What do you get when three British gents with a passion for automotive perfection get together to start a business? ECD Automotive Design of course! Who could have imagined that after five short years, their dream of building the best custom Defenders in the world would have blossomed into the award-winning automotive giant known today as E.C.D. Automotive Design.
The adventure began in 2012 when Tom Humble, his wife Emily and a couple of his beloved, restored Defenders moved across the pond to Central Florida.
Not quite sure if Americans would be interested in the classic British automobile, Tom placed the automobiles on eBay where the response was overwhelming. Before he knew it, orders were coming in faster than he could manage, and it was time to bring in reinforcements.
With one phone call, two massive suitcases full of Rover parts and a bike case full of tools, brother Elliot Humble boards a flight for Florida and the rest is history or so they say. Within a few short months, the brothers opened their first workshop and brought on a handful of employees to help meet the growing demand for the classic beauties. While still needing to outsource much of the work to local vendors, Tom & Elliot quickly realized that this was not ideal, and a significant change would need to be made.
Enter Scott, also English but Scottish when it suits him, a private investor with a Blue Chip corporate background with a passion for cars that started with a Porsche mug at age 10. It was his drive along with a trip to the local Wawa that became a pivotal moment for ECD Automotive Design. In a meeting between gas pumps, it was there that our founders determined that if they wanted to do this right and become known for the best custom builds on the planet, they had to have complete control over the production line.
So, the three ripped the build process apart, redesigned it to focus on luxury and customization and then tweaked the process again! All the while maintaining the DNA of a Land Rovers mega fan determined to protect the heritage of the vehicle. From there, they created a plan to allow their clients to customize their vehicles through design experience that would ensure that each vehicle would be unique.
Now, in 2018, E.C.D. Automotive Design has more than quadrupled in every aspect; size, staff, sales, and vehicles delivered. That being said, ECD continues to define their core business values as being quality, luxury, and custom work in everything they do, from providing custom automotive body work and paint to hand-stitching a variety of interior upholstery items. ECD thrives on challenges and is driven by its need for perfection, and it is seen every day in the Luxury Design Experience that our clients participate in.
Luxury Build Experience
The process has effectively redefined how clients engage in the conceptualization, planning and building of the ultimate Land Rover Defender or Range Rover Classic from ECD.
“Until our Luxury Build Experience was introduced, the custom car buyer’s voice was largely ignored by the industry,” said Scott Wallace, E.C.D. Automotive Design Co-Owner. “In large part, luxury vehicle buyers were relegated to a standard list of accessories and options. Our Luxury Build Experience, however, begins by stripping a Defender or Range Rover Classic down to its chassis and letting the customer decide how it will be built. Each new build we complete is a brilliant example of the success of this process where a client is empowered to orchestrate the build of a vehicle that is tailored-made for their specific needs and lifestyle.”
The Luxury Build Experience is a robust journey that embraces the client throughout the design, build and delivery of their custom ECD Defender or Range Rover Classic. It begins with a special welcome packet that features paint, interior and wheel samples, as well as performance and engine options. Following an initial client meeting, digital renderings are created and presented to the client. Once the design is signed off by the client, a leather-bound booklet featuring that design is sent to the client. ECD also presents clients with a 1/10 scale model featuring true-to-life paint colors and styling of the final design.
Once a donor vehicle is located, a door hinge from the original vehicle is also encased and presented to the client as a keepsake. Throughout the build process, bi-weekly build updates with photos and delivery of the finished vehicle are presented to the client.
“The Luxury Build Experience has been an overwhelming success,” said Tom Humble, E.C.D. Automotive Design Co-owner. “From a custom builder’s perspective, it’s incredibly important to be immersed with input from our clients. That simply can’t happen alone via a phone call or through email. We’ve created a true, hands-on experience that engages the client at every level and has redefined the custom car buying journey.”
E.C.D. Automotive Design’s Design Studio at the Rover Dome is spearheaded by Richard Filpo, Head of Automotive Design. Richard joined ECD in May 2017, to manage each phase of the Premium Build Experience. Filpo accommodates each client’s need by facilitating the one-on-one meetings at the Rover Dome or will travel to a different location determined by the client. Prior to joining the ECD team, Richard was a successful freelance designer who owned his own business.
“We’ve called this our Luxury Build Experience because it best represents how we want to collaborate with our clients,” said Elliot Humble, E.C.D. Automotive Design Co-owner. “This is not a one-time meeting followed by months of silence. From the initial design meetings to the scale Defender paint sample and the delivery of the vehicle, our teams stays engaged with each client on a personal level. We’ve kicked open the door to the creative process by connecting our clients to their vehicle in a way no other luxury builder does. The client’s ideas combined with Richard’s design expertise and the incredible talent of our techs, is a perfect team for building the ultimate, hand-built custom Defender or Range Rover Classic.”
ECD plans on expanding their product line to include a variety of exquisite vehicles that explore the companies signature British feel and continue to drive their clients wild.
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© 2018 ECD Automotive Design. All images are the property of ECD Auto Design and cannot be used without our consent. E.C.D. Automotive Design is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Jaguar Land Rover Limited, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, including Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC. DEFENDER and RANGE ROVER are registered trademarks of Jaguar Land Rover Limited.