When I was about 5 years old, my dad bought a lightly used Volvo 850 wagon from a Land Rover dealership, and because I was already such a car-obsessed kid the manager of the dealership gave me a bunch of swag. The Series II Discovery had just come out, and the best present I got was a two-part VHS tape -- the first part was a video owner's manual for the Disco, and the second part was a documentary about the Camel Trophy, the grueling off-road competition that ran from 1980 to 2000 and almost exclusively featured Land Rover vehicles swathed in an awesome beige livery.
I literally watched that tape multiple times a day, to the point where I was convinced I knew how to drive a car and my parents had to hide their car keys. I would even pretend to be a Land Rover when we went for hikes in the woods. The Camel Trophy documentary was always my favorite section, and as an adult I've trawled YouTube to watch the docs made in other years -- they're pretty easy to find. The Camel Trophy was replaced by the G4 Challenge in the 2000s, which spawned some cool special edition production cars, but nothing compares to the iconic beige Camel trucks. So ever since Land Rover released the reborn Defender in 2019, I've waited with bated breath to see if the brand would do a special edition inspired by the Camel Trophy. Finally I need not wait any longer, as this week Land Rover released the new Defender Trophy Edition exclusively for the US.
Land Rover doesn't explicitly mention the Camel Trophy -- it's not exactly cool to flaunt tobacco sponsors anymore -- but it's obvious what this new model takes its inspiration from. The Trophy Edition is based on the, specifically the P400 six-cylinder model in X-Dynamic SE trim. It gets a special wrap with that glorious heritage beige color, lots of black accents to go with the extended black trim package, and Trophy logos on the front doors.
The Trophy comes standard with optional features like the Defender's Off-Road and Advanced Off-Road Capability packages, the larger 11.4-inch touchscreen, a tow hitch receiver, Land Rover's fancy surround-view off-road camera system, a cold weather package and air suspension. Also included are an expedition roof rack with a deployable side-mounted ladder, a front brushguard with an integrated winch, mud flaps, a front skid plate, an integrated air compressor and rubber floor mats.
Only 220 of the Trophy Edition will be sold at a starting price of $91,150 including destination, and each one will come with the chance to enter Land Rover's new US Trophy Competition. This one-day event in October 2021 will see up to 90 teams of two compete in a range of on- and off-road challenges at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Land Rover says coaching will be available for all the teams, and the overall winner will go on to compete in the Land Rover Trophy Competition at Eastnor Castle in the UK in early 2022.
Land Rover, if you're listening, the very least you could do is let me come and spectate. Though I can't promise I won't run around in the mud making V8 noises like I did when I was little.