Why ECD’s Classic Defender are One of a Kind

E.C.D. Automotive Design is a custom Land Rover restoration shop based in Kissimmee, Florida. The automotive shop began restoring Land Rover Defenders in 2013 when original Founder, Tom Humble, imported a few for family members. Tom was later joined by E.C.D.’s other Founders, Elliot Humble and Scott Wallace, to create one of the most prestigious custom vehicle restoration shops in the U.S. Now 30,000 sq ft, the “Rover Dome” facility employs 50 full-time technicians, with all production work done in-house and over 250 restored classic Defenders under their belt.


Since the Land Rover Defender is a vehicle that has been around since the mid-’80s and the early ’90s, it can be challenging to source quality base vehicles here in the U.S. The vehicles were only legally sold in the U.S. for a few short years. The U.S. law allows for the original vehicle to be imported as long as it’s 25 years or older and with its original specifications. To conquer this aspect of building classic Defenders, E.C.D. simply had to become dedicated to sourcing the base vehicles for their custom builds from somewhere around the world.

While all of our builds go through a rigorous 12-14 month process to become fully handcrafted and rebuilt Land Rover Defenders they’re known for, what customizations they go through within that time varies greatly. E.C.D prides itself on ensuring that the original body of the vehicle is well maintained to ensure it keeps its classic Defender look and brings awareness to the nostalgia of the Land Rover Defender. So once the base vehicle arrives at the shop, every part is carefully removed and set aside to be fully refinished for the vehicle at a later stage of the rebuilding process. Even though teardown is the quickest portion of E.C.D.’s custom Defenders’ build process, there’s an additional 2,200 man-hours that go into the entire process of fully rebuilding the vehicles from the ground up.

The client meets with E.C.D.’s design team to get a live 3D designed rendering of what their one-of-a-kind classic Defender will look like. Having everything done in-house means the clients get to choose from hundreds of design materials and combinations for their custom Defender’s interior, any paint color and finish they could think of, and whatever accessories they choose to complete the look of their build. E.C.D. works with the highest tier of 4×4 brands such as Brembo Brakes, GM for Drivetrains, FOX Suspension, Safety Devices roll cages, Corbeau seats, and the latest modern tech for infotainment systems. Since every accessory and finish combination is hand-selected by the client, each build that leaves the Rover Dome is entirely unique.

E.C.D. has two bays and phases especially dedicated to quality control. Every stage of the build process is QC’d before the vehicle leaves to the next bay. This is the E.C.D. process for ensuring that nothing gets missed, one bolt out of place means it’s all getting ripped off until everything is fitted correctly. To ensure the drive of the build is smooth and functioning properly, the custom Defender is also test-driven from city drives to off-roading in hills to be sure it offers optimal performance at any level of drive.

With everything done in-house, every classic Defender that comes out of the Rover Dome is 100% custom and completely unique. E.C.D’S clients get a vehicle that no one else in the world would ever be able to say they have one “like it;” there will never be one like it.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.