Five Land Rover Defender 'Restomods' We'd Like To Own

Will Hersey
·4-min read
Photo credit: Zero Labs
Photo credit: Zero Labs

From Esquire

While the all-new Land Rover Defender launched this year to much critical acclaim, the nostalgic love for the trusty original's incomparable character and boxy design has shown no signs of slowing down.

Quite the opposite in fact, as demand continues for a slew of 'restomod' versions; restored, modified and powered up rebuilds which are now being offered in various specs and variations.

Now it's gone, it seems the original Defender has never looked so desirable. Especially given these ones come with the kind of modern tech and comforts, original owners could only dream of.

Here are five we wouldn't mind having parked outside:

Osprey Land Rover Defender

Photo credit: Kelly Edwards Anchored in Love LLC
Photo credit: Kelly Edwards Anchored in Love LLC

This North Carolina outfit is focusing on Defenders from the Nineties, rebuilding them virtually from scratch and adding a General Motors 5.3 litre V8 engine producing a more than solid 325hp.

In come a decent raft of mod-cons too - heated seats, air-con, LED lights and a touchscreen console in the cabin.

Photo credit: Kelly Edwards Anchored in Love LLC
Photo credit: Kelly Edwards Anchored in Love LLC

If you think the stealthy black paint-job is the best thing about it, there's one other big draw for would-be restomod customers: reliability. That a classic like this can be enjoyed every day for its looks and attitude is a big enough win to make these in high-demand despite costing $100,000 a pop. Osprey Custom Cars

Zero Labs' Electric Series III Land Rover Defender

Photo credit: Zero Labs
Photo credit: Zero Labs

This LA start-up has already been making a name for itself for restoring, rebuilding and converting old Ford Broncos into fully-electric versions which are finished to a stunningly high spec and detail, right down to the last rivet.

Now - praise be - the firm has just begun giving the series III Defender a similar level of treatment.

Photo credit: Zero Labs
Photo credit: Zero Labs

Available in Classic or Beach (which features a removable hard or soft top) style, this 1971-1985 model gets a re-engineered chassis, independent suspension and the same 70kWh electric powertrain as the Bronco, offering an approximate range of 235 miles on one charge.

Yes it comes with a chunky $185,000 price tag, but then Zero Labs have managed to nail the perfect restomod balance between authentic original style and shiny modern luxury.

ECD Automotive Defender 90

Photo credit: ECD Automotive
Photo credit: ECD Automotive

It's perhaps no surprise to hear that this beach-ready Defender hails from Florida, but Land Rover specialists ECD Automotive can customise your Defender any way you want it.

This bespoke Defender 90 rebuild features stainless steel bumpers, satin black alloys and a front winch for any sticky situations.

Inside, beige leather diamond-stitched seats and a Sony infotainment system will keep you in the manner you're accustomed. A custom-built air suspension keeps the ride smooth while a 6.2 litre Chevrolet engine provides the grunt.

Arkonik V8 LWB Defender

Photo credit: Arkonik
Photo credit: Arkonik

Somerset-based Arkonik has been restoring Land Rovers since 2006 and isn't far short of 300 restored and modified cars rebuilt to each customers specification, mainly in the States.

This Eighties V8 LWB blue Defender however was built as a tribute to the car that started it all 14 years ago, carrying a thrusting 430hp from its installed Chevy LS3 6.2-litre V8 and making plenty of noise in the process.

This isn't a car built for keeping a low-profile after all. In the cabin, tweed seats and a fully bespoke instrument panel help provide the polish. But it's under the skin - rebuilt chassis, new transmission and the list goes on - that the hard work and know-how really shows.

ACH Classic

Photo credit: ACHSV/Andy Morgan
Photo credit: ACHSV/Andy Morgan

A short wheelbase soft-top Defender has to be a contender for the best-looking, most nimble and most popular versions. Very few will reach the levels of luxury of this faithfully and painstakingly renovated Defender from Silverstone-based ACHSV however.

The original 2.4 litre engine remains, albeit extensively upgraded, as the focus of the project was largely to showcase how much can be done to transform a Defender's look and feel.

As well as the striking metallic grey paintwork and red canvas contrast soft-top, it's the tan leather interior that really steals the show; alongside the modern tech including satnav and digital radio, these restomods really start to make a lot of sense.

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