More than quadruple the original power!
After two decades of enviously watching Europe enjoy the Land Rover Defender, the nameplate will finally make its return to the US later in 2019. The new Defender looks great so far in leaked photos, but purists may not like how it strays from the original with the inclusion of modern technology. For those who prefer a more old-school machine sprinkled with a few creature comforts, a company called ECD (East Coast Defender) has been taking old Defender models and reimagining them with new engines, new interiors, and visual upgrades.
ECD has also branched outside of the Defender market with the Range Rover Classic and has now announced the third model in its lineup. That would be the ECD Series IIA, a charmingly restored vintage off-roader with the heart of a Corvette V8. CarBuzz had the chance to drive the new Series IIA (and one of ECD's Defenders), and the experience was truly one-of-a-kind.
When it first rolled off the assembly line from 1961 to 1971, the Series IIA was designed to handle around 70 horsepower - the 6.2-liter LS3 produces 430 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, well over quadruple the original output. All of those American horses are sent out through a 6L80E six-speed automatic transmission with a Hurst shifter, but ECD will happily equip it with a manual as well. ECD has also added Puma Classic axles while retaining the leaf spring suspension. A Borla exhaust has also been installed so you can hear all of those 430 horses charging when you mash the accelerator.
ECD gives each of its vehicles a distinct name, and this Series IIA is simply known as Project Harmony. It has been painted in a color called Aintree Green and paired with Torino Terrier Beige leather. Inside, ECD has resisted the temptation to add modern creature comforts, so the steering has been left unassisted and the air conditioning only consists of vents on the dash that can be opened to suck in air. This is, after all, a vehicle for off-road enthusiasts seeking a vintage feel without the hassle of dealing with vintage car maintenance.
"ECD chose to add the Series 2A to its line-up because it gives us a chance to restore a true classic vehicle that, even with features chosen by the client, still keeps the character and charm of the 1960's original," says Elliot Humble, co-founder of ECD Automotive Design. Pricing begins at $180,000 and with over 2,200 man-hours dedicated to each vehicle, it seems worth every penny.