When you think of Land Rover you either think of a classic off-road go anywhere vehicle, or a very posh car that never sees any mud at all. Well the awesome looking Defender Big Foot sits firmly – and well above the mud – in the former category.
I remember being given an exhilarating ride over and through a Land Rover demonstration course in a Defender many years back, the gravity defying angles that we ended up at left me with huge respect for this vehicle and I’ve loved it ever since. So it was with a smile I read that Land Rover were to do a bit of a u-turn on their decision to stop making the Defender and move production abroad instead. The decision was not entirely sentimental of course; the new markets Asia and Africa are beckoning…
And so we come to the Big Foot – a Defender with a larger than life footprint and also with the near perfect publicity of being featured in the latest (24th) James Bond movie, SPECTRE, starring Daniel Craig, which is released in the UK on 26th October.
The Big Foot is a Defender that has been modified to accept some giant 37-inch off-road rubber as well as uprated suspension and added protection for the body. Rather than look odd, the Big Foot actually looks like it is exactly what a Defender should have always looked like – it looks fantastic.
The Big Foot isn’t an entirely new vehicle and probably would have remained just a wonderful curiosity if it weren’t for the imminent Bond movie. The latest Bond vehicles were unveiled last month in Frankfurt with Bond’s latest villain, Mr Hinx (Dave Bautista) in attendance posing (slightly dwarfed) on the Big Foot bonnet.
The assumption when behind the wheel of any Defender is that the elements are a mere trifle for it to cope with – and that feeling of invincibility is likely tripled in this vehicle. Land Rover does try to temper this natural assumption by quietly saying that it’s not a big fan of sheet ice…
The trump card for the Big Foot is that it is essentially just a tried and trusted Defender. Just a Defender with a pretty much standard engine – but with the crucial addition of the very necessary ultra-low gear ratios and Land Rover’s anti-stall feature of course. It also has extended wheel arches, to house those goliath tyres, ARB differential front and rear lockers, long travel dampers and an Aschroft underdrive. On the downside, the turning circle is much larger than standard.
Land Rover Special Vehicles are the people behind the Big Foot. The idea was originally to whip up some excitement at new product launches and events, but I can’t help thinking that if I’d just bought a new Defender, seeing a Big Foot would make me feel like I was 9 again and feeling slightly jealous of my brother’s ‘better’ Christmas present he’s just unwrapped. No final decision on a commercial release has been made as yet on the Big Foot, so I guess that’s off the Christmas list for another year at least. Although to get a Big Foot conversion on a standard 110 Defender, it has been estimated that (if such an option was available) you’d be looking at around £50,000 upwards.
I suspect that Land Rover can expect an influx of Big Foot enquiries very shortly.
Images: classicdriver.com, telegraph.co.uk, landrover.com
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