The Sum of its Parts
I have said it before, and I will say it again: if I had the chance to buy a new Defender 110 in North America, I would have a hard time saying no — even though I have settled on the LandCruiser 78 as my dream adventure platform. That classic aesthetic sucks me in every single time. So when I cam across Form Meets Function on Expedition Portal, where Chris Cordes details Heritage Driven’s Defender 110 restoration process, it happened all over again.
Heritage Driven — and similar companies like East Coast Defender — take the classic Defender 110 chassis, repair, replace, or upgrade almost every part, and in doing so fix the many flaws in this storied design. This all comes at a high price, but the results are staggering. These shops have the expertise to build incredible adventure platforms, yet onerous auto industry regulation limits them to restoration builds. I would love to see them create small batch, purpose-built adventure rigs of their own. As long as those well-intentioned, innovation-stifling laws stick around, though, we can hope for little more than cool remixes of already legendary platforms. Thanks to companies like Heritage Driven, it could be worse — but it could also be a lot better.