The only certainty that all fans of the legendary Defender have, is that it will no longer be produced. Nothing is known about the new Defender and even when there will be one. At the current state of the art, the only viable path seems to us that of the replicas and revisited versions like this one from Tornado Motorsport.
Pictures and text by Paolo Baraldi
The story of how this article was born goes back to last year and if we really have to be honest it was not even in our publishing projects. Everything starts in September when we arrive in Portugal in Vimioso, a small town of 5.315 people located in the Bragança district near the border with Spain, to follow the King of Portugal. As always happens on these occasions, as soon as we arrive we make a tour in the paddock to greet the teams and to see what cars are in the race. Walking around, we are irresistibly attracted to a very nice and very gritty Defender; we approach and start talking with the owner: the English Jamie Muir. Jamie, very proud of his toy, tells us that it was made by Tornado Motorsport based in the south of Derbyshire, 13 km west of Derby.
Tornado is specialized in the construction of racing prototypes and at the same time "fully street legal" whose appearance is incredibly similar to a Defender. The first 4x4 of this kind was built in 2001 and over the years has evolved to the current EVO 3 here well represented by Jamie's Tornado. At this point, the curiosity is so much that we can not go deepen the technical aspect and we decide that this Tornado EVO 3 deserves an article.
The main features of this 4x4 are the tubular frame covered with GRP panels that give the look of Defender. The TD5 engine prepared by the Portuguese TD5 Inside. The suspensions that in addition to having a great hike are designed to achieve a very low center of gravity . We can not deny, that the aesthetic aspect is what has attracted our attention and this Tornado is so well stylistically conceived as to make us believe at first that it was a well prepared Defender. We really like this thing! The 260 horsepower of the engine are largely sufficient to tackle all types of offroad routes; driving is very fluid and easily manageable. With the perfect wheelbase, 102 inches, the suspension geometry is designed to get the best in the offroad trial but also, with the Fox coilovers, in the fast and mixed drive.
Finally, Jamie assures us that he is also very comfortable on asphalt and in long transfers; Muir arrived in Vimioso on the road from Wirksworth, Derbyshire County. Difficult to say what we did not like ... the color maybe?
The reinforced axels come from a Nissan Patrol Y61 with 100% ARB diflock
The front suspension geometry is the classic of the Defender with the two arms and the panhard bar.
The shock absorbers are Fox Coilover 2.5x14" combined with bumpstops of the same brand
The Gigglepin GP80 winch is installed behind the grille and in front of the intercooler
At the rear we find the Griffin radiator for cooling the engine with two electric fans and the Allisport fuel tank
Tornado Motorsport LTD
Old WD Camp, Sutton Lane Hilton
Derbyshire - DE65 5FE