There’s no denying the Vintage Land Rover Defender is an iconic British vehicle known for its off-roading capabilities. However, we understand that just because you want to drive a vintage Land Rover, it doesn’t necessarily mean you want to feel stuck in the past every time you step inside. Luckily, the team at ECD are experts at melding the charm of the original Land Rover with the modern amenities of today.
One way that the ECD team brings the custom Defender into the 21st century is by installing an upgraded Puma Defender Dash into it. This addition allows Defender owners to enjoy all the amenities of modern technology alongside the feel of a vintage vehicle. Here’s everything you need to know about the modern Puma dashboard.
The original Defenders that rolled off the production lines in the 1980s and 1990s all sported the Classic Defender Dash. While that was all well and good decades ago, consumers looking to drive around in a restored vintage Defender today understandably want more out of their dashboards. This is where the Puma Defender Dash comes into play.
The Puma Defender Dash is an upgraded dashboard that provides the original Defender owners with current technology. Not only does it have more tech and switches than the initial Defender dashes, but it also combines a sleeker-looking console and interior with a more aesthetically pleasing design overall.
One problem that the Classic Defender dashboard creates during restoration projects is that the AC unit takes up so much space, as it has to fit at the bottom of the dashboard. In comparison, the AC unit that comes with the Puma Defender Dash is more precisely engineered — it can actually sit in the console of the Defender. This not only lends more legroom to the driver and front-seat passenger, but the AC also provides better vent flow and overall air quality to the Defender.
In addition, with the Puma Defender Dash, Defender owners can have a big screen on their dashboard, which may be outfitted with a backup camera, CarPlay, and touchscreen capabilities. The flow on the Puma Defender Dash is simply superior, as it feels less clunky and has room for newer configurations, such as the GM 6-speed shifter, wireless charging, USB ports, and in-car WiFi.
In comparison to the Puma Defender Dash, the Classic Defender Dash is a very simplistic dashboard with very few buttons and limited functionality. While not all Defenders in the 1980s and 1990s came with AC units, the ones that did have the AC vents hidden at the bottom of the dashboard. These vents sit near a person’s knees, leading to a cramped feeling and likely causing the average adult to bang into them at least once during every drive. Essentially, the AC vents on the classic dash seem more like an afterthought.
With the Classic Defender Dash, there’s really no way around this restricted feeling for those who want AC in their Defender. Because the blow motor and heater core are coupled inside behind the dashboard, the AC unit has to be a full under-dash unit that takes up some of the leg room. Along with this, the Classic Defender Dash doesn’t really leave space for additional switches or tech to be incorporated during restoration.
Ultimately, if you want to feel like you’ve been transported back to the 1980s when you step into your Defender, the Classic Defender Dash is the way to go. However, if you’re more interested in blending the legacy of the Land Rover Defender with the best amenities modern technology has to offer, then you’re going to prefer the Puma Defender Dash.
Here are two of our favorite ECD projects that feature the upgraded Puma dashboard.
One recent ECD restoration project that features the upgraded Puma Defender Dash is Project Pivot. As highlighted on The Shop, this project features a convertible Land Rover Defender 110 build. The LS3 Defender has a fiery orange body with a black roof to match its 16-inch Sawtooth wheels and BF Goodrich all-terrain tires.
The inside of this Defender is modern and sleek, with tan leather accents throughout. Of course, Project Pivot is also equipped with all the latest amenities, including the Puma Defender Dash. The dashboard features a black MOMO PROTOTIPO steering wheel, vintage gauges, and a touchscreen radio system. Additional touches includes a high-tech JL Audio sound system, CarPlay, Bluetooth, and two USB ports.
Another recent ECD build that features the Puma Defender Dash is Project Hutton. This fully restored 1985 Land Rover Defender is truly a sight to see. Outfitted with a high-performance LT4 engine, painted in glossy Porsche Frozen Blue, and trimmed with silver and bright yellow accents throughout, Project Hutton demands attention.
As highlighted on StreetTrucks, this ECD restoration also has a stunning interior that features Caressa Silver Touch leather, the MOMO PROTOTIPO steering wheel, and the Puma Defender Dash. The dashboard on this Defender features a touchscreen Kenwood eXcelon with CarPlay, Bluetooth, WiFi, a wireless charging station, four USB charging ports, and an audiophile-quality Infinity Kappa sound system.
Both Project Hutton and Project Pivot are prime examples of how ECD can beautifully integrate the legacy of the Land Rover with modern technology in every custom build.
Whether you want your Defender to sport the classic dash or upgrade to the modern Puma dashboard, the team at ECD can make it happen. No matter how you decide to outfit your custom build, your Defender will always be considered an iconic British off-roader.
It’s time to take your foot off the brake and put the pedal to the metal when it comes to your custom Land Rover Defender build. If you’re ready to learn more about the process, contact us today!
Feel free to contact ECD Automotive Design today, and you’ll embark on a journey filled with boundless possibilities for tailoring your automotive dreams. Our team of experts is eager to collaborate with you, ensuring that your vehicle reflects your unique style and preferences. With ECD, your automotive vision becomes a reality.
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© 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. We build restored defenders, range rover classic’s, and jaguar etypes.