West Coast Defender

Our Story

The Land Rover Defender is an undeniably iconic vehicle. If you live in the U.S, like we do, these British-made legends are no longer available to purchase new, and haven’t been since 1997. Sadly, the Defender had a very short lifespan in The States – launched in 1993 with the last vehicle imported in 1997, less than 8,000 vehicles were ever made for the domestic market.  Because of this, there is a very small pool of Defenders in the U.S, and the select few who own these coveted trucks are in no hurry to sell.

Additionally, due to strict U.S. vehicle import laws surrounding the Defender, you can’t simply order a new model from overseas – only those deemed as “classic cars” (those over 25 years old) are allowed to be legally imported into the country.

This actually works out perfectly for fans of the Defender, as it’s one of the few vehicles that has not veered course over the years, and for good reason: about 70% of all Land Rovers produced since the brand’s 1948 inception are still on the road today. This stellar track record speaks volumes about the Defender’s durability, reliability and classic appeal.

The heritage of this all-terrain vehicle that has braved challenging conditions the world-over for more than 67 years – exploring, rescuing and transporting people ranging from shepherds to soldiers to royalty – is all coming to an end.  Now, sadly, one day in 2015 the very last Land Rover Defender will roll off the factory line.  Enter West Coast Defender.

West Coast Defender brings new life to classic Land Rover Defenders with all the modern amenities you would expect in a brand new car – leather interiors, satellite navigation, and premium sound; offering customers the features and comfort they want without compromising the Defender’s true heritage.

We scour the world for classic Land Rover Defenders, accepting only those in the best condition. Because we are an international company with locations in Los Angeles, CA and London, England, our U.K. team is able to locate and inspect each vehicle before strenuously testing, repairing and restoring them, ensuring that you are purchasing a Defender in top condition. In short, we make sure you get what you pay for, and more.

Importation guaranteed.

Why West Coast Defender?

• Peace of mind

⁃ We’re Local. Even though you are working with a multi-national company and purchasing an international product, we are one integrated company. You have the peace of mind knowing the parent company is a California Corporation based in Los Angeles, California.

⁃ We’re Accountable, Legally and Otherwise. Do you feel comfortable wiring money overseas with the hopes of receiving your product? What happens if it doesn’t clear customs? (This year alone more than 60 Defenders were seized and destroyed by Homeland Security/Customs) What happens if it is delayed or sub par, do you want to get into expensive international litigation? (It is worth noting that the U.K. court system follows a completely different protocol than the U.S. and is highly anti-litigation. The process is extremely time-consuming and expensive)

⁃ We’re Selective. We scour the world for the highest quality Defenders available, turning down 9 out 10 vehicles we inspect. ⁃ We Stand Behind Our Quality. We purchase your vehicle from a pre-vetted owner and perform all of the mechanical work overseas in our workshop. Once it arrives in L.A., we complete all of the final touches and quality control here in the U.S. before you take delivery of your Defender. What other company can say that?

⁃ We’re Available. When you have a question, do you want to be dealing with someone on U.K. time? ⁃ We Communicate. We provide weekly updates on the progress of your vehicle, including photos, videos and status calls (as desired)

• Guaranteed Importation

⁃ We transport your Defender to the port of Felixtowe in the U.K., where our export firm assembles the proper paperwork to ensure your vehicle arrives in the U.S. with no issues.

⁃ Once your vehicle is loaded into its private and secure container and onto the ship, our U.S. based import firm completes all necessary import paperwork, guaranteeing your vehicle will pass all inspections and is ready for registration.

⁃ Once it has passed through customs, it is taken to our warehouse, removed from the container and flat-bedded to our Los Angeles Headquarters.

⁃ The only time your vehicle is out of our hands is during ocean transit. But rest assured, we track the ship throughout its journey and ensure the safety of your truck.

• Experience and Understanding of the Process

⁃     The importation process is complex, and it doesn’t stop once the car has arrived on U.S. soil.  We have spent countless hours mastering Customs importation laws as well as EPA/ DOT/ NHSTA / DMV requirements with our import firm and attorneys. We have been importing cars for years without a single car ever being denied entry nor registration in the U.S.. We have an extensive understanding of all laws and rules of compliance.

We handle all of the logistics and paperwork, so you don’t have to.

⁃     We know your time is valuable, so we spare you the headaches of logistical management, ensuring that the process is fun for you, not exhausting and laborious.

The Process:

Ordering Your Custom Defender

•      Visit our state-of-the-art design studio conveniently located between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica where you can not only see a 90 or 110 in person, but take them for a test drive.

•      We will discuss your vision you have in mind for your Defender; Classic like it just rolled off the production line in the 80’s or a more modern looking Defender.

•      What will the car be used for?  A daily driver, weekend toy, family vehicle?  Based on this we will decide what the suspension, wheels, tires and seating type and configuration would be for what how you are planning on using your Defender.

•      After that, we will walk you through everything from exterior paint color choices to interior materials including carpet, seating, and headliners. If you come in person, you are able to actually see, touch and smell the materials used in your vehicle.  If we are working via phone or email we will send you swatches of they materials your approval.  Even though you are not at our design studio, you will still be able to touch, smell and see the materials used in your vehicle.

•      Try out numerous seat designs and interior layouts, finding the perfect fit for you and your family.

•      Lastly, we will discuss any accessories you are looking to add to your defender.  This will be based on the use you have expressed to us.  We will send you photos of whatever accessories you have in mind.

•      We then give you photos and paperwork for your Defender, year, VIN and mileage.  These are vehicles we already have that are just waiting for a client to customize.

One Legend -- Two Models

Our Defenders


The Defender 90

4.0L- V8




 The Defender 110

3.5L V8





Frequently Asked Questions


•      Can I get a brand new Defender from overseas?

No, in order to legally import a Defender into the U.S., it must be at least 25 years old.  Has it been done, yes.  Are people trying to do it, yes.  This is not something we do though.  They why is complicated and somewhat unclear, but the bottom line is that according to U.S. law you cannot so we don’t waste our time and yours trying to break the law.

•      Is Land Rover releasing a new Defender for the U.S.?

Who knows.  We are in inclined to believe they will not be, and if they do it will not be for some time.  Considering they are discontinuing the Defender worldwide we can’t see them restarting the line with a U.S. only vehicle.  The DC 100 was a disaster, and it will take years to create a new vehicle and have it approved for U.S. sales.  One thing we do know is that is will be nothing like the Defender everyone has come to know and love.

•      How long does the process take?

Depending on vehicle, complexity of the build and how many orders we have already, most cars are built within 7 to 10 months.

•      Do you have Defenders ready for sale?

We do not run your typical car company.  We do not have a lot where you can see a car you want and drive it away that day.  We custom build each car to your specifications.  That being said, we do keep a number of 90’s and 110’s on hand ready to be customized for our clients.

•      Will my defender pass my local state emissions laws?

Yes, since we import our vehicles to California, this is where we test them.  California has the most stringent emissions laws, so since it passes here, it will pass where you live.

•      Why are Defenders so expensive?

⁃     It is basic supply and demand.  With so few produced for the US market, and the Defender being a hot commodity, people are asking a substantial amount of money for them.  People who own them also are in no rush to sell their beloved Defender.  The Defender being a British car, was mainly produced for the UK market, eventually becoming a car sold worldwide.  However, all of the UK Defenders are basically useless since they have the steering wheel on the right hand side, and since we don’t convert right hand drive to left hand drive, these are not cars we buy.  So we have to venture out of the UK to find our vehicles which adds to the expense.  Also, our engine of choice is either an original 3.5L V8 or an original 4.0L V8.  This again shrinks down the vehicles we have to choose from.  It also has to meet our standards in terms of quality.

⁃     Must meet our criteria, again shrinking the cars to choose from

•      What are the major issues with Defenders?

By the time we have rebuilt your Defender, you will not have to worry about typical complaints from Defender owners.  These usually are rust and corrosion.  The most common area for this is on the frame or chasis, and bubbling on the body which is known as “electroloisis” which is a chemical reaction when steel meets aluminum.  The rust issue on the chasis is never a problem because we only buy rust free vehicles.  We also add a protective coating to the frame to keep it from rusting if you live in a place with incumbent weather.  The original Defenders came with metal door hinges and attached to an aluminum door, to remedy this problem, we upgrade all hinges to stainless steel or Zinc and alloy combination.

•      Is Mileage Important?

Yes and no.  While you don’t want a vehicle with 200,000 miles on it, mileage does not really matter.  We start with low mileage vehicles, but rebuild them from the ground up.  The most important thing is that the chasis is in great condition, everything else can be replaced, but not the chasis, that must be original.  While the odometer will read a certain mileage, you are driving a vehicle with a rebuilt engine and brand new parts under the hood and throughout the vehicle.   What good is a 20,000 mile vehicle if the chasis is rotted out?

•      Are parts available?

Yes, with around 2 million produced and and estimated 70% still on the road, parts are readily available.  In response to the Defenders cult following, many companies exist such as BritPart for the sole purpose of making parts for the Defender, often times better than original Land Rover parts.  Here in the states, Rovers North is a great supplier of all things Defender shipped to your door.

•      Am I going to be constantly servicing this vehicle?

No, since the Defender was built with simplicity in mind.  Fewer complexities means fewer problems.  If it were not a reliable vehicle, it would not have been the vehicle of choice for the British Military, nor would it be the vehicle used for explorations to the Arctic or across the Sahara.

•      Where do I go to have my Defender worked on?

Depending on where you live, we will set you up with a trusted Land Rover mechanic from our network.  If you are in the L.A. area, we can handle everything for you.  The nice thing about the Defender is that it can be taken apart with about 5 basic tools, no propriety screwdrivers or expensive computer software required to diagnose a problem.  We recommend using an independent Land Rover mechanic.

•      I have a defender/ am buying one, can you upgrade it for me?

It depends.  We have to put our customers first, so if we are busy the answer will probably be that you have to wait.  The only cars we consider for restoration are quality well cared for cars.  If the chassis is rusted out or it has other major issues, it is just not worth it.  Anybody can put lipstick on a pig, it will look great, but it also has to perform great.  This is not because we are elitist, but we do not want to waste your money or our time.

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