The Land Rover Defender is an iconic off-road 4×4, most known for being robust and versatile with an uncanny ability to conquer the toughest of terrains. Since the release of the new 2020 Defender, upgrade options for the classic Defender have been increasing in popularity. After all, sometimes there’s just nothing quite like a classic. Below are custom Defender upgrades you should definitely consider for an increase in performance, reliability, and modernization without sacrificing the classic Defender look.
Best Performance Engine
In 2020 we introduced the Supercharged Chevrolet LT4 engine to our lineup of engine options. The direct-injection LT4 is the engine of the Chevy Camaro ZL1 and produces 640 hp. With and 630 lb-ft of torque at 6600 RPMs, this drivetrain is our most powerful engine al la carte and with various performance upgrades and tuning can reach 650 hp and 650 lbs of torque. The Supercharged LT4 engine drives your 4,000+ lb custom Defender from 0-60 in under 6 seconds, an astonishing feat for the classic vehicle.
6.2L LT4 V8 engine
Horsepower – 6400 hp (factory)
Horsepower – 650 hp (performance-tuned)
Torque – 630 lbs-ft
0-60 MPH Time – 5.5-6.0 seconds
Best Budget-friendly Performance Engine
The Chevrolet LC9 V8 engine is a more affordable alternative to the LS engine if you’re looking for excellent reliability. Still packing plenty of power, though not as much as the LS3, this is the second most popular engine for a custom Defender.
5.3L V8 engine
Horsepower – 320 hp
Torque – 348 lb-ft
0-60 MPH Time – 6.9 seconds
Cummins Diesel Engine
Cummins is the frontrunner for performance diesel engines. The Cummins 2.8L turbo diesel produces almost twice the horsepower and 4 times more torque than the original classic Defender diesel engine. It’s proven to be efficient and reliable, bringing a new power option to the classic Defenders.
2.8L Turbo 4-cylinder engine
Horsepower – 160 hp
Torque – 267 lb-ft
0-60 MPH Time — (currently in testing)
Best Efficiency Engine
ECD introduced its first-ever all-electric drivetrain with the Tesla Direct engine. Perfect for those seeking California Compliance, the quiet and reliable drivetrain option offers 100 KWH of power, with a 220-mile driving range, and a 5-hour three-phase charge-time. Efficiency doesn’t undercut performance with this engine choice, at 450 bhp, the Tesla Direct Drivetrain can take you from 0-60 seconds in under 6 seconds. The Tesla engine can easily and conveniently be charged at any of the 25,000 Tesla charging stations across the country. For those looking for even more speed, a 600 bhp option is also available.
Tesla Direct Drivetrain
Horsepower – 450 hp (600 hp option)
Power – 100 KWH
Charge time – 5-hour
Range – 220 miles
0-60 MPH Time — 5.5-6 seconds
Best Suspension for Maximum Comfort
ECD’s adjustable air suspension provides an ultra-smooth ride for maximum comfort while offering the ability to adjust the suspension according to your driving style. Our fully adjustable air suspension for your Defender is controlled from the comfort of your vehicle. The air suspension is suitable for off-road use, daily use, and even towing.
Upgraded Springs and Shocks
Depending on the intended use of your custom Defender, there are plenty of suspension upgrade options available. Our most popular suspension setups include shocks and springs from Old Man Emu, Fox, Terrafirma, and Bilstein. Each one of these brands provides proven technology for ensuring optimal ride quality. The exact setup will be determined by your intended use and the ride quality you desire.
Choosing wheels for your custom Land Rover Defender should be about more than just looks (although we definitely love a set of good looking wheels). The wheels for your custom Defender should also function and perform in a way that’s suited for your driving style. E.C.D. offers a wide variety of wheels for your custom Defender.
Most Unique Wheels
For wheels as unique as your custom Defender, E.C.D. is proud to offer custom E.C.D. forged alloy wheels. Our custom forged wheels are only available as part of a custom-built Defender and cannot be purchased anywhere else. Designed in partnership with ADV1, these stunning, lightweight custom forged wheels are made to order and available in sizes 18-20 inches in any finish and color you would like.
Alloy vs Steel wheels for Your Defender
For daily driving, we highly recommend lightweight alloy wheels. Lightweight alloy wheels are designed for optimal performance in acceleration and braking.
If you’re going to be an off-road crusader, then the wheels for your custom Defender should be steel, as they are tougher and more rugged which ideal for handling potential off-road obstacles and the overall intensity of off-road driving.
Seats for Your Custom Defender
While there are a variety of seat options to choose from for your custom Defender, if you’re looking to upgrade, we recommend going with Recaro or Corbeau. The Recaro Orthoped seats are ideal for a sleek look with maximum comfort. The Recaros provide excellent support with a variety of comfort features such as a power lumbar system, heating and ventilation, thigh extension, adjustable headrest, and power seat adjustments.
Prefer a race-inspired look with ultra-comfort? The Corbeau Trailcat or RRS seats are for you. They give your custom Defender an ultra-sleek look while offering excellent lumbar support with optional heating and ventilation.
When it comes to your custom Defender, we proudly offer a virtually unlimited number of upholstery materials and options for your build. From the popular hand-tipped Spinneybeck leather to the more adventurous Garret hide or colored leathers, your interior options are both beautiful and comfortable. Dual-toned and patterned leather-wrapped interiors can completely transform the interior of your build into a stunning one-of-a-kind vehicle that is uniquely you.If you unsure about the design, our 3D rendering software can help you pair your exterior, interior, and pattern options to help design your dream vehicle before we start building.
There are plenty of classic Defender paint colors to choose from that are absolutely beautiful. However, if you have to ability to choose any color you want or curate your own custom color, why limit yourself? At ECD, our in-house paint facility allows our clients to choose any color they desire for their custom Defender. Whether you want to match your custom Defender to your favorite super or your favorite dress, we’ve got you covered.
When we say our rebuilt Defenders are fully customized, we truly mean it. If you decide to purchase a custom Defender from ECD Automotive Design, you’ll be in the driver seat of your design, choosing every aspect of how your one-of-a-kind truck is built.
Learn more about the custom Defender design process here.
5286 Giron Circle Kissimmee, FL 34758
UK logistics Center
Unit 5 Crown Industrial Estate
© 2022 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.