Land Rover’s born-again Defender is far more stylish than the original model, but Polish tuner Carlex Design is taking the SUV to the next level by giving it a custom design inside and out. It’s a look that’s certainly not for the low-key, and it won’t please Land Rover’s designers, but splitting opinions is business as usual for the firm.
Carlex named its most recent build Racing Green, which is a reference to the green hue worn by some of England’s finest and fastest cars for decades. Some of the Defender is painted in dark green, but the build’s most striking visual aspect is the wide-bodied treatment. Carbon fiber fender flares add several inches to the Defender’s girth while making it look like an overgrown race car, or a Mini John Cooper Works GP. Carlex also put carbon fiber on the hood, parts of the front bumper, the mirror caps, and the spare tire cover. Black wheels come standard.
Inside, the Racing Green offers a blend of green and cognac-tinted leather, sport seats for the front and rear passengers plus additional carbon fiber bits. Each build receives a numbered plaque that, should you wake up in it without seeing its exterior, will immediately remind you that you’re not sitting in a 100% factory-stock Defender.
Carlex made no mention of mechanical modifications. In the United States, buyers can choose between a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 296 horsepower, and a 395-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six.
Pricing for the Racing Green Edition starts at 85,000 euros before taxes and options are factored in, a figure that represents about $103,000. In comparison, Land Rover charges $49,900 for an entry-level Defender 110.
Over a dozen independent tuners gravitate around Land Rover’s off-roaders, and the list seems to grow annually. Gerry McGovern, the carmaker’s outspoken head of design, has strongly criticized the aftermarket in recent years. In his view, these companies are using Land Rover’s property to make money. He pledged in 2017 that the company’s in-house tuner, Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), would put them out of business, but we’re 24 days away from the end of 2020 and tuners are still finding ways to cook Land Rover’s upmarket 4x4s to their taste.