Most of us have seen the latest Longnose incarnation of the Defender by Khan Designs, showcased last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but were you aware of the first model back in 2008 from Germany?
In reality, the story of this somewhat usual 4×4 is even more interesting. The story started with two German Land Rover enthusiasts, Thomas Bell and Holger Kalvelage, deciding that they wanted to create a type of off roadster, derived from a classic British 4×4 with the stretched bonnet, rear positioned cockpit and coupé style rear that you might find on an old classic Jaguar.
The original design was to accommodate a 1,500hp 27 litre Rolls Royce Merlin V12, yes, the very same from a WWII era Spitfire. Unfortunately the German road licensing authority had serious reservations about the safety of such an engine in the vehicle and left the designers with the option of using a more traditional 235 HP Rover V8.
When discussing the concept of the custom 4×4, Bell and Kalvelage reportedly commented, “Lawrence of Arabia would have stormed towards Akaba in the Bell Aurens Longnose and General Montgomery would have roared across the sand dunes of North Africa in pursuit of Rommel”.
Now picture that … wouldn’t have that made a good video trailer for the Bell Aurens sales. The cars inspiration and the even the name is derived from Laurence of Arabia (belL Aurens)
The model pictured here was their first prototype, it was built in 2008 and sadly the downturn of the global economy made selling bespoke vehicles like this a near impossible task. Bell and Kalvelage shelved the idea for the time being but have been quoted as saying that they will re-launch the concept if interest and the demand presents itself.
Considering the car comes with no roof, aircon, heating, CD/ radio, or any safety features what so ever, the price may seem a little excessive. The original quoted prices for the hand built Roadster stood at around £100,200 but times have moved on since then, so expect an increase if the Longnose does ever go into production.
Check out the video below of Land Rover World taking two vehicles for a spin …