ROVER TROPHY HAS BUILT A LAND ROVER “WOODY”. AND IT’S ELECTRIC
WRITTEN BY HOWARD WALKER
JAN 16, 2024
A Kermit-green Lamborghini doing smoky burn-outs on New York’s Madison Avenue wouldn’t attract as many head-turns, finger points, or jaw-drops as this.
See Rover Trophy’s new, absolutely adorable Trophy WD “Woody” in the metal, or make that wood, especially in its natural habitat that’s The Hamptons, Palm Beach, or Malibu, and it’s impossible not to smile. Or pull out your camera phone.
And while you might see it gliding towards you, chances are you won’t hear it, courtesy of its whisper-quiet electric powertrain. Yes, it’s electric. A beefy Tesla electric motor juiced by 32 LG batteries provides the motivation.
This latest addition to the constantly evolving Rover Trophy Collection comes from the creative mind of Rover Trophy founder Jeff Taylor. A lover of classic 1940s American “woody” station wagons, he doodled a drawing of a timber-clad Land Rover Defender D90 during Covid lock-down, and the rest is history.
“It really worked. The design stays true to the classic Land Rover shape, and really creates a very unique, very special, totally fun vehicle,” says Taylor.
Of course the challenge was getting someone to turn his blue sky concept into reality. The solution came after some intense internet research when Taylor stumbled across the father-and-son team of Marshall Rose Joinery in the East Midlands of merrie olde England.
These master-craftsmen woodworkers took on the project, creating a stunning body out of dark African Sapele hardwood with contrasting lighter Ash wood framing. Add to that, tongue-and-grove wood for the roof liner, and very nautical-looking sapele and thin-strip ash for the floors.
“Like any great craftsmen, they didn’t appreciate being rushed. In the end, it took two years, and 2,500 hours of effort to complete the project. But the result is truly a piece of wood-working art.”
Once the body had been delivered to Rover Trophy’s Bridgeport, Connecticut workshops, it was joined to a new galvanized chassis, fitted with new front body panels and painted in period-correct Arles Blue with a Wimbledon White roof and steel wheels.
Inside, the seats, fascia and center console were trimmed in rich, hand-stitched chestnut brown leather with oh-so-British light brown Harris Tweed cloth inserts. And in keeping with the “woody” look, the steering wheel has a mirror-varnished wooden rim.
In place of the typical GM-sourced LS3 V8 gas motor, or Cummins turbo diesel offered in other RoverTrophy Defenders, Taylor was keen to add to the Woody’s unique style by making it a fully-electric EV, or Troph-e, as he likes to call it.
The package starts with a gently used, low-mileage Tesla Model 3 electric motor, which is mated to no fewer than 32 LG 2.6kWh lithium-ion batteries. These are stored in three custom-made battery boxes mounted in the former engine bay, seat box and fuel tank areas.
Fully charged, the set-up gives a range of between 160 and 190 miles, and with 325-horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, standstill to 60 mph acceleration is covered in a positively zippy six seconds.
Right now, the Trophy Rover WD electric D90 is a unique, one-of-one example, and currently available at $395,000 which, according to Taylor, reflects the craftsmanship, technology and those 2,500 hours of woodworking skills.
“It was such a fun project,” says Taylor. “A key element of our brand is to constantly innovate and keep surprising our clients. With this WD, I feel the design stays true to the classic Land Rover shape, while the electric powertrain modernizes the performance and reliability.” www.rovertrophy.com