How to Turn an Old Land Rover Defender Into a Modern Classic

custom defender

The Land custom defender Rover is a legendary icon that any classic car fan would love to own. But, since the last series of North America Specification (NAS) Defenders were only made between 1993 and 1997, it’s pretty much impossible to own one today.

If you don’t mind spending a little more money than you would on a modern car, though, there are several companies that can turn an old, well-maintained Defender into a high-performance, fully modern ride. We’ve driven a few, and these custom cars offer more than enough power to get you where you need to go without breaking the bank.

Osprey Custom Cars based in Wilmington, NC, builds what it calls cutting-edge Defender 90/110/130 builds using a galvanized chassis and LS-swapped engines. We got to drive one that featured a General Motors-sourced 5.3-liter V-8.

Its GM crate engine isn’t as gritty or powerful as the stock NAS Defender V-8, but it does make for an impressively quick 4.9-second 0-to-60-mph time. The truck also feels more agile and responsive than the original NAS defender, thanks to a better power-to-weight ratio.

Creating a One-of-a-Kind Ride: The Art of Customizing Your Defender

Helderburg specializes in building custom luxury Land Rover Defenders with one-of-a-kind unique designs and highly collectibles for the car enthusiast, collector or those who want to diversify their investment portfolio. British expertise and master craftsmanship ensure that each Helderburg build is a high-quality product that will be treasured for many years to come.

We’ve also been a big fan of the frame-off restorations from Chicago-based HHH Heritage and South Carolina-based Himalaya. These firms take European-sourced Defenders and give them a fresh look with a custom paint job, new interior components, and more.