less-than-mellow yellow

This Gorgeous Vintage Land Rover Is Not What It Seems


July 29, 2019 Cars By
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A classic Land Rover is the sort of vehicle whose appeal lies in the image more than the actual ownership experience. A Series I or Series II Landie may be a work of functional art to behold, but beneath those simple straight lines and sanded-down corners lies an agricultural chassis and an underpowered engine that, by modern standards, seems better-suited to a lawn tractor than a road-going vehicle.

This Kahn Automobiles Flying Huntsman Homage II Edition, however, finds a way around that issue: by serving up all the looks of the Sixties-era Land Rover above the mechanicals of a modern-era Defender 90.

In fact, if anything, the Flying Huntsman looks better than the original Series II, thanks to Kahn’s cluster of exterior tweaks that include a redesigned hood, bulging boxy body panels on the sides, and a new front grille that resembles the face of a shrunken cartoon Jeep. (In a good way, obviously.) An extra eight inches of length give the car improved presence, without making it so long as to risk high-centering while off-roading; 16-inch wheels clad in Cooper 265/75/16 off-road tires provide plenty of grip on nasty terrain, while a turbodiesel 2.2-liter inline-four connected to a five-speed manual gearbox driving all four wheels provides more than enough grunt to blast through nature’s obstacles, as we found out during our recent drive of a similarly-engined Defender by Himalaya.

Swing open the square door, however, and you’ll find a stylish interior that looks almost too nice to get muddy. Quilted leather adorns almost everything the eye can see, with earthly lines and patterns breaking up the swaths of black. The steering wheel, shift lever and transfer case are all made from billet steel for a satisfying heft, while modern convenience features like power windows and locks and an Alpine stereo offer up just a dash of convenience.

Sadly, this is a U.K.-spec car, with its steering wheel on the wrong side of the car; even more regrettably, as it’s basically a 2015 Land Cruiser beneath that old-fashioned body, it won’t be eligible for easy import to these shores until 2040. Still, should you already be living in Britain, the £110,000 (approximately $135,000) price for this low-mileage, vintage-looking beauty almost seems reasonable, given how nice it is. Even if that engine might have you angrily screaming the brand’s namecduring highway passing maneuvers.

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