The Land Rover Defender has been around for a long time–some (including European legislators) might say too long, which is why the model is being replaced next year with a more modern specimen that aims to improve everything from ride comfort to off-road capability.
Nevertheless, it says something about the Defender that is has managed to last as long as it has. Over the course of 66 years, the Defender has been held aloft in the highest reaches of off-road lore for its purported qualities of ruggedness and reliability.
One company, West Coast Defender, strives to continue the legacy of the Defender much the same way that TLC continues the legacy of the Land Cruiser: by resto-modding the crap out of them to make them better-than-new. With locations at home and abroad, WCD is quickly making its name as more and more of its incredible 90 or 110 models roll out of the shop.
In the words of Matthew Perlman, the company’s founder: “A Defender to me is like a Patek Philippe watch compared to a Rolex watch; [I have] nothing against Rolex, they make very nice timepieces, but it takes a more cultured palate, a more refined style and taste to find that truck…” Treating the Defender like a treasure is what Perlman does every day, and each of his company’s creations serves as testament to this belief.
The process starts with a 230-point inspection that goes right down to the nuts and bolts. Notes are taken to replace this or that part, and the vehicle is then sand-blasted down to its bare metal. After that, “it takes about two to three weeks to respray [everything],” says Perlman.
Inside is where most of the magic happens, as WDC reupholsters the leather and headliner, and adds the creature comforts the 4×4 deserves: stereo surround sound, navigation, and more. Meanwhile, the outside is restored to perfection with new panels and bespoke styling to the hood, sidesteps, and fascia. Per the company website, the costs of these upgrades ranges from $85,000-$105,000.
When it comes to restoring these old Land Rovers to their former glory, West Coast Defender has made it clear that they’re no joke. It is pure passion and that’s something we can all respect. Find them on the web and on Facebook for more information.