Very few Defender sellers/traders/brokers, whatever you want to call us crazy folks, show the process it takes to get from a donor truck to the final result. Part of that is few few of them do the work themselves, or they just import vehicles without any knowledge or experience to restore them properly.
We were inspired to offer up this transparency after seeing far too many questionable builds being put on the market. Sometimes we would see things that were just mechanical nightmares, while other times we would simply see stuff that was exceedingly expensive and we wondered what kind of gold plating they must have been using?
Preserving, restoring, and building a vintage Land Rover Defender is a dirty process. It takes a lot of time, patience, experience, parts, and years of knowledge. We’re learning each day. Mostly because we run into things that cause us to scratch our head and say, “why the heck did they do that?” This is mostly in regards to previous owners/mechanics, but also sometimes Land Rover proper.
After looking at about 100 different trucks as potential donors, or bases, for projects, we bring them into our workshop to do an initial assessment before we begin any build. If we didn’t acquire the Defender for a specific build, this gives us an idea what type of project it will be best suited for. For example: if the top is leaking and there isn’t any interior trim, it makes a good soft-top conversion. Or, many times, we find a great donor that is a great truck as it stands, event though we might have planned a complete panel off restoration. We save these good ones and try to keep them in our Preservation Series of Defenders.
Below are two videos from our Salisbury, UK shop where Andrew walks us through an assessment of the donor Defender. Without ruining the end of the story, we found this vehicle to be in very good shape compared to others we’ve seen.
Part I – Topside
Part II – On The LIft
Following the initial assessment we may begin the build immediately, or simply put the Defender in storage for our reserve collection. In this case, we have a project in mind – a complete restoration soft-top beach cruiser that will actually end up in Minnesota with one of our clients here. We will begin the project in our Salisbury shop, with work to be finished in our Minneapolis and Renville preservation centers.
Stay tuned for more updates.