You take a Series II 109”…chop the top…refit the interior…drop in a V16 that puts out 700bhp and voila: you’ve got the Bell Aurens Longnose; yours for 80,000 pounds!
Mr. Thomas Bell, a Brit, and German Mr. Holger Kalvelage met on an online forum and, as such things happen, came up with an idea. Why not combine their two loves - the classic British roadster and the Land Rover – and see what they could come up with?
(Evidently, these chaps aren’t married.)
The result is the 15ft long, six feet wide Longnose, which Bell, 33, and Kalvelage, 46, describe as being “full of character, authoritative and stylish”.
“It is such an iconic car all over the world and is certainly very special to both of us. In fact, between us we own five Land Rovers.
We came up with the idea for the Longnose three years ago but the hardest part was finding a factory who could manufacture the cars for us. Eventually we found one who were as excited as we were about the project.”
The two wanted the Longnose to be “truly an offroader from the front fender to the rear lights - yet still a roadster.” And yes, they plan to market these in V8, V12 and V16 engine versions.
But…they say that because most of the car will come from an original series two Land Rover, they plan to limit the speed to around 125mph for safety reasons.
That’s right. All of the components, from the axles to the gearbox and steering system, will come from classic Land Rover models like the Defender. Even the traditional leaf spring chassis will be in place so the driver feels “every detail of the road’s surface unvarnished and without any compromise.”
Outside, the front grille and headlights will still bear a strong resemblance to the classic series two Land Rover, which was first launched in 1958. And this open-top “off-roadster” will be available in black, Sahara cream or in British racing green.
Inside, the Longnose will stick to the traditionally minimalist Land Rover cockpit - including the distinctive wide steering wheel - but an aluminium finish and leather seats have been added.
“We want to keep it as exclusive as possible so we are only planning to build ten each year.” Bell said. “Buyers can either come to us with their own Land Rover 109s for us to rebuild or we can buy one for them. We’ve actually already had around ten orders from people all over Europe.”
New owners will be invited to travel to the factory, in Nuremberg, Germany, to see their vehicle on the production line. They will also get an exclusive Bell Aurens register which logs all the owners of the cars as well as detailing exactly who was responsible for crafting their vehicle.
Bell says: “The top engine available to buy will be a 700bhp, V16 (a Ferrari 430 can only develop 483bhp!) but we are also planning on building a special edition with a Merlin engine from a Spitfire that can produce around 1,500bhp.”
A Spokeswoman for Land Rover said “We have had no involvement in this project.”
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