Automotive

Icons collide: Land Rover Defender "Beast" packs Corvette V8

Icons collide: Land Rover Defe...
East Coast Defender presents its new 430-hp Beast
East Coast Defender presents its new 430-hp Beast
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The Defender Beast gets a wide body kit
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The Defender Beast gets a wide body kit
Designed for a customer, the new Beast features 430 hp of GM muscle
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Designed for a customer, the new Beast features 430 hp of GM muscle
East Coast Defender stripped the 1985 Defender down and built it back up into the Beast
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East Coast Defender stripped the 1985 Defender down and built it back up into the Beast
East Coast Defender presents its new 430-hp Beast
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East Coast Defender presents its new 430-hp Beast
The GM LS3 V8 under the hood
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The GM LS3 V8 under the hood
Modifications include a push-button drive shifter
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Modifications include a push-button drive shifter
The interior gets updated with a touchscreen infotainment system
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The interior gets updated with a touchscreen infotainment system
The interior features hand-stitched leather throughout
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The interior features hand-stitched leather throughout
Hand-stitched leather Corbeau front racing seats
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Hand-stitched leather Corbeau front racing seats
Inside the ECD Beast
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Inside the ECD Beast
A 1985 Defender goes Beast
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A 1985 Defender goes Beast
The package includes a Smittybilt winch
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The package includes a Smittybilt winch
Inside the ECD Beast
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Inside the ECD Beast
Inside the ECD Beast
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Inside the ECD Beast
MOMO sport steering wheel
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MOMO sport steering wheel
The electronic shifter makes for simple operation
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The electronic shifter makes for simple operation
The infotainment system includes a Pioneer touchscreen
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The infotainment system includes a Pioneer touchscreen
ECD Beast
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ECD Beast
18-in wheels and Nitto all-terrain tires
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18-in wheels and Nitto all-terrain tires
ECD has added a full LED lighting package
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ECD has added a full LED lighting package
Inside the ECD Defender Beast
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Inside the ECD Defender Beast
The ECD Beast can sprint from 0-60 mph in around 7 seconds
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The ECD Beast can sprint from 0-60 mph in around 7 seconds
View gallery - 22 images

The Land Rover Defender recently made its grand exit after 68 years, leaving the world without the hardest core Land Rover 4x4 for the time being. Happily for Defender fans, there are still aftermarket shops churning out awesome Defender creations, like the Kahn Design 6x6 Pick Up. Across the Atlantic, East Coast Defender (ECD) has a different idea of how to make a better Defender: add a touch of American V8 muscle to create the 430-hp Beast.

Try to wrap your mind around this: an American shop owned and operated by three Brits doing a red, white and blue-tinged version of the British utility vehicle that Land Rover officially pulled from the American market about two decades ago. That's the quick-and-dirty story behind the Beast.

The longer version involves the 2012 cross-Atlantic journey of Tom Humble, ECD's founder. When he moved to the US from the UK, Humble grew nostalgic for the British vehicles he had grown to love back home, so he and his wife Emily opened up shop importing and selling some such vehicles.

The Defender was at the top of Humble's list, given that he had grown up about 40 miles (64 km) from the famous Solihull plant. In 2013, he opened up a workshop and began stripping classic Defenders down and building them up to client specifications. With help from his brother Elliot and Scott Wallace, both co-owners, the business expanded to the point of designing and customizing Defenders completely in-house at an 11,000-sq ft (1,022-sq m) Kissimmee, Florida facility.

The GM LS3 V8 under the hood
The GM LS3 V8 under the hood

The Beast is one of East Coast Defender's latest customer-commissioned builds and the added ferocity of this Defender 110 pulses forth from the 430-hp (321-kW) LS3 6.2-liter V8 engine under its hood. Prepared with help from Stingray Chevrolet, that engine works in concert with a GM 4L80E automatic transmission. An electronic push-button gear shifter replaces the usual lever, providing quick, seamless control.

Beyond the big engine swap, ECD stripped the Defender right down to the bones and galvanized the entire frame. To help the Defender cope with the added power, the team added Ashcroft drive shafts and axles with limited slip differentials. Tarox disc brakes (8 pot calipers in front, 6 pot in back) give the truck the upgraded stopping power it needs to rein that LS3 in. A new Terrafirma suspension set-up with 2 in (5 cm) of extra clearance cushions the Nitto A/T tire-wrapped 18-in wheels. The build also includes an external roll cage and Magnaflow exhaust.

The Beast can sprint like a predator, dialing it up to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) from stop in about seven seconds before accelerating on to a top speed over 100 mph (161 km/h).

The ECD Beast can sprint from 0-60 mph in around 7 seconds
The ECD Beast can sprint from 0-60 mph in around 7 seconds

Exterior upgrades include a Kahn wide body kit and black-out wheels, LED lighting, a Smittybilt 10,000-lb (4,536-kg) winch and a 40-in (102-cm) light bar. Inside, ECD has covered the cabin in hand-stitched leather, added sound deadening, dropped in an infotainment system and premium audio, and put a Momo sports steering wheel in the driver's hands.

We're not sure how much the buyer paid for this particular build, but ECD urges interested parties to contact it about ordering their own LS3-powered Defender packages. For reference, the ECD USA 110 Edition with modern 3.9-liter Land Rover V8, rebuilt transmission, premium audio and a bunch of other upgrades, some similar to those in the Beast, starts just under US$100,000.

Source: East Coast Defender

View gallery - 22 images
1 comment
unklmurray
I want two, 1 to drive, and 1 to be buried in,I'd probably kill myself driving the first one.......It has more power than I'd be able to control!!......LOL :-)