RAF inspired Land Rover Defender to be auctioned at Goodwood Revival
Automotive specialist Tecniq builds one-off ‘Q40’ Defender to be auctioned by Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival for Royal Air Forces Association
The charity car auction is nothing new, the auto industry regularly supporting good causes by auctioning something special commonplace. Just last month Porsche donated a 911 Carrera S - the 911 Sally Special - to be auctioned by RM Sotheby's at Monterey Car Week, with the $3.6-million proceeds going to two charities - Girls Inc and a USA for UNHCR. This weekend Bonhams will be aiming for something similar when this very special Land Rover Defender heads across the block at the Goodwood Revival auction on 17th September, with proceeds going to the Royal Air Forces Association.
Created by Tecniq, an automotive specialist company you’ve possibly not heard of but chances are you have experienced and benefitted from their expertise if you have driven any modern car, performance or otherwise. If you have a garage currently filling up with the latest hypercars you most certainly have come into regular contact with their work, too. But the Q40 Defender is probably their most bespoke project to date, and one they are publicly able to tell people they are responsible for.
Created to mark the 40th anniversary of the Chinook helicopter, the Q40 was the brainchild of Tecniq CEO Nigel Lempriere and Chairman Mike Dobby. ‘The Q40 Defender project was born to celebrate all that is great about the Chinook,” explains Lempriere. “It showcases the latest in automotive technologies and engineering capabilities of Tecniq and supports the great work carried out by the Royal Air Forces Association.’
Redesigned from the ground up, the Tecniq team has set about the Defender to create not only a very modern, bespoke and inspirational vehicle but one that benefits from having as much attention spent on how it drives as has been lavished on the exterior and interior details. And every piece of work carried out on the vehicle has been done in house, the majority by the company’s apprentices who took responsibility for every process required to complete the task.
Hand finished in a gloss green paint with matte detailing to replicate a Chinook’s finish, the Q40 is adorned with twin-rotor motifs in a nod to the big bird’s iconic rotors. As well as being present across areas of the bodywork, the rotor motif appears on items such as the kick plates and throughout the interior.
Matte finish carbonfibre arch extensions, front grille, bonnet and wing vents with marine leather wrapped around the door handles are accompanied by anodised aluminium trim to further link the car to its airborne inspiration.
This inspiration continues inside, but to an even greater level of detail and imagination. The centre console controls for the air-conditioning have been replaced with new controls to mimic the aircraft’s own controls, even the dials for the clock and instrument faces are identical copies of the Chinook’s dials.
Twin-zone stadium seating is at the centre of the interior, with dark grey and black Bridge of Wier leather covering the surfaces on the front of the cabin and lighter parchment hide in the rear. Each individual seat is a hand crafted carbonfibre item, with bespoke padding created to maximise comfort and design, and the two rear seats conceal an umbrella in their bases and are separated by champagne fridge. And yes, those are sheepskin covers as per you’d find in a Chinook jump seat. Even the H-point has been lowered at the front to ease entry and exit.
A load bay trimmed in carbonfibre and featuring a webbed catch net and a storage compartment that’s home for the safety kit make up the rear. As with everything on the car, every design and detail is bespoke and therefore designed, prototyped and manufactured from scratch by Tecniq to fit the finished vehicle. It’s a restomod turned up to 12.
The updates don’t end with the exterior and interior details, either. Underneath there’s a 2.3-litre Ecoboost motor from a Mustang producing 307bhp and 319lb ft of torque mated to the Ranger’s six-speed auto gearbox, complete with a Sport mode. Damping comes courtesy of Bilstein’s ‘Intelligent Ride Control’ adaptive system that the owner will be able to configure via an app and every bush has been upgraded to suit with the steering damper a Bilstein item, too, to suit the chassis. The coil springs are an inch shorter and the anti-roll bars have also been upgraded.
Behind the 18-inch Sawtooth wheels are a pair of six-piston callipers and 35mm discs, with the rear carrying four-pot callipers and 330m discs.
Combined it makes for a remarkable transformation in terms of driving for a car that is usually politely described as something with the driving characteristics of a small boat in a rough sea. But with your knees no longer knocking on the underside of the steering column and your elbows still inside the car things start well in the Q40 and only improve.
Historic race driver Chris Ward has helped set the Q40 up and it no longer rolls around and feels like it’s about to have an accident at any given opportunity. The body and the ladder chassis actually feel as one. Your wrists don’t suffer from RSI because you’re no longer constantly trying to keep a steady hand on a steering wheel that’s traditionally as settled as a toddler fuelled on Skittles. All is calm. All is rather pleasant.
That the brakes bring you to a stop true and straight is further reaffirmation that Defenders don’t always have to feel like they are trying to permanently separate you from your loved ones at any given time.
It even shifts along at a dent lick. The Ecoboost has some old school turbo-blow off, but there’s a slug of torque and a willingness to cruise without causing a delay to others. And without the coarse vibration of a Transit engine and gearbox rocking around the cabin it’s something that’s more of a pleasure to drive than a chore. Which is no great surprise when you discover Techniq’s CEO runs around in a Defender and wanted to fix everything that’s wrong with it, which wasn’t far off from all of it. So he has, with great aplomb.
And if you want a slice of this reimagined, thoroughly modern icon you’ll need to head to the Revival on Saturday and find the Bonhams auction (you can register online, too), and get bidding. Good luck!