This is how you do the custom Defender thing the right way

Far too often, these companies that specialize in custom resto-modded Land Rover Defenders take things too far. The wheels are tacky. Inside, the cabin is overwrought. And the overall simplicity that is a Defender is quickly ruined. Now, I’m not against a resto-modded vehicle. In fact, when done well, I appreciate them. And this is a perfect example of that idea… the Heritage Customs-designed Defender you see here.

The bumpers, side steps, and wheels all suit the vehicle well. As do the large mudguards and chunky tires. And then you get to the color of the thing, and it all works oh-so-well. You have what Heritage Customs is calling a matte Moon Dust paint color paired with black accents and the result is a vehicle that stands out yet is not in your face about it.

This 1985 Land Rover Defender 90 V8 looks suited for both fancy parking out front of a high-end restaurant and ripping down dusty trails with ease. And that’s what I love about the old Defender. It pulls off both looks quite well, and this one does that too.

The only things I’d personally change were it my commission would be the front grille, the choice of tire, and the materials used on the seats and door panels. I’d simplify that grille a bit and ditch the badge. It doesn’t need that extra upper snout grille above it. As for the seats, I’d prefer a high-end cloth to the Alcantara/suede used. But I do love that wood treatment in the rear area. The tires would be KO2s because of course. And one last thing would be to try and use this paint as a base level but tint it towards a more green tone if possible. I do like this paint here, but were it my own truck I’d want it to be more green.

But as it sits, this is one very cool Defender and I’m happy to see the custom shops moving away from the dumb wheels on low-profile tires and extra over the top touches. Nice work here from Heritage Customs.

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

Niels Heritage Moon Dust Defender

8 Comments

  1. I think the snout grille was added to cover the spot where the original Land Rover Ninety nameplate sat since an 85 isn’t actually a Defender. My personal peeve is anyone who paints the roof of a Land Rover black since it completely misses the reason why they were painted white (or limestone) in the first place. I’m also not so sure about the recent trend of covering the side panel with a single pane of glass. you lose the distinctive side window shape and it ends up either looking like a very glossy van or a dowager in street wear.
    I preferred the more sympathetic treatment of the grey import 86-89 Land Rover 90 I saw at job site this week. Still on Rostyle wheels cleaned up and repainted but retaining all the classic looks. For the rivet counters, you can date these by the vents above the back door on station wagons and hard tops, the change in model from spelled out to numbers and the pushbutton door handles from a Sherpa van. Also Diesel Turbo models have an air intake on the left front fender.

  2. It’s a nice truck, but it’s still a bit over-done for my tastes. There’s not much wrong with a stock LR 90 (or better yet, a 110– because four doors beats two any day) in my opinion. And like Slow Joe Crow mentioned, black is a ridiculous choice for a roof color. White looks much more classic and keeps you cooler to boot. I almost like that brown paint, but I wouldn’t want metal flake or pearl finish on an older Land Rover. Overall, this is a relatively restrained restoration as “Defenders” go, but the look is too modern for my liking.

    I agree with you about the upholstery and wood, and I would also change the tires. KO2s are always a great choice (I even run them on my minivan), but my priority would be going with tall skinnies– whatever brand of AT/MT would give me the right tire proportions. And steel wheels are a must, though I’d paint them white to match the obligatory white top.

  3. I realize the panels and doors on old Defenders and Broncos, etc. are often difficult to align during re-assembly, but damn– I think even I could do better than that. The bottom gap on that passenger door looks bad even from afar. It looks high in the back, while the driver’s door looks high in the front. If it was a beater I wouldn’t think anything of it, but considering these are glamour shots intended to show off the custom work, it’s hard not to scrutinize.

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