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our Process

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your project

Our passion lies in making our clients dream Defender become a reality. Our process begins with getting to know you and understanding your needs.

One of our owners Ben, takes great pleasure in getting to know each client. This 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, whilst also looking the coolest car on the road.

 

Whether you already have the complete idea of what your Defender will look like, or are starting from scratch, Ben is 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 we build exactly what you want.

Donor

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.

 

Although we replace a huge amount of the donor vehicles we always ensure that the vehicle is authentic with it's original chassis that it is structurally sound ensuring we build on top of a solid base. 

Once the donor vehicle is on site at our workshop in Harrogate, England, we begin the meticulous process of stripping it apart, which takes around two weeks.

Once the car is fully apart any remaining parts that are to be reused are organised & prepared for refurbishment.

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Chassis & Bulkhead

After we have stripped the vehicle apart we are left with the bare chassis. At this point it is repaired where necessary before we shot blast it back to bare metal enabling us to start a fresh. We then etch prime it before painting it in extremely durable Raptor paint.

Depending on the vehicles final location we can also offer new galvanised chassis' as an alternative to the original.

The vehicle bulkhead is again repaired where necessary & shot blasted. It can then be galvanised if desired. We also offer the choice of a new bulkhead which can be either galvanised or stainless steel.

engine 

Once the engine has been removed from the donor it is fully stripped back to the bare block. We then send it to a local engine specialist with over 50 years experience who rebuilds it back to it's original standard.

When it arrives back with us it is painted before being fully rebuilt with all new ancillaries, leaving you with an engine built with more care & detail then the day it originally left the factory in Solihull.

Depending on your location engine upgrades/swaps is something we are pleased to offer as part of our total restorations.

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Gearbox & AXLES

Whether you want your Defender to have a Manual or Automatic gearbox, all the transmissions fitted  to our vehicles are fully rebuilt by the best specialists in the UK.

The transfer box is also fully rebuilt with the option of altering the gear ratio's to ensure it suits your driving habits.

The axles casings are repaired if necessary before being fully rebuilt with refurbished differentials & new drive shafts.

brakes & suspension

All brakes & brake lines are replaced as standard. Upgrade options are available & we would offer our advice to help you choose the right brakes for your Defender. 

Our go to suspension is Fox shock absorbers which we team with a responsive spring that is 1" lower then the standard springs found on a Defender. We believe this setup offers excellent ride & handling qualities as well as providing a better aesthetic stance.

However, there are a world of options to choose from. Whether that is an extreme lift, further drop or the best of all worlds with adaptable Air Suspension, which allows for several different setting options depending on weather conditions or personal driving preferences.

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bodywork

Given the age of the donor vehicles we often replace large amounts of the bodywork. As standard the wings, bonnet, doors & tailgate are all replaced. We are able to replace any damaged panels on the tub for new. A brand new tub is also an available option if preferred.

Once you have narrowed your favourite colours choices down we will send you some colour samples so you can decide for yourself.

Unlike most of our competitors, every panel is painted individually off the vehicle, ensuring greater paint coverage & a better overall finish around the full car. We don't just paint the areas you can see, we paint the areas you can't as well.

wiring

The existing main chassis & engine wiring looms are replaced for new as a matter of course. Supplementary looms are also replaced depending on your chosen specification.

On occasion replacement looms are not available at which point the  the original loom would be repaired if necessary & used.

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interior

The interior of your Defender can be configured in a number of different ways depending on your model of choice.

 

Ben will run through all the different seat configurations as well as the actual seat options to make sure we get the right balance of comfort, aesthetics & usability.

You can choose from the finest Scottish leather, vegan vinyl or canvas.  The colour, stitch pattern & design can all be custom to you. 

 

There are also a number of different options when it comes to the flooring, from rubber mats to beautiful Iroko wood, stained & protected as desired

Rebuilding

The process of rebuilding the vehicle is laborious but thankfully for our team, it is a labour of love.

Done in stages over a period of around 6 months, we take great time & care at each stage to ensure the vehicle is built to the absolute best of our ability.

 

We spend time on details that you will probably never see, but for us, knowing it is done absolutely right from top to bottom, inside & out is what shows the true extent of our passion for building Defenders.

Once the car has been rebuilt it is topped up with fluids ready for road testing.

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Testing

All of our vehicles go through a rigorous testing process to ensure they are ready for delivery. Thanks to the variety of local roads we are able to test the vehicle under many different conditions.

A minimum of 300 miles is done, allowing us to ensure we are happy with the vehicles performance in all aspects before our final pre delivery inspection is carried out and your new Defender is signed off ready for delivery.

Delivery

You can choose to collect your new Defender from our base in the picturesque town of Harrogate, England 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 Defender is well cared for in transit to it's new home.

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get in touch

  • Retro Defenders Instagram
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