and it sounded like armageddon was getting push-started and the Earth below me was being shoved against its normal rotation.
Fundamentally, though, it’s still a Defender; the same kind as I drove in Iceland, with most of its quirks and foibles still intact, only now slathered in fancy leathers and alacantara skins and given six times as much power.
This is not a rational vehicle. Not by any metric whatsoever.
It is, however, made with remarkable care and skill, and for as insane as it is, it sure as hell isn’t half-assed. This is entirely whole-assed, perhaps multiple asses, even. It seems to be a very well-built resto-mod, on par with something like Icon’s Land Cruisers.
Osprey isn’t nearly as well-known as, say Icon, which I suspect is what they’re trying to change, and why they gave me the keys to this fast, gilded hippo in the first place.
First impressions are that it’s a hell of a lot of fun, absurdly difficult to get into and out of, pretty striking-looking, and feels very unforgiving of doing stupid things, like pushing that throttle all the way to the floor.
So, what do you want me to tell you about this Frankensteinic resurrected Landie? It’ll be hard to pull my attention from the Changli, but I’ll try.