Is there truly anything better than cruising down the highway or the backroads behind the wheel of a classic Land Rover Defender? At ECD, we don’t tend to think there is, and if you’re anything like us, you probably don’t either. There’s just something special about the Land Rover Defender, especially the 1970s Land Rover Defenders. These vintage Defenders demand attention out on the road not only with their physical presence but also with their aesthetic draw. Here’s a look at the 1970s Land Rover Defenders and the iconic Land Rover legacy.
The Land Rover brand has long been synonymous with offroading, one of the main factors that helped the brand earn its status as an icon. However, while Land Rovers are all about performance, they’ve never skimped on looks. Land Rovers have always had an aesthetically pleasing look about them, a look that continues to draw in gearheads today.
The legacy of the Land Rover traces back to 1948 when the Rover Company began producing SUVs inspired by the British Army Jeeps used during World War II. The original Land Rover Series was manufactured from 1948-1985 with the initial intent of being a superior utility and agricultural vehicle. The first Land Rovers were all various shades of green as they were built from military surplus following the end of World War II. Over the years, four submodels emerged, including Series I, Series II, Series IIA, and Series III.
The first official Land Rover Defender, initially marketed as the Land Rover One Ten, rolled off the production line in 1983. However, the Land Rover Series IIA and Series III serve as predecessors of the first Land Rover Defender. Therefore, Series IIA and Series III are essentially the Land Rover Defenders of the 1970s.
The Land Rover Series IIA was manufactured from 1961 to 1971. The model was known for being stout and powerful. It was available in various configurations and drivetrain options. The Series IIA included 2-door, 4-door, and 2-door pickup options. In addition, the SUV could be powered by a 4-cylinder gasoline engine, a 6-cylinder gasoline engine, or a 4-cylinder diesel engine.
Following the Series IIA, the next model in the Land Rover Series lineup was Series III which was manufactured from 1971 to 1985. Like its predecessor, the Series III was a highly sought-after utility vehicle throughout Europe, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and the North American market. As was the case for most Land Rover models, few were made for the North American market, which only helped to enhance the Land Rover allure in the States.
At ECD, we specialize in custom Land Rover restoration projects. This includes restored 1970s Land Rover Defenders in the form of the Series IIA. These 1970s Land Rover Defenders are special in the fact that there were only 811 ever manufactured directly for the North American market.
The first Series IIA restoration at ECD took place in the form of Project Harmony. This Series IIA was restored with a modern Chevrolet LS3 engine with 430 horsepower. Of course, this is a far cry from the original engine in the Series IIA, which was built to handle just 70 horsepower. In addition to its added power, Project Harmony is a head turner painted in Aintree Green Metallic with a roof finished in full gloss black. In the interior, you’ll find four inward-facing jump seats in the load area, a middle bench seat, and two captain chairs finished with Torino Terrier Beige Leather.
Another Series IIA restoration build is Project Henry. For this project, our clients wanted to maintain the classic factory look and feel of a Series IIA while also creating a vehicle that could function efficiently out on the road today. Project Henry was finished in full gloss Chawton white with brown vinyl seats located in the interior. This color combo really adds to maintaining the classic look and feel of a Series IIA on this vintage restoration project. Overall, Project Henry is a showstopper that seamlessly blends classic style with modern performance.
If you’re looking to start a fully customized vintage Land Rover build, look no further than ECD. Whether you’re looking at 1970s Land Rover Defenders, 1990s Range Rover Classics, or vintage Jaguar E-Types, ECD can bring your restoration dreams to life. To get a better sense of the customization options available on a vintage build project, check out our 3D Build Simulator to get a rundown of all the customizable configurations. Or, if you’re ready to get your build project in the works, contact us today to learn more about the design and build process!
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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.