As the vehicle industry heads into 2022, the car world still has its eyes on the newest and latest innovations of its past classics. Vehicles like the Land Rover Defender, the Mustang, Ford Broncos, and several other nostalgic vehicles have been revamped for release since we entered the 2020s. While the new models don’t disappoint, they seem to lack a certain quality and character that the original vehicles had. Sure they run much better and probably won’t take you and your grandson five years to fix and restore, but there was just something about those classics that could turn heads.
Now, as we enter the modern age of technology, it’s not entirely unusual to see these classics being fully restored with those modern features that the newer versions have. Companies like ECD have dedicated their business to fully restoring custom Defenders from the ground up, and some of the modifications truly outshine even features of the newer models, making the company’s vehicles the best combination of modern and classic. So far, here are the top 5 modifications we’ve seen come out of the Rover Dome.
Breaking headlines, ECD’s latest engine option is a 100 kWh Tesla Direct Drivetrain, so it’s no surprise that this modification comes in at #1. EV Defender is a buzz term that any original Defender enthusiast probably felt was on the horizon after the rise of the electric vehicle. They probably just couldn’t imagine it happening so soon, what with the classic Defenders many specific issues, needs, and workarounds already a painstaking task to modify. The engine lasts for about 220 miles, includes two tiers of HP options, and charges at any Tesla station in around 5 hours, making it a true master of modern convenience for a vehicle initially meant to help with sheep and herd military equipment.
Coming in at #2 is the panoramic roof. First featured in ECD’s Project Windswept in the summer of 2020, the nearly full panoramic roof is a modern feature that brings the original Defender into the 21st century. Seen in many vehicles on the road today, the sky views from inside are breathtaking for all rows inside the custom Defender. The nearly full panoramic roof gives the interior of the Defender an airy feeling, something not usually associated with the almost 4,000 lb 4×4. The company has since featured the new roof option on a few other vehicles.
From Thewliss Gregson to custom-built rear window boxes, custom gearboxes are probably the most useful Defender modification that would have been a success regardless of the time period. Project Rowdy from ECD features a custom Thewliss Gregson cabinet with custom cutouts to hold specific wine bottles, wine glasses, picnic gear, and the client’s 12 gauge shotgun. Project Peacemaker, another D110, had custom boxes fitted to its rear where windows should have been. Rase the shutters, and one is greeted with a post-apocalyptic style modification that upgrades the Defender from a classic off-roader to an easy access arsenal on wheels. The custom window boxes hold camping gear, axes, and other items needed when going off the grid.
The original Defender as it was wasn’t even legal in America. In fact, Land Rover built a modified version of the defender specifically for North America, the NAS, just to meet the lengthy safety and regulatory requirements. So simple modifications such as AC, USB outlets, and a new radio are in themselves huge! Match that with a fully customized interior, and the new interior is easily one of the best modifications one can make to their custom Defender. From animal skin seats, hydro-dipped panels to extra leg space, the interior of the Defender is often what makes it so unique, especially when teams like the one at ECD have clients handpick every feature and detail.
What seems like a typical modification isn’t if you were to look at the schematics the group at ECD have set up. Engineering new age technology and modifications for the 25-year-old classic doesn’t happen overnight, and anyone who has restored a Defender can attest to that. Upgrading the vehicle’s suspension, braking, and engine to make it a daily driver fit for today is quite the feat. Some of ECD’s best performance upgrades include the custom ECD Air Ride Suspension and Fox suspension, ECD’s collab custom Brembo brakes that can be customized to any color, and upgraded axles.
At this point, we’re all just sitting around waiting to see what the latest innovation is, and with ECD and other restomod shops constantly mashing the future with the past, we won’t have to wait for long to see what’s next.
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