E.C.D. Automotive Design, formerly known as East Coast Defender, changed its name because of this vehicle. The problem is that the Defender market is quickly becoming saturated, at least here on the Boston area. Old ones are constantly being overhauled and new old ones are constantly being imported. And then there is the new Jeep Wrangler, which should make potential overhauled Defender buyer really question their choice. I know this because I drove them both, and I’d take the Jeep for every reason except the nostalgic one.
And that nostalgic reason is a biggie but it sure isn’t limited to the Defender. The long wheel base Range Rover now known as the Classic was introduced when I was in high school. I immediately fell in love with it. In the twenty years since I have looked at a few of those but never pulled the trigger, usually ending up with something less reliable and refined. Prices and conditions varied and there was never a time when a Rangie I could afford was in a good enough condition for me to own. And I am guessing that I am not the only one.
E.C.D. Automotive Design realized that the market is strong enough to crank out these Range Rover Classics by the dozen, and this is the first of its kind. And they’re not the only ones. Completely rebuilt, overhauled, and improved, the series of these Range Rovers will be available in three trim levels, two wheel base lengths, two engine choices, and an undefined number of color options.
Inside you have a choice of the original dash that received the full redo treatment, or a more modern dash from a 90s Land Rover Disco, which despite still having some drawbacks, is a significant improvement over the Range Rover dash. The seats look and probably feel better than they ever did when the Rovers rolled off their UK assembly plant. Suspension was all redone as well although E.C.D. seem to have gotten away from the original air suspension, which isn’t a bad idea.
Under the good is the obvious choice of a Chevy small block with a six speed automatic transmission or the less desirable Rover V8 mated to a 4-speed transmission. The pictured example is finished off is a set of original wheels, but wheels sized 16″-20″ are available.
As much as I love the current new Range Rovers, having the choice, I think I would select one of these for my Vermont ski/summer house. It has everything the new one does and the retro looks, which have simply become cool now. E.C.D. doesn’t say what the price is, but the price is obvious, and undoubtedly many who graduated from high school on the mid-90s have enough dough to splurge on one.