The rich legacy behind the classic Land Rover Defenders is simply unmatched. No other vehicle on the planet says “off-roader,” as the British Land Rover does. However, while the history and legacy of the Defenders have remained intact over the last several decades, the Defenders themselves have undergone a significant evolution, especially regarding the vintage Defender drivetrains.
Technology and innovation have enabled iconic Defenders to have custom drivetrains, even electric drivetrains. While restoring a Vintage Land Rover comes with challenges, anything is possible through an ECD to build, including unique custom drivetrain options. Find out more about vintage Defender drivetrains vs. modern custom drivetrain options below.
In 1983, the first Land Rover Defender was officially produced. However, at the time, it was marketed as the Land Rover One Ten. Of course, Land Rover later introduced the Land Rover Discovery in 1989, which induced the need to differentiate between the two models. Thus, the Defender “One Ten” or Defender 110 was born. This marketing change also applied to the Land Rover Ninety and Land Rover 127. Throughout the 1990s, the primary Defenders were then marketed as the Defender 110, Defender 90, and Defender 130.
Looking back at the origins of the Defender, it’s important to remember that this vehicle was always designed with the primary purpose of being an off-roader. The vintage defender drivetrains highlight this fact too. In most cases, underneath a 1983 Defender hood would be a 2.25-liter gasoline or diesel engine, the same engine lineup you could find in its Series III predecessor. However, Land Rover produced a small number of 3.5 liter V8 gasoline units. The Defender 110 and Defender 90 were quickly upgraded to 2.5-liter diesel engine versions, and upgraded gasoline engines followed suit.
In addition to the more powerful engine upgrades from the Series III Land Rovers, the Defenders were given coil springs for improved axle articulation and a permanent four-wheel-drive system ensuring ultimate off-roading capabilities. However, even with these upgraded engine changes, the 1990s-era Defender still took 30 seconds to reach its top speed of 60 mph. That’s why many owners of restored Defenders opt to ditch the vintage defender drivetrains for a custom drivetrain option.
While vintage Defender drivetrains were great in their day, now it’s possible to have both the vintage defender style and the power of a modern drivetrain. At ECD, the powerful custom drivetrain options that you can put into a classic Land Rover Defender are almost limitless. A bonus is that these modern drivetrain options allow a custom Defender to reach 60 mph in just 7 seconds compared to the full 30 seconds it once took its 1990s counterpart.
The primary ECD engine offerings in the custom drivetrains include the 6.2-liter LT1 V8, the 6.2-liter LS3 & LS3+ V8, the 6.2-liter Supercharged LT4 V8, the 2.8-liter Cummins Turbo-Diesel, and even the Tesla Motor Direct drivetrain. Check out the specs on these custom drivetrain options outlined below.
In addition, custom Defender drivetrains built at ECD have automatic or manual transmission options, the full stainless steel Borla exhaust system, and the EBC high-performance brake system. Of course, more customizations can be made upon request.
As one of the most iconic British off-roaders, a vintage Defender can be a little hard to come by in the States. However, at ECD, we bridge the gap between British Land Rover imports and American consumers. Not only do we simplify the process of finding vintage Defenders, but we also specialize in custom Defender restorations. This means that however you envision your vintage Defender, ECD can make it happen. You can even use our online Defender builder to test out some colors and styles for your Defender restoration project.
From vintage Defender drivetrains, styles, and colors to modernized custom build Defenders, whatever your Defender vision is, ECD can make it happen. So, are you ready to add the iconic Land Rover Defender to your garage? If so, contact us today to find out how to start a custom Defender build today!
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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.