Silverstone 2020

Two Land Rover Defenders with two unique movie histories are up for auction

Silverstone Auctions will have this 2015 Land Rover Defender used in the movie "Spectre" cross the block in May.

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

Two Land Rovers, both alike in action movie credibility. At a digital version of Silverstone Auctions, they are set to cross the block in May. Though a decade and a half apart in assembly date, one is no less desirable than the other.

2001 Land Rover Defender 90 "Tomb Raider"

2011 Land Rover Defennder 90 Tomb Raider

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

The 2001 Land Rover Defender 90 is one of 250 produced to commemorate the automaker's involvement in the "Tomb Raider" movie. It's a right-hand drive model that is finished in Bonatti Grey metallic paint and features a fair amount of add-ons including special badging, roof rack, roof rack support system, spotlights, diamond-plate protection, rock sliders, winch, bull-bar, and raised air intake. It rides on Pewter Grey "Boost" alloy wheels.

The three-door 4x4 is right-hand drive. It has a manual transmission paired with a Td5 engine that yields 122 horsepower. It has a high-pressure electronic injector system, traction control, four-pin locking differentials, coil-sprung suspension, and ventilated front disc brakes.

The list of features also includes specially patterned cloth upholstery and seating for six. There is also a Pioneer audio system, recovery hooks, an off-road recovery kit, and a fire extinguisher.

Silverstone Auctions reports that over £12,000 has been invested in the model leaving it in showroom condition. The purchaser of the vehicle at auction will receive a history file on the model that includes its original service book, a wealth of related invoices, and photographic evidence of the recent overhaul. Its MOT is valid until February 2021.

2015 Land Rover Defender 110 SVX "Spectre" JB24

2015 Land Rover Defender 110 SVX "Spectre" JB24

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

This Land Rover Defender is one of the few to survive the filming of James Bond flick "Spectre" without sustaining serious damage. It's one of 10 that "Spectre" director Sam Mendes ordered transformed for the movie from their usual 110 Defender setup.

Those modifications include a Santorini Black paint job, 37-inch tires, heavy-duty roll cages, shored up suspensions with rose joints and Bilstein rally dampers. They have a hydraulic handbrake and Recaro seats. The engine was tuned to achieve 180 bhp (up from 120). It's a left-hand drive manual.

Three of the vehicles were modified with high quality finishes to serve as halo cars for close-up shots. The rest of the fleet was damaged by the airplane piloted by Bond as part of the film. The interior is charcoal.

According to Silverstone Auctions, the seven Defenders that were part of the chase sequence were divided into two categories - high speed getaway SUVs and low-speed snow-worthy cars. The SUV featured here was made for the snow scene, used for drive-by flaming only, remaining undamaged.

The vehicle is not currently registered in the U.K.

Its history file is extensive and unique. Silverstone Auctions lists it as including, "a full risk assessment form for 'D3 SALLDHSP8A462459', its LR build spec, a full set of employee timesheets relating to 462459's build, an EC Certificate of Conformity, correspondence between Bowler and JLR as well as invoices for the vehicle and a copy of the original contract, and an MOT dated 18/01/2017. Fascinatingly, it also includes a monthly 'Crew Production Calendar' from 'Spectre 007' running from December 2014 to June '15 and Location Call Sheets detailing the cast and crew and who should be where and when and wearing what."

Silverstone Auctions will host their Live Online Sale on May 23, 2020.

All the cars will be kept in a single secure storage facility where they may be viewed by appointment only and in line with Government guidelines. Buyers will be able to bid via several online bidding partners, phone or leave a commission bid. Fees for this auction have been set at 10% plus VAT for buyers and 4% plus VAT for sellers.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Land Rover Defender holds up when compared to the Defenders of the past.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

If you know anything about extreme off-road expeditions and four-wheel-drive icons, you know the Land Rover Defender. If you have an imprint in your head of vehicles that have roamed the wilds of Africa or the outback of Australia, you'll likely conjure up an image of these stalwart, boxy and tall-legged utilitarian models kicking up dust across the savannah. You might even have a memory of Defenders ferrying British royals around their castle grounds or on hunting and fishing forays.

Since the 80s, this legendary SUV has garnered a fervent fan-following. It has been a workhorse and conqueror of jungles around the globe, but unavailable in the U.S. market since 1997 due to stiffened safety regulations. An all-new version has been reimagined for the 21st century; the five-door 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 is on sale now while its stablemate, the three-door 2021 Defender 90, goes on sale in the new year.

2020 Land Rover Defender The Defender is easy to drive, but steering is a bit heavy.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

The Defender has been engineered on a new all-aluminum unibody platform that is the stiffest Land Rover body ever created; it has short front and rear overhangs that aid in off-roading, with a rear-mounted spare tire. New is a fully-independent suspension, twin-speed transfer box and permanent four-wheel-drive. It has been crafted for personalization with four different Accessory Packs (Explorer, Adventure, Country, and Urban), and the greatest number of individual accessories ever offered by the brand.

I drove the 2020 Defender 110 X on a three-day test drive of more than 200 miles. The tester was set up with a number of options, including electronic air suspension, and retailed for $85,750. The X derivative is adorned with a Gloss Black inset contrast hood with Gloss Black claddings, along with front and rear skid pans and other trim elements that are coated in a Starlight Satin finish, while Windsor Leather and Steelcut Premium Textile accent the interior.

I am a "classic" Defender enthusiast and have driven these models on numerous extreme off-road journeys around the globe, so I approached my evaluation of the new model with a bit of mild trepidation fearing that I would favor the original and eschew the new. There were many pleasant surprises.

2020 Land Rover Defender A day of testing included on- and off-road driving.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

I found the emblematic upright, brick-shaped silhouette had morphed into a more contemporary expression penned with softened lines that will enhance fuel economy over the '97. Its looks are appealing and mesh well with other models in the Land Rover portfolio, with angles of approach and departure that speak to its off-road mission, and up-level styling cues and trim elements.

The interior was not only bright, roomy and ergonomically pleasing but laden with luxe-level comfort and convenience features, such as heated and cooled seats, wireless charging and heads-up display. I appreciated the lockable 1.5-gallon glovebox, deep door pockets and thoughtful array of stowage features.

Off-roading requires supplies and supplies require storage space. The Defender's second-row seatbacks split 40/20/40 for flexibility and loadspace rails on the floor of the rear cargo area come with load retention accessories to keep smaller items from moving around inside. A lockable, heavy-duty steel Security Box adds protection and secures to the loadspace rails; it can hold laptops, tablets and other valuables, while an exposed cross car beam serves as a shelf to hold 1.83 gallons of open storage. A clip-in, washable loadspace cover doubles as a ground mat for picnics or for changing mucky footwear on wet surfaces.

2020 Land Rover Defender The interior of the Defender is upscale with an intuitive infotainment system.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

The drive route took me on fast-moving highways and along slow, meandering byways providing two different opportunities to evaluate the vehicle's design prowess for serious four-wheeling and its intelligent off-road technologies. Defender's road manners were excellent, with a slightly heavy-handed feel to steering. Its responsive suspension brought confidence to navigating its mass of more than 5,000 pounds on tight and twisty tarmac with adaptive dampers monitoring body movements up to 500 times per second and responding almost instantly to optimize body control and comfort.

The Defender, as tested with the available 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, provided an ample 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, seamlessly runs through the gears for smooth up- and down-shifting and its stopping power comes in a measured manner. The engine features mild-hybrid technology which helps it get off the line more efficiently.

Our first foray into off-roading was at the Land Rover Experience Center, in Manchester, Vermont, where a lengthy, wooded off-road course with stretches of technical track provided an opportunity to try out the bevy of intelligent off-road tech, including Terrain Response 2 with its new Wade program (Defender has 35 inches of water fording capability) and Land Rover's new off-road Configurable Terrain Response system, which is designed to set up the Defender for precise conditions using the center touch screen controller. A choice of three settings for the throttle and gearbox response, steering and traction control, lets drivers tailor their Defender.

2020 Land Rover Defender The Defender has 35 inches of fording capability.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Other cool tech includes advanced All-Terrain Progress Control (moves the vehicle independently at preset speeds) and ClearSight Ground View, a forward-facing camera which was developed for extreme off-road situations, and shows the hidden area directly in front of the vehicle using the central touchscreen.

That touch screen, a 10-inch Pivi Pro system comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and over-the-air updates.

After trying out the 2020 Defender technologies on steep up and downhills, off-camber slopes and through water, we motored on a series of logging roads and dirt tracks to the top of Mt. Equinox, that sits at nearly 4,000 feet along the Green Mountain range, in southern Vermont.

2020 Land Rover Defender A two-tone paint scheme is available.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Two days of off-roading and multiple miles of driving on paved roads brought confirmed insight. The legendary Defenders of the past will still appeal to purists and will always kick up dirt in the outbacks and savannahs of the world, and likely still ferry the Royals. The new Defender is laudable; it's designed and engineered to appeal to today's buyers and it will soon develop its own fan following.

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The front of the concept is very EV in its design.

Photo courtesy of Honda

The Honda SUV e:concept debuted in China this week signaling what's ahead for a future mass-production model of the Honda brand's first electric vehicle to be introduced in China. While what's sold in China doesn't always make it to American shores, there are a few things to be learned by taking a closer look at the concept.

We know that the vehicle's powertrain is electric. How many motors? What type of battery? How much power? In a nutshell, we have no idea. However, that could be where Honda's relationship with General Motors kicks in. A recent agreement to share platforms and co-build future vehicles builds on the electric vehicle platform sharing agreement the two automakers signed in April. In the first agreement agreement, Honda agreed to work with GM to develop two new electric vehicles based on GM's global EV platform powered by Ultium batteries.

Honda SUV e:concept The sloping roofline of the concept is indicative of another Honda model.Photo courtesy of Honda

The concept's sweeping looks are more crossover than SUV. While there's plenty of doubt that the model will be a two-door vehicle when it arrives in showrooms, its overall aesthetic is new for Honda, though it has hints of the current-generation CR-V and Accord in its nose.

The roofline of the SUV and side profile look a lot like the 2020 Honda Avancier, a true crossover that got its start as a station wagon and now sits as the company's flagship in China. If indeed this model is an electric Avancier, it means that the U.S. market is unlikely to see it.

From a business perspective, this makes sense. Electric vehicles are not nearly as popular in the U.S. as they are in China and Europe, where they have been regulated into residents' lifestyles. Additionally, the U.S. electric vehicle charging infrastructure leaves much to be desired.

2020 Honda Avancier

Photo courtesy of Honda

Cars built for the Chinese market also do not have to meet the same strict safety testing standards as American vehicles so they can be made for less and sold for less. Upping to U.S. standards costs more and, when shipping and taxes are added in, the model may be priced out of sensibility for American Honda customers.

Wherever it's destined to go, the Honda will be a mass-production electric vehicle.

The company is committed to equipping the car with a number of safety technologies including omnidirectional advanced driver assistance systems, the next-generation Honda SENSING safety and driver-assistive system with improved recognition, predication and decision-making performance, as well as the next-generation Honda Connect, which features an AI assistant interface, smartphone link, and wireless updates.

Honda SUV e:concept The model features a unique black end with slim lights.Photo courtesy of Honda

Expect to see the next steps in the evolution of this concept in the coming year, even if it's just in spy photos.

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