Skip to main content

The Duke is a Custom-Built Land Rover Defender Looking for an Excuse to Fight

The Land Rover Defender, first introduced in 1983 as a continuation of the original Land Rover Series, is one of the British automaker’s most distinguished icons. Used globally as a recreation, service, and military vehicle, the Defender is recognized as a durable, off-road capable rig with few equals.

When Land Rover ended production of the Defender in 2016, more than a few people were upset, and though the company has promised an all-new model sometime soon, there’s no such thing as a brand-new Defender in 2018. That means Defender lovers have three options to satisfy their cravings: find a well-maintained relic, snatch up one of the 150 Land Rover Works-built Defender V8s, or customize a recreation via Arkonik.

We’ve shared Arkonik’s projects before, but because each build is something of a one-off, there’s always a new and exciting model in the works. The latest example is called the D110 Duke. Based on the original Defender 110 (named for the truck’s 110-inch wheelbase), the Santorini Black Duke is both luxurious and menacing.

To build the Duke, Arkonik sourced a classic D110 in good shape, stripped the donor Defender to its bare chassis, performed all necessary framework restoration, dropped in a fully refurbished 3.5-liter V8, upgraded mechanical hardware, restored the exterior paint and trim, then built a custom interior (heavily inspired by the original design). The Duke was constructed according to the desires of its future owner, Mr. Gabbert.

“The process of specifying the exact vehicle that you’re looking for and how the team keeps you apprised of every step of the way makes the journey of building a Defender with Arkonik a very fun experience,” said Gabbert.

Highlights of the Duke’s exterior include Kahn 18-inch alloy wheels, BFGoodrich all-terrain tires, LED headlights, a Warn winch, Puma hood, First Four bumpers, and Front Runner roof rack. Inside, the Duke is distinguished by black leather, diamond trim seats, an Elite Loc-box with 12V and USB plug-ins, leather door inserts, heated front and rear seats, Evander wooden rim steering wheel, alloy gear knobs and interior accents, a Pioneer premium sound system with Apple CarPlay and a backup camera, and a suede headliner.

The bad news, of course, is that the D110 Duke is already taken (for an undisclosed price). The good news is that you can build your own Arkonik-customized Defender Icon whenever you’d like — so start dreaming.

Editors' Recommendations

Miles Branman
Miles Branman developed a passion for cars early on thanks to a neighbor’s collection of rare and exotic vehicles. What…
Range Rover shows its dark side with the Range Rover Sport Stealth Pack
Would you speed by this car if it was parked on the side of the highway?
Right side profile shot of a 2025 Range Rover Sport Dynamic SE with Stealth Pack parked on desert sand between two black monoliths.

Range Rover dropped a new appearance package for the 2025 Range Rover Sport. The Stealth Pack option, available solely for the Sport Dynamic SE model, doesn't boost the SUV's performance but focuses on looks. According to a Jaguar Land Rover news release, buyers will choose the Stealth Pack for its visceral effect on the Range Rover Sport's appearance. Whether you think it looks sporty, powerful, or scary may depend on what movies you watch or where you drive.

Why the Range Rover Sport Stealth Pack matters

Read more
50 years ago, the Audi 50 launch set the mold for decades of small cars
The Volkswagen Golf continues a legacy from another car company
A yellow Audi 50 pared on the side of a roadway with a large red concrete building in the background.

Timing might not be everything, but it worked for the Volkswagen Group in the 1970s. When the first oil crisis hit in 1973, Audi, a member of the VW Group, was about to begin production of the Audi 50, a small car that emphasized fuel economy. Introduced fifty years ago, the 1974 Audi 50's small hatchback design lives on today in the 2024 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R.
Why the Audi 50 mattered

As the image of youthful exuberance in the Audi 50 approaching the Brandenburg Gate shows in the advertisement above, Audi targeted the image of free-spirited independence and good times for the Audi 50's compact body style. Its relatively low fuel consumption and purchase price appealed to first-time buyers and anyone looking for a car that didn't suck down liters or gallons of gasoline. Audi never sold the Audi 50 in the U.S., but another car from the Volkswagen Group found a ready market in America.

Read more
Dodge Hornet R/T with PowerShot: It’s all about that torque
Dodge built a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for your inner child
Red 2024 Dodge Hornet RT parked on a city street left front three-quarter view.

The transformation from cars with internal combustion engines (ICEs) to full battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) has different looks, depending on your perspective. The Stellantis Dodge division recently shared its perspective on electrification with a video that showcases its favorite feature from the 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T with Powershot, the brand's first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The Inner Child Intervention video clarifies that, from Dodge's perspective, it's all about that torque.

Inner Child Intervention | Dodge Hornet R/T
Why the Dodge Hornet  R/T with PowerShot matters

Read more