As with many movie heroes, James Bond’s choice in vehicles (and other products) is limited by the brands his metafictional superiors at the movie studios. It’s why Tony Stark and the Avengers always drive Audis (except when they drive Acuras), why everyone in Jurassic World putters around in a Mercedes — and why the world’s best-known secret agent, his cohorts and villains alike pilot an Aston Martin, a Jaguar or a Land Rover.
The Defender seen here, in fact, is a close facsimile to the one driven by the bad guys in the 2015 James Bond film Spectre. South Carolina-based Himalaya apparently didn’t receive the official license to use the name of Ian Fleming’s best-known creation, so the press release is peppered with not-so-subtle references to “the British secret agent.” But movie connection or not, there’s no disputing how cool this remastered Land Rover is.
The “Spectre,” as Himalaya calls it, is a crew-cab pickup version of the famous Land Rover Defender 110. Like the more classically-configured version we drove earlier this year, it weds an upgraded frame to a body built out to levels of fit and finish never seen on an original Defender. Unlike that red four-by-four we tested, however, it’s been given a host of 21st Century upgrades beyond that. Beneath the hood lies a 525-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 sourced from General Motors, connected via a GM six-speed automatic to a beefed-up version of the original full-time four-wheel-drive system. The suspension is bumped up by an extra four inches to help accommodate the mighty 37-inch mud-terrain Toyo tires, while Fox Racing shocks help improve the ride. A skidplate over the radiator guards against attacks from below, while new bumpers front and rear — the former with a Warn Zeon winch, the latter witrh a receiver hitch — protect against obstacles ahead and behind. A new roof rack, exoskeleton-style outer cage and a bed-mounted rack for the spare tire complete the aggressive look outside.
Inside, however, quilted leather abounds, with Alcantara (i.e. microsuede) covering the headliner. Recaro seats hold you in place, while a Momo steering wheel sits in front of Dakota Digital gauges on the driver’s side. JL Audio speakers connect to a Kenwood head unit for the stereo, for those times you really need to blast that John Barry. And a rollcage lies tucked away behind the scenes to protect it all in case you accidentally tip while outrunning gun-toting bad guys (or if you just get a little too ambitious with your off-road maneuvers).
All this Hollywood-worthy style doesn’t come cheap. If you want to park the Himalaya Spectre in your driveway, you’ll need to fork over a cool $250,000. Maybe you can ask Daniel Craig to spot you for it.