Project Freedom Is a Custom 1985 Land Rover Defender 90 With LT4 Power Under the Hood

If your overlanding trips could use a pinch of good old patriotism, a Florida-based tuner named E.C.D. might be able to help.

Brothers Tom and Elliot Humble grew up in the central English region of the Midlands, just 40 miles away from the Solihull plant where Land Rover’s rugged Defenders were being assembled. Of course, life around the British countryside often meant coming face to face with such machines, so it was only a matter of time before the lads went on to develop a strong affinity for the Defender nameplate.

Tom would eventually get married and move to the United States with his wife Emily, followed by Sir Elliot a bit later on. Come 2013, they joined forces and co-founded E.C.D. Automotive Design in the bustling city of Kissimmee, Florida. Just in case you’re wondering, that acronym stands for East Coast Defender, which leaves no room for any doubt concerning these folks’ specialty.

Not only does E.C.D. take care of importing classic Defenders to the land of the free, but they also tailor each vehicle to the respective client’s individual preference. At first, many aspects of the customization process had to be outsourced, and the crew worked 18-hour days in order to meet their deadlines without cutting any corners.

Slowly but surely, the firm grew in numbers as the years went by, welcoming dozens of new employees and someone whose financial support would finally help them take off. That person goes by the name of Scott Wallace, and his arrival on the scene gave E.C.D. the funding they needed to begin handling everything in-house. Now then, let’s fast-forward to the present day, shall we?

The company is headquartered in a massive 30,000-square-foot (2,800 sqm) facility, where more than 50 bright minds make a living doing what they love. For us to truly grasp the level at which these guys and girls operate, we’ll go right ahead and inspect one of their more recent undertakings.

Enter the aptly-nicknamed Project Freedom – a brutish off-roading juggernaut that had once been an ordinary 1985 Defender 90. Starting with what occupies the engine bay, we find a 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 sourced from General Motors. This fearsome V8 can put down a whopping 650 ponies when solicited, and power travels to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Speaking of footwear, those satin-black, alloy 18-inchers were supplied by the specialists over at Project Kahn, while a set of all-terrain BF Goodrich tires provide ample grip on and off the asphalt. Braking is achieved through premium Brembo hardware at both axles, with E.C.D’s proprietary suspension upgrades making for a smooth ride.

As regards the bodywork-related mods adorning Project Freedom, the squad installed a beefy widebody kit with riveted panels and a four-point roll cage to ensure future occupants’ safety. A custom-made soft top keeps the elements at bay, but the goodies that’ll really catch your attention can be seen up front.

There you’ll notice an imposing bull bar and a bespoke steering guard manufactured from scratch, as well as a Warn winch to help this Defender get out of any sticky situations it may encounter. At the rear end, things are concluded with dual exhaust tips, a spare Kahn hoop, and (interestingly enough) two flag mounts. The latter may not be ideal for departure angle, but it is a pretty cool touch nonetheless – because ‘Murica!

Last but not least, we arrive at the car’s interior, where E.C.D. fitted heated and ventilated Corbeau front seats, a high-grade Prototipo steering wheel from Momo, and a new dash cloaked in leather. Aftermarket gauges inhabit the instrument cluster, accompanied by a premium infotainment system with Apple CarPlay compatibility in the center.

A quartet of foldable, inward-facing seats can be found out back, though plentiful legroom doesn’t appear to have been a priority here. Although we’re not sure how much the customer was charged for Project Freedom, what we can tell you is that builds from this tuner are typically priced at around $200k. Well, E.C.D. refers to this menacing Defender as a sleeper, but we reckon it’s just about as subtle as a frigging tank.

Article Credits: Silvian Secara
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Five Great Aftermarket Parts for Your New Land Rover Defender

Although the storied marque of the Land Rover Defender vehicles dates back almost 80 years, the latest and fully-revamped generation (L663) was only released recently in 2020. The Defender has always been equipped for serious adventure, and with the newest iteration, Land Rover made great strides to keep that spirit alive and allow for the maximum amount of customization that a potential owner would want to employ. By swapping accessories around, an owner can tailor their Defender to be the ultimate around-town family hauler, or gear it up for some more remote expeditions.

No matter which flavor of the new Defender you might own (90, 110, 130), each vehicle is offered from the factory with four accessory packs: Explorer, Adventure, Country, and Urban. These each contain a unique combination of factory accessories tailored to how an owner primarily expects to use their Defender. These include roof racks, bumpers, external panniers mounted to the C-pillars, and more. Perhaps you’ve chosen the Urban pack and would like to add a roof rack. Or, perhaps you’re kitted out with the Adventure pack and would like a few refinements and creature comforts to employ around town. We’ll take you through the five best aftermarket parts and accessories for any new Land Rover Defender.

Low-Profile Voyager Offroad Roof Rack

The Voyager Offroad Overland Roof Rack is a beautiful and functional full-length roof rack, constructed of bent and welded tubing. Obviously, this provides a plethora of opportunities to mount cargo shells, kayaks, bicycles, or anything else you might want to transport, but its low profile and sleek design will help keep your Defender looking great around town, too. This low-profile model is two inches lower than the standard height, which is also a benefit for garage-kept vehicles. What’s more, these are fully compatible with Defenders equipped with sunroofs. This roof rack takes advantage of the Land Rover-provided mounting points and there’s no drilling required to mount, so you can take off the rack at a later date if you ever wish to. Combine this with the Land Rover Deployable Roof Ladder for easy access to anything stowed on your roof. This is a good option for those who may not have ordered their Defender with a roof rack from the factory.

Land Rover Quilted Loadspace Liner

Anyone who has had to take their four-legged friend in a car will understand the potential for disaster that can arise when transporting your most precious cargo; from pet hair everywhere to the aftermath of an upset tummy, it can result in a real mess inside your nice, new Land Rover. Thankfully, a great solution to this problem is available in the Quilted Loadspace Liner, another official Land Rover accessory. A svelte and padded fabric protects the cargo area, rear seats, and comes with a detachable bumper protector. Designed to be durable and easy to clean, this accessory is something to take a closer look at if you regularly travel with your dogs or other animals. Being that this liner is precisely fitted to conform to the interior, it should be noted that this is currently only available for the Defender 110 model as of press time. If this is relevant to your interest, Land Rover also makes a few more pet-focused accessories as well, such as a portable pet ramp.

WeatherTech Floor Mats

It might be a little cliché, but one of the first modifications many new owners of any vehicle make is to replace the factory floor mats with a set of iconic, custom-molded WeatherTech mats. Laser cut from a durable rubberized material to match the exact layout of the Defender, these floor mats make it easy to keep the interior of your car looking great. When it’s time to clean up, simply remove them, spray with a hose, and let them dry. WeatherTech incorporates lips and channels in order to keep any water or mud contained to the mats. These are available for the front and rear seats, and there’s even a custom fitted trunk liner available. WeatherTech has been around for decades; these are quality items that are made in the United States, and won’t let you down under the harshest of conditions.

Land Rover Side-Mounted Gear Carrier

Add a bit of visual flair and practicality with these OEM Land Rover accessories. Mounted to the exterior sides of the vehicle, it provides a little extra space for things you might not want to bring inside the cabin, such as beach towels or pet supplies. It’s lockable and waterproof as well, so you have nothing to worry about while you’re out and about. You can have one on each side for the most amount of storage, or you could have Gear Carrier on one side of the car, combined with the aforementioned Roof Ladder; this is part of the beauty of the new Defenders. Since these are manufacturer accessories, you can anticipate the same high level of fit and finish in these gear carriers that you are used to, and they’re designed to seamlessly blend in with the exterior styling of the vehicle.

ARB Touring Awning with Light

Add a bit of overlanding flair to your Defender with a high-quality retractable awning from ARB. Known for making bomb-proof Land Rover accessories for decades, ARB’s awning provides you with portable shade and shelter. Useful for a day at the beach or a camping trip in the forest, this awning is easy to set up and built tough to handle high winds or heavy precipitation. Once you get a taste of how handy they are, you won’t want to go anywhere without your portable awning.


As you can see, the new Defenders were designed keeping a strong eye on customization and personalization to suit each owner’s tastes. While a fine selection of accessories are available from the manufacturer when the car is ordered, a robust secondary market also provides a great service to those looking for a wider array of parts. As this platform ages gracefully, more accessories and creative solutions will continue to hit the market, and if we had to take a guess, this could be the most personalized Land Rover ever at the end of the day. Ultimately, no matter if you’re seeking the refinement and luxury that Land Rover is known for, or planning a trip to the Arctic Circle, the Land Rover Defender can get you there – however you want.

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LT1-Powered Land Rover Defender In Lamborghini Verde Mantis Is Certainly A Unique Restomod

Say hello to the only Land Rover Defender of its kind, painted in a bright shade of Verde Mantis lifted directly from Lamborghini’s palette.

This particular Defender spend the first 25 years of its life as a work vehicle in the UK before it was sent to E.C.D Automotive Design for a comprehensive overhaul. We have no idea how much the overhaul cost but it obviously wasn’t cheap.

E.C.D Automotive Design started its work by overhauling the Defender’s powertrain. Gone is the standard engine and in its place sits a GM-sourced 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated LT1 V8 coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine is good for 450 hp and 465 lb-ft (630 Nm) of torque and sends the off-roader to 60 mph (96 km/h) in a respectable six seconds. Complementing the new engine are strengthened axles, adjustable air ride suspension, Brembo brakes, and a Borla stainless steel exhaust.

As for the exterior, it doesn’t just have a Verde Mantis finish but has a matte version of the striking paint color. Contrasting the green is a black convertible roof. The tuner has also slotted on a set of Kahn wheels, a classic Land Rover grille, a front bumper with LED daytime running lights, and a new rear bumper. There is also a multi-point roll cage, swing away wheel carrier, and full-length side steps.

The interior has also been overhauled so the off-roader now has a 2+2+2 layout. Found in both the front and second rows are desirable heated Recaro Cross Sportster CS seats clad in white leather. The Defender also sports white leather across the dashboard, door panels, and transmission tunnel. Black rubber mats are also found throughout, as is a Nardi Challenge steering wheel, new gauges, a Sony infotainment system, Infinity Kappa speakers, and tech features such as Bluetooth, WiFi, reversing sensors, front and rear cameras, blindspot assistant, and wireless charging.

Article Credit: Brad Anderson
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Manhart’s Land Rover Defender Goes Hardcore

The new Defender has proved to be quite a hit for Land Rover who is gradually expanding its range with more powerful and off-road capable variants. For current Defender owners who want more from their SUV, Manhart is joining the game with a preview of the upcoming DP 450 tuning package.

Manhart’s Defender might only exist in the virtual world at the moment, but the official renderings look promising. Unlike other tuners like Chelsea Truck Company who tried to make the Defender look sportier, Manhart went the other way, emphasizing the rugged nature of the iconic off-roader.

Setting aside the golden accents on the bodywork contrasting the black shade in typical Manhart flavor, the DP 450 gets a new set of deadlock wheels shod in all-terrain tires and plenty of off-road-focused accessories. Those include a roof-mounted LED bar, a snorkel, a large bull bar, a heavy-duty multi-purpose winch on the metal skid plate, and a roof rack accessible through a ladder. Finally, the ground clearance appears to be increased, hinting at modifications on the stock air suspension.

Manhart didn’t go into specifics but promised an increased power output of 444 hp (331 kW / 450 PS). Mind you, in the Defender P300 the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 296 hp (221 kW / 300 PS), while in the most powerful Defender V8, the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 produces 518 hp (386 kW / 525 PS).

Those who are interested in the aforementioned upgrades can contact Manhart for more information.

Article Credit: Thanos Pappas
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Osprey’s Latest Land Rover Defender Soft Top LS3 V8 Is Fit For Weekend Adventures

Sure, the new Land Rover Defender may be loaded with features and advanced technologies but it doesn’t have quite the small ‘cool factor’ as an older model. This particular Defender recently restored and modified by Osprey Custom Cars is especially desirable.

Osprey left no stone unturned when creating this Defender and started off by stripping down the off-roader and fitting a new galvanized chassis. The standard engine was then removed and replaced with a Corvette LS3 V8 coupled to a 6L80E six-speed automatic transmission. Drive is sent through a heavy-duty LT230 transfer case with a center differential lock and powering all four wheels. The engine delivers 435 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque, more than enough for a classic Defender like this.

Beyond the engine, Osprey has also fitted heavy-duty front and rear axles alongside Terrafirma Pro Sport shocks, Terrafirma shocks, Terrafirma caster-corrected front and cranked rear radius arms, a Terrafirma steering damper, and new track rod, and drag link. There is also a Griffin aluminum radiator, stainless steel oil cooler, fuel, and brake lines, and 16-inch matte black wheels wrapped in 285/75 Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT all-terrain tires.

Extensive work has also been done to the exterior of the vehicle. This includes the fitment of re-painted panels finished in Santorini Black, a new wire mesh grill, gloss black light surrounds, and black side intake vents with a gray mesh wire insert.

Various interior upgrades complete the build. These include a new dashboard with a double-DIN infotainment display with Bluetooth and wireless Apply CarPlay and Android Auto. The Defender also has navigation, an eight-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system, remote start, and new leather seats.


Article Credit: Brad Anderson
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