The New Land Rover Defender Needs a Soft Top, So This Shop’s Giving It One
In case a Jeep Wrangler is just too uncouth.
The Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler are great and all, but not what you'd call... nice inside. That, in theory, is where the Land Rover Defender comes in—or would, if it too had a removable roof. Well, that'll soon be an option thanks to Dutch coachbuilder Heritage Customs, which has already sawed off the roof of its first custom Defender 90 convertible in an act of what it calls "carchitecture."
Christened the Valiance, this drop-top SUV will be one of just five such vehicles this year, "most" of which are already spoken for. When complete, its power soft top will retract over a coachbuilt, five-seat interior with exclusive trim and leather upholstery. The ventilated leather will be held together by unique stitching patterns and can be upgraded to enclose sport seats with hand-embroidered quilting.
In addition to these, Heritage Customs also offers what it calls "Magic Metal" finishes inside and out, allowing real metal finishes ranging from rust to copper to be applied to any material—even plastic. Assuming you're not attached to the Defender's stock steelies, you can also have them swapped out for forged alloys designed in-house (though I'd be inclined to stay with the steelie-looking ones.)
As with all artisanal work, none of this comes cheap; conversion starts at the equivalent of $92,000, and that's not including the $49,000 or so needed for the donor Defender. All in, you're looking at over $140,000, and that's for a unibody SUV that's lost some of the rigidity its roof provided. It'll certainly never be a hardcore off-roader like some other removable-roof SUVs, but if you have that kind of cash in the first place, you can afford to have a Wrangler on the side regardless. Or, just another old Land Rover for that matter.
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