Best Lights for your Custom Range Rover ClassicApril 26, 2019
Engine Swap and Restoration for the Land Rover Series IIAMay 1, 2019
If you are in the market to purchase a custom Defender, there is some due diligence to ensure that your purchase is of the highest quality. The following are a compiled list of what we think you should ensure your custom Defender builder is doing to get the highest return for you.
- Where is the vehicle built? If not in the USA then why not? It is much cheaper to make these vehicles abroad, but it does not mean it can be imported. Also, whoever you are buying it from has no control over the process or the quality of the work
- If they say it is built in the USA, where? Is it all in house? If not then again there is no control over timing or quality, you are merely getting the best bid that the company has found to complete your vehicle.
- Ask to see the premises, photos or video. I would be concerned if there are vehicles of other make/model all over the place, as they do not specialize, you would want to see a clean, fully staffed workshop, a team in uniform and Defenders everywhere in various stages of completion. You don’t want to buy from a company where building Defenders is a side hobby as the owners have seen $ signs.
- What are the qualifications of the technicians? You wouldn’t send your Ferrari to Mike’s Auto body and Collision for engine work. Why would you have your Defender built by an inexperienced and unqualified team? Do they have ASE’s? Do they have genuine Defender experience? Do they have Master certified technicians and Engineers?
- What does the QC process look like? Who is in charge of QC? At what point during the build schedule is it carried out? If they cannot explain in bullet point answers, then there is likely not a QC process. There is no grey area with QC; it should be factual and to the point. One would expect a Master certified ASE technician or engineer to be in charge of QC.
- Do they have a warranty program? This is the big one. I’m sure you will be told there is a warranty, but ask how it will be serviced, what is the process for repair and shipping, etc.? You will likely be hundreds if not thousands of miles away from your builder, are they going ask you to ship it back to them for repair?
- What is the engine? Where did it come from? You should ask to see a receipt for the engine, now I wouldn’t expect a shop to show you prices paid, but you should be able to see where it came from and when. What you don’t want to see is a breaker, scrap yard or used engine rebuilder, it should be new, likely within three to four months of your completion date. This also affects your GM warranty as it starts from the date on the receipt. If the block is 12 months old, you only have 12 months left.
- How many vehicles built? How many clients willing to be a reference? I would be asking for not only those with glowing reviews but some who have had issues and been through the warranty process. Getting an overall picture is essential.
- Do you have visibility throughout the build process? What systems are used for milestones, benchmarks? How often are you contacted? Again this should be factual and to the point. Who runs the design team? How will they ensure the build is to your exact specifications? Do you receive mockups, renderings, paint and leather samples, etc.?