Driven: Bill Burke’s Land Rover Defender 90

I’m not exactly sure if this meets the (admittedly) arbitrary requirements for Driven, as it’s apparent that this thing can go wherever it wants. This model is a 1990 or newer US-spec with the Buick-derived V8 engine. It’s interesting that Land Rover used this engine all they way up until 2006, when it was designed by Buick in the 1950’s

The Buick 215 V8 was initially offered in 1961 for the “early Y-bodies” which were the initial uni-body offerings of the BOP A-body platform, my that’s a lot of bodies. Due to smart-ass “experts” on the internet I feel I should defend my Olds-loving honor and mention that the Oldsmobile variation of the 215 had several changes to the heads for aesthetic, performance and durability reasons. As a result, Olds heads can go on any other 215, but not the other way around. It’s also worth noting that the Olds 215 had an optional water-injected turbocharged model, exclusive to Oldsmobile cars.

The design was split in the 60’s: Buick built off of it’s characteristics using iron blocks (the 215 was all aluminum) and it evolved into what became the modern Buick V8 line-up and the indestructible 231/3.L/3800 V6 family; with the Aluminum tooling being sold to Land Rover in 1965.

So what’s Mr. Burke doing with his 93″ Wheelbase (where the name “90” comes from) British-bodied, American-powered SUV? Well as you can see from the advertising on it, he gives lessons in 4-wheeling. You can find out more at