Jaguar Land Rover has made plenty of drool-inducing, time-warping performance machines, but most of them – from the XJ220 to the F-Type – have come from the Jaguar side of the equation. That's where the British automaker's new Special Operations division came in with the new Range Rover Sport SVR, transforming one of Land Rover's off-roaders into a Nürburgring-conquering performance ute. But it won't be the last.
According to JLR Special Operations chief John Edwards in speaking with Autocar, the division is searching for its next project. And that could – and it seems likely will – come down to a special send-off for the long-serving Defender.
Land Rover's most hardcore, no-frills, rough-and-tumble model has been in production essentially unchanged since 1983, making it as old as some of the writers here at Autoblog (though sadly much younger than some others... -ED). It's slated to be retired next year in favor of an all-new model, but before it does, JLR apparently plans to send it off with a muscled-up performance model.
Don't take that to mean that the Defender will be stripped off its off-road capabilities in an effort to make it perform better on the track, though. According to Autocar, Land Rover is looking to the Dakar rally and the old Camel Trophy for inspiration, suggesting that we could be looking at a British take on the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor of sorts... or a production version of the Defender Challenge truck (pictured above) made together with noted LR tuner Bowler. All of which strikes us as rather enticing, though it may be a while before we get to see the finished product in the metal.