Automotive

East Coast Defender takes a gentler approach with Project Ironhorse

East Coast Defender takes a ge...
The East Coast Defender Project Ironhorse
The East Coast Defender Project Ironhorse
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Quilted leather abounds in Ironhorse
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Quilted leather abounds in Ironhorse
The simple, clear dials on the Ironhorse dashboard are a delightful throwback 
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The simple, clear dials on the Ironhorse dashboard are a delightful throwback 
The steering wheel on the Ironhorse Defender is a simple, wooden unit 
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The steering wheel on the Ironhorse Defender is a simple, wooden unit 
Quilted leather abounds in the interior of the Ironhorse Defender 
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Quilted leather abounds in the interior of the Ironhorse Defender 
The Land Rover V8 under the hood of the Ironhorse 
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The Land Rover V8 under the hood of the Ironhorse 
The engine in the Ironhorse V8 breathes through a stainless steel exhaust
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The engine in the Ironhorse V8 breathes through a stainless steel exhaust
Under the hood of the Ironhorse Defender 
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Under the hood of the Ironhorse Defender 
The heritage of the Defender was front of mind when Ironhorse was being built 
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The heritage of the Defender was front of mind when Ironhorse was being built 
East Coast Defender has done some crazy things in past, but the Ironhorse is a subtler take on the formula
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East Coast Defender has done some crazy things in past, but the Ironhorse is a subtler take on the formula
The East Coast Defender breathes through some new air intakes 
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The East Coast Defender breathes through some new air intakes 
LED lighting is a welcome touch on the new Defender 
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LED lighting is a welcome touch on the new Defender 
The seats in the Ironhorse are heated 
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The seats in the Ironhorse are heated 
Power is put to the road through a four-speed gearbox 
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Power is put to the road through a four-speed gearbox 
Rear seat passengers are treated to quilted leather as well 
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Rear seat passengers are treated to quilted leather as well 
Here's hoping you won't need that fire extinguisher in the Ironhorse Defender
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Here's hoping you won't need that fire extinguisher in the Ironhorse Defender
We're not sure how muddy military boots would mix with the quilted leather seats in the back of the Ironhorse Defender 
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We're not sure how muddy military boots would mix with the quilted leather seats in the back of the Ironhorse Defender 
The nine-seater Ironhorse is much cooler than any minivan 
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The nine-seater Ironhorse is much cooler than any minivan 
Strap in kids, we're going to school, not war, like you might have in previous Defenders
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Strap in kids, we're going to school, not war, like you might have in previous Defenders
The roof racks and lights on the Ironhorse could have been lifted from Lara Croft
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The roof racks and lights on the Ironhorse could have been lifted from Lara Croft
The subtle look of the East Coast Ironhorse is at odds with some of its other cars
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The subtle look of the East Coast Ironhorse is at odds with some of its other cars
The East Coast Defender Project Ironhorse
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The East Coast Defender Project Ironhorse
Power comes from a Land Rover V8 in the Ironhorse
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Power comes from a Land Rover V8 in the Ironhorse
The East Coast Defender team has maintained the heritage of the Ironhorse
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The East Coast Defender team has maintained the heritage of the Ironhorse
LED lighting on the Ironhorse Defender
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LED lighting on the Ironhorse Defender
The simple looks of the Ironhorse are a welcome respite from the crazy creations that usually roll out of East Coast Defender
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The simple looks of the Ironhorse are a welcome respite from the crazy creations that usually roll out of East Coast Defender
The classic Defender shape has been maintained here
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The classic Defender shape has been maintained here
BFGoodrich tires on the East Coast Defender Ironhorse
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BFGoodrich tires on the East Coast Defender Ironhorse
The East Coast Defender
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The East Coast Defender
The East Coast Defender
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The East Coast Defender
The East Coast Defender
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The East Coast Defender
The East Coast Defender
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The East Coast Defender
The East Coast Defender
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The East Coast Defender
The East Coast Defender
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The East Coast Defender
View gallery - 33 images

The now-discontinued Land Rover Defender is an iconic vehicle, but East Coast Defender has made its name by sullying those classic lines for well-to-do buyers. Its latest creation takes an old-fashioned approach to interior luxury, and blends it with a reworked powertrain for an off-road experience like no other.

Some East Coast Defender projects are undertaken with little regard for maintaining the essential Defender-ness of the original Land Rover design, but Project Ironhorse isn't one of them. Rather than shoehorning a GM V8 into the car's engine bay, the team has fitted a reworked Land Rover V8 and four-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The engine breathes through a stainless steel exhaust, but don't expect it to be a firecracker – originality comes before outright performance here.

That focus on historical accuracy hasn't been replicated inside, where the Ironhorse looks more like a modern luxury SUV than an old British workhorse. Quilted leather has been lavished upon the (heated) seats, dashboard and headliner, while the ropey old interior lighting system has been turfed in favor of a full-LED setup.

The engine in the Ironhorse V8 breathes through a stainless steel exhaust
The engine in the Ironhorse V8 breathes through a stainless steel exhaust

The blocky center console now houses a Kenwood infotainment system, complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It contrasts with the simple woodgrain steering wheel and Velocity gauges, both of which are delightful throwbacks to a time before Virtual Cockpit technology turned the instrument binnacle into another screen.

Speaking of throwbacks, the inward-facing rear jump seats are a nod to when the Defender was, first and foremost, a military vehicle. We're not sure how well muddy military boots would blend with the modern leather trim, but there's no doubt the kids will appreciate being ferried around like they're in the army. Plus, the nine-seat Ironhorse looks much cooler than any minivan ever will.

Outside, the Ironhorse rides on Sawtooth wheels shod in BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A K02 tires. There's a Lara Croft-style roof rack on top, complete with LED spotlights and a ladder on the rear. The bottom of the doors are trimmed in stainless steel, but the overall shape of the car is much simpler (and subtler) than some of the other cars to come out of the East Coast Defender garage.

Pricing hasn't been revealed for this one-off custom Defender, but we don't imagine it will be cheap.

Source: East Coast Defender

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