For enthusiasts of restored, vintage Land Rover Defenders, it’s very possible that the most desirable vehicles come out of the South Carolina-based shop of Himalaya. Well known for their fastidious, frame-off restorations of the original Defenders, Himalaya generally takes a two-prong approach to their trucks. On one hand, they offer faithful, accurate restorations to preserve the period driving experience; these are Land Rover-accurate down to the last nut and bolt. On the other hand, some commissions allow them to be a little more creative. These vehicles end up as true resto-mods, keeping the original styling cues and character that makes the Defenders so endearing, but replacing the drivetrains and many other components to ensure they can keep up on modern roads (and be incredibly fun to drive). The ominous-sounding Spectre falls decidedly in the second camp.
The Spectre Treatment
The Spectre could be the most extreme creation that Himalaya has come up with to date. Based on the Defender 110 crew-cab pickup platform, it’s finished in a sinister matte black – in fact, nearly every surface on the truck is blacked out. When combined with the huge 37” All-Terrains and 4 inches of suspension lift, the end result is one imposing Land Rover. Himalaya has kept nearly all of the original factory styling intact, and only changed or added a few things externally. Namely, the fender flares have been replaced with bespoke items to better fit the bigger tires, and a new front bumper assembly looks beefy and serves as a mounting point for the winch. A custom-fabricated roll cage also serves to frame the baja-style spare tire mount in the bed of the truck. LED pod lights are also provided in front- and rear-facing positions to shed a little light on the trial if you’re out past dark. It’s clear that the Spectre means business.
As we’ve stated, the Spectre boasts a large 4” lift and high-performance Fox shocks with remote reservoirs, along with an Extreme Currie Hi-Flex Suspension. These suspension modernizations are needed not only to accommodate the large lift, but also to help bring all of the power from the new engine under control. For the mill, Himalaya was able to cram a huge, 6.3-liter LS3 motor under the hood. This is the same motor found in the C6 Corvettes, and takes the power output of the Spectre all the way up to a staggering 525 horsepower and 495 pound-feet of torque. What’s even better is that this is all offered with a full 2-year warranty.
A Luxurious Cabin
The biggest departure from the classic Land Rover aesthetic is undoubtedly found inside. In fact, there’s hardly an OEM part left in the cabin. Himalaya has outfitted the specter with a fully-custom leather interior, which encompasses the doors and dash as well as the five seats (two heated buckets in the front, and three individual seats in the rear). Additionally, the whole console and dash looks to have been completely replaced and modernized: there’s a large Alpine HALO running CarPlay, a modern gauge cluster and steering wheel, and a full climate control system. Overall, the interior is worlds refined over the factory Defender, and one of the most luxurious we’ve seen out of the Himalaya shop to date.
The Himalaya Spectre is, as its name would suggest, truly worthy of a spy movie. In fact, careful viewers of a certain series of films featuring a certain British secret agent may take note of the inspiration for the Spectre – we’ll let you figure that one out on your own.
Himalaya operates on a commission model and it’s very, very unlikely you will see many changing hands on the open market. If you’d like your own Spectre, you’ll need to get in touch with them and they can get started on your fresh build (which will run in the neighborhood of $250,000). Between the classic aesthetics and substantial engineering required to tastefully retrofit modern technology into the old platforms, the Spectre demands respect and admiration that go far beyond it’s striking aesthetics.