We had the opportunity to set out on an adventure to visit a very special place where creative minds at E.C.D. Automotive Design (formerly East Coast Defender Automotive Design) primarily build restored Land Rover Defenders. Not only are these “restored” Land Rovers but they are customized to the specifications and desires of every customer.
In recent years, ECD has ventured into setting a precedence of specialized restorations of not only Land Rover Defenders but other unique vehicles, such as the vintage 1960s Jaguar E-Type and Land Rover Range Rovers from the 1990s. With such, they have been recognized for their accomplishments to become a publicly traded company this year, opening the door to expansion and taking on newfound automotive customization products.
Since ECD’s start in 2013, they have mostly perfected their specialized art of being a master builder in the full restoration and customization of Land Rovers. After our one-on-one tour with the heads at ECD at their new, much larger 100,000-square-foot facility, we left nearly speechless in witnessing firsthand the unsurpassed quality and attention to detail put into every build they take on. In fact, the only replication at ECD is their basic process for each build, which then births a one-off vehicle each and every time that’s ready to appease even the most discerning and analytical customer.
Fundamentally, every vehicle that leaves the factory is unique and never replicated. Every customer is treated almost like family, giving them the reigns to design a truly unique vehicle that’s modernized with plug-and-play components, fine hand-crafted luxurious appointments and the creature comforts that you expect out of a modern SUV. That customer treatment goes beyond the initial build and is extended throughout the warranty period, where every buyer gets white glove service and is assured of getting a live person to talk to with every single phone call into the service department. You don’t find that level of service these days, even when you spend six figures or more at your local automotive dealership!
The unsurpassed quality and customer relationships instilled at ECD have placed them on a pedestal to become the most recognized custom builder of such vehicles. To put the workmanship and quality aspects to the test, I was able to test drive a couple of their unique creations, such as their “Project Point Break” Land Rover 90 soft-top. Their project Point Break is equipped with a Corvette LT1 6.2-liter V8 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, custom exhaust, high-performance brakes, 20-inch wheels, a Puma-configured mineral blue leather-seating interior with vintage dash gauges and the outside adorned in a Cool Khaki Grey paint color with silver accents. This is one special vehicle.
Driving the Project Point Break Land Rover Defender 90 was a special treat and quite a surprise as it behaved like a modern SUV but retained some of the rugged aspects that you only find in a 30-plus-year-old Land Rover. There was an abundance of power, and the exhaust from the V8 titillated a few of my senses, from the smell and vibration to the roaring rumble. Everywhere you go, people turn and look – some do a doubletake as they attempt to figure out what they are seeing on the road. They look as if they are wondering if it is a classic 1980-1990s Defender with a special paint job or is it something else? Sure, “something else” about sums it up as you’ll be hard-pressed to see such a creation on public roads – unless you’re just that lucky or you’re at a local Cars & Coffee show. For an even rarer experience, ECD also has electric Defenders, Range Rover Classics, and forthcoming Jaguar E-Types that tout a fully electric drivetrain and large enough battery for a respectable range of over 220 miles or more. Still, for the gas-burning gearheads, you can get a 500+ horsepower monster built if you opt for a LS3 or Supercharged LT4 V8 engine.
My infatuation with ECD and their approach to building customized Land Rovers and other forthcoming vehicles isn’t just me blowing smoke up your hind parts – it’s truly something special to me – as someone who has driven well over 1,000 different vehicles during my time of running my Automotive Addicts website. I’ve never really experienced anything like this from seeing firsthand how a classic Defender is stripped down to the frame, witnessing the frame getting refinished, and then seeing how the process takes to life receiving components from individual departments – almost like an assembly line at a major automotive manufacturer’s plant but without the conveyor belt approach. The only thing, every single person I met along the build process was happy to be there and had a passion for building something amazing. Every employee is given the freedom to make their work area their own without the typical corporate environment, which has often proven to be more enjoyable for employees.
While the price of ECD vehicles can be a bit of a sticker shock to some, I would not have any issue writing a check for admission to have such a unique and special vehicle that I helped design. In fact, if I ever get the chance, I’ll be paying them another visit to talk about what MY Land Rover Defender build will look like. I can’t wait!
I would like to personally thank the crew at ECD for taking the time to share with us their passion in building customized vehicle, and I wish them many years of growth and success.
To view recent Land Rover projects at ECD, please visit them at https://ecdautodesign.com/ecd-showcase/. Also, if you would like to create your own custom build, visit their 3D ECD build configurator at https://ecdautodesign.com/product/defender-90/ and select your vehicle series.pant