Dutch coachbuilder plots five drop-top Defenders…
By Matt Bird / Tuesday, December 21, 2021 / Loading comments
The convertible Land Rover is a curious breed; for every instance of care-free, wind in the hair adventure conjured up, there’s the Evoque convertible. We’d all like to imagine an off-road life exposed to the elements, ‘One Life Live It’ tattooed on our forearm and camping supplies stowed away, but the more humdrum reality is that hardtop Land Rovers – as in the latest, er, Defender Hard Top – probably suit our 4×4 needs better.
That said, not everybody is the same. And for those people who’ve been craving modern Land Rover sensibilities with old school open-top escapism, Dutch coachbuilder Niels Van Roij has conjured this up: the Defender Convertible. There will be just five of them, they’re coming next year, and the promise is a “contemporary twist on [the] classic open Defender.”
It’s being built under the Heritage Customs label, which you may remember recently completed the Dakar build. These ones will involve rather more than a respray, retrim and new wheels, however. Though only preview renders for now, it would seem the project is making fair progress: all the convertibles will be based on Defender 90s, the fabric roof will be semi-electric (presumably requiring some initial unclipping), and the indicative price is €138,500 before tax – or £118,000, currently.
Heritage Customs even has the three spec options figured out for the five customers, though of course that’s much easier to finalise than, y’know, engineering a new roof. ‘Cote d’Azur’ is the blue one, ‘Solihull Sand’ is green and the final one is ‘Kokkini Paralia’, or red beach, inspired by a very specific bit of Santorini. Clearly there will be no missing any of them.
There are individual differences beyond simply colour, too; the Solihull has smaller forged wheels than the other two, as well as regular seats (instead of sports ones) and the ‘classic’ steering wheel. It is easy to imagine demand for all three when you factor in the Defender’s famously large fan base – and the length of Land Rover’s wait list. Let’s not forget that the manufacturer found many more than five people to buy the Evoque Convertibles either…
Jan-Pieter Kroezen, co-owner of Heritage Customs with Van Roij, said: “The Valiance is the Heritage Customs concept for a more heroic version of the Defender. And a Heritage Customs Valiance is the ultimate expression of our clients, based on the world’s most iconic new 4×4.” As a more involved Defender build, the convertibles are being built under Heritage Customs’ ‘Carchitecture’ program – see what they did there – and customers are being invited to secure a build slot now.
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