Although enthusiasts are attracted to the classic shape and feel of the Land Rover Defender, it is only natural that they are also drawn to luxury and speed. Here’s the journey of how E.C.D. went from offering “just the classics” to offering one of the first Tesla All-Electric Drivetrains for our Defenders.
E.C.D. has been restoring Land Rover Defenders to their natural glory since 2013 with one goal in mind: to be the best in the U.S. to do it. Working from a 900 sq ft facility, the 10 man crew at the time was featuring the classic 3.5L Rover V8 engine and the 300TDI in our rebuilds. The Rover V8 engine topped 60, maybe (on its best days) 70 mph, the 300TDI sometimes didn’t even make that. Quickly, the heads of E.C.D. realized that the performance of these still very nostalgic vehicles did not match their new American surroundings. A faster engine, an easy to operate automatic transmission, and a smooth drive became the demand as enthusiasts across the U.S. discovered E.C.D. for themselves.
Due to a lack of performance, we decided to remove the classic Rover V8 engine from its roster to focus on aiming higher, much much MUCH higher. E.C.D. first introduced a high powered engine to its spec options in mid-2015, after a very dedicated client needed a vehicle that was a true beast if you will. Announcing Project Beast in 2016, E.C.D. welcomed our first ever Land Rover Defender with a 430 hp 6.2L V8 LS3 motor with a 6-speed automatic transmission — one of the first of its kind.
While riding the success of its first build with a true performance engine (that also came with a 2-year/50,000 mile warranty for service here in the U.S.), we also began tinkering with adding the LC9 engine to its line-up right alongside the LS3. The G.M. 5.3L Vortec LC9 V8 engine became the standard Defender V8 engine for E.C.D., offering a sturdy, affordable, and a more fuel-efficient drive.
Of course, here at E.C.D., innovation is one of our core values, and being able to innovate while also keeping the true nature of the Defender is key. Defenders coming off the line sported diesel engines from the ’80s until the very end of production, and it only seemed right that we offer an option for enthusiasts looking to keep the heritage of their build. That and we couldn’t stay away from the lure of a challenge. In 2019, ECD decided that we were going to be the first to offer the R2.8 Puma conversion, providing the closest experience that you could get in the U.S. to a factory late model Defender, using the U.S. approved Drivetrain. The Cummins 2.8L turbo diesel produces almost twice the horsepower and 4 times more torque than the original classic Defender diesel engine, making it a perfect balance of efficiency and reliability.
In 2018, E.C.D. expanded its LS3 engine block options to include the heavily tuned LS3+, because who wouldn’t want a 565 BHP in a Defender? In fact, our fastest Defenders built to-date have each used the LS3+ Defender V8 engine upgrade.
After years of introducing a true variety of engines that the Defender hasn’t seen before, E.C.D. announced in 2019 that we had added another supercharged engine to its line-up — the G.M. 6.2L supercharged LT4 V8 engine. The LT4 is a direct-injection small-block V8 engine that produces 640-horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque at 6600 RPMs. It is the most powerful engine now offered by E.C.D. Modern advancements, plenty of power, and superior reliability are the top reasons why G.M. now dominates our Defender V8 drivetrain options.
But it’s now 2020, so it’s time E.C.D. introduces yet another drivetrain option, one that will truly rival both the V8 and Diesel engine options. This new drivetrain contrasts the heritage of the Defender completely, complimenting its go-anywhere exterior with a one-of-a-kind 21st-century powerhouse. Working with the U.K. based Electric Classic Cars, E.C.D. now offers clients the ability to add an all-electric drivetrain to their build — that’s right, a Defender with an all-electric Tesla Motor Direct Drive-train.
The “Electric Defender” is a level E.C.D. has wanted to achieve from very early on — an accomplishment that proves classic vehicles are positively timeless. Holding 100KWH of power, the Electric Defender has a 5-hour three-phase charge-time and an estimated driving range of 220 miles. We’re hoping this means seeing more Defenders in the parking lots of Targets and Publix everywhere.
With this latest drivetrain option, E.C.D.’s range allows you to access every part of your imagination for your dream build. Learn more about our bespoke Defenders by contacting our team at [email protected].
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.