Being in the business of restoring Land Rover Defenders at Leox Rovers, I can attest that it is an expensive and time-consuming process to bring these beasts back to life. There are a couple of factors that drive up the cost:
Scarce to source
The Defender was discontinued in 2017. Many people started buying them for investment purposes. High demand and low availability drive up the cost.
Condition of prospective vehicles
So if you find a vehicle that is eligible for restoration the chances are that it is not going to be in good condition. For the US market, the vehicle needs to be older than 25 years. This means that it is probably going to be an early-90’s V8.
The engine is probably going to need to be rebuilt. The original cylinder liners tended to shift and then the engine leaks coolant internally. Engineering the engine with top-hat liners probably costs as much as the purchase price of the vehicle.
Here is a pic of the engine of a V8 that we are almost finished with. It was in a nasty condition …
Defender owners love to customize their trucks. I know, I am one of them. Currently, the wire to the fuel pump in my truck runs straight from the fusebox, through the compartment into a hole that I cut with a grinder in the load bin. Sigh … I didn’t have the willpower or time to properly run it through the chassis.
So when we start with the electrical restoration we have to assume that the standard wiring diagrams mean nothing and that the wiring will be non-standard.
25-year old wires are cracked, chafed through, burnt, eaten by rats … you name it. We are currently restoring a truck where we literally could not reuse a single piece of wire.
Here is a pic of my truck when I redid the wires. Honestly, at the time I never thought it would drive again:)
The body needs to come off when we paint the truck and chassis. This is no small operation.
Here is a pic of my fiance’s favourite truck in our inventory. I must say … the paintwork came out very nicely.
Upgrades and replacements
Tyres, rims, free-flow exhausts radios upholstery, carpeting … the list of upgrades is quite lengthy. But I guess anything that is worth doing is worth doing well.