Video: ECD Land Rover Defender 90 – Bespoke Awesomeness

ECD Land Rover Defender 90 (Images: TFLoffroad)

Like all of their vehicles, the ECD Land Rover Defender 90 was custom built – from the ground up.

East Coast Defender (ECD), in Kissimmee, Florida built the ECD Land Rover Defender 90 for a client following their exact specifications. How exact? The client gets to choose the body, frame, interior, exterior, suspension, powertrain, and nearly every conceivable component that can be attached. It is a bespoke vehicle from the ground up.

The process is fascinating. Over the course of about a year, the ECD client’s vehicle completes a journey that requires around 2,200 man-hours.

The first step is the client’s selections. In this case, the client wanted a Defender 90 convertible body and is given a multitude of choices for every single option. You can choose just about any type of fabric, trim, stitching, patterns, seat design, and carpet. All of which is top of the line. After seeing a 3D rendering of what you envision, they use their proprietary rendering software to take you through your vehicles. Every single bit can be seen in 3D, and if you don’t like it, they can change it.

The ECD Land Rover Defender 90 started as an old relic

“Finding old Land Rovers in England is like finding old F-150s in the States.” That’s what Scott Wallace told me as he went through the process. Scott is one of the founders and is partnered with brothers Tom and Elliot Humble. All three run the business with 50 employees, and they have found a unique non-cooperate harmony that’s effective. ECD has been in business since 2013, and they have built well over 300 specialized vehicles.

ECD locates donner vehicles primarily in the UK and ships them here. Once they arrive, they are tagged to the client – and that tag (it’s their client’s name – or the project’s name) follows the vehicle through completion. I saw a line of a dozen or so Defenders lined up, waiting to be rebuilt.

The body and frame are separated. Anything that is structurally sound will be fully reconditioned. The chassis is completely rebuilt from bare metal, anodized, coated, and receives the color of the client’s choosing. Yep, all the way down to the frame. From there, it is built up with specialized components – all based on the client’s discretion.

See where this is going?

There are a ton of powertrain choices.

You can choose a variety of engines, including the original (rebuilt) Rover V8, a bunch of GM V8s, a diesel – and now, a Tesla powertrain. Yep, their newest choice is a full-on EV motivator. Basically, the Tesla batteries and motor are combined with the Rover’s transaxle.

The ECD Land Rover Defender 90 (I think it started life as a late 1970’s model) came with a GM LS3 435 (not sure yet) V8, hoked up to a six-speed automatic transmission. Other engine & transmission choices are available as well. I saw a sweet Land Rover Series IIA with an LS3 and a manual transmission. Heaven.

Axles and transfer cases seem to be stock, but the clients can opt for just about anything upon request. While this one had a modern suspension and coil springs, others have air suspension and serious shocks. Once again, it’s up to the client’s discretion.

You get what you pay for.

The end result is a vehicle that is distinctively yours – and you’ll pay for it. Pricing starts around $180(ish),000. Some of the vehicles we saw were easily prices around $250,000. The ECD Land Rover Defender 90 (that I adored) was in the mid $190,000 range. While that is expensive, you have to think of the clientele. These prices run from the Bentley Bentayga to Rolls-Royce Cullinan territory, and their clients could drive these SUVs – if they wanted. They chose something unique that is unquestionably theirs.

Would I buy one and bash it off-road? Hell, if I had the means to buy one, absolutely. Why, because (technically) I built it for me!

Check out this video and tell us what you think!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.