The Process



Our passion lies in making our customers dream Defender become a reality & so our process begins with collaboration.

We take great pleasure in getting to know our customers. It allows us to better understand what you intend to use your Defender for. From off-roading in the mountains to beach-cruising, we will make sure your Defender fits right in to your day to day needs.


Whether you already have a complete idea of what your Defender will look like, or are starting from scratch, we are on hand to walk you through all aspects of your build, bringing our passion, vision & expertise to the process.

Once we have established the specification & look you are wanting we have an illustration of your Defender produced. This gives you the opportunity to see what your new car will look like before it is built & ultimately ensure it is what you are looking for.


Whether you want us to rebuild a car you already have or source a vehicle for you, our contacts all over Europe enable us to find you the right vehicle.


We ensure that the vehicle is authentic with it's original chassis & that it is structurally sound ensuring we start with a solid base.

Only vehicles that pass our in house appraisal process are given the opportunity to form the basis for your new Defender. 

Photo from Retro Automotive.jpg


Once the donor car arrives back at our workshop in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, the process of stripping the car back to its chassis begins.

Once the chassis is bare it is carefully inspected & repaired if necessary before being shot-blasted. It is then etch primed & covered with 3 coats of black POR 15 reinforced chassis paint.

It's then takes it's place in one of our build up spaces ready to be built to your specification into your Retro Defender.

engine & transmission

Every nut & bolt is removed as the engine is taken right back to the block. We ensure every core component is measured, pressure tested and if needed, machined. The engine is then built back up using new seals & gaskets to ensure it runs better then the day it was first built.

The transmission and transfer box are both fully rebuilt units by the world renowned Ashcroft Transmissions in Luton.



We replace all doors/tailgates for new as well as any panels that have any damage. The body panels are then prepared, being taken back to bare metal where neccesary, before being primed & painted in your chosen colour.

They are then oven baked for a high quality, durable finish before being inspected to ensure they meet our exacting standards. 

The bulkhead, doors, seat box, roof & tub are then all covered in sound deadening material ready to be mated to the chassis.

build up

Once we have the chassis prepared we begin the process of building the car back up. Firstly, we couple the fully rebuilt axles, which have been also been primed & covered in black corroless paint.

We then couple the all new suspension system, new brakes all round, complete fuel system & steering components. 

The rebuilt engine, transmission & transfer box are then mated to the chassis. The first piece of bodywork attached to the chassis is the bulkhead. The wiring is 

The doors are then hung before we move onto the interior, again sound deadening the floor, where the retrimmed dash, seats, cubby box, steering wheel & new instrument cluster are fitted. 

Finally the finishing touches are added & your Retro Defender has become a reality.


Quality Control

The final process any Retro Defender goes through is quality control. 

Thanks to the variety of roads locally, your car goes through a vigorous testing procedure to ensure it performs to our exacting standards.

Once it has been signed off on the road test a final walk round inspection is carried out of the bodywork & interior. Upon completion the final touch is the Retro Defenders seal of approval in the form of the build completion plaque. 


You can choose to collect your new Defender from our base in the picturesque town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire or we can arrange for it to be delivered right to your door.

We work with a number of shipping & customs agents worldwide. They are on hand to ensure the import process is seamless & your Retro Defender is well cared for in transit to it's new home.


get in touch