FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
We have an 8000 sqf. facility with 14 full time employees building the best Defenders in the USA. Everything is built by hand right here in Sunny Florida, we have a passionate team all pulling in the same direction and shooting for one goal– perfection.
Our founders grew up in England, the Midlands, some 40 miles from the famous Lode Lane factory where these vehicles were produced, surrounded by Land Rover Defenders from an early age. Mostly working on trucks on friends’ farms, they were often thrown in the back of these trucks with bails of hay, a dog and sometimes the odd farm animal.
They quickly developed an interest in vehicles, specifically classic English vehicles. Elliot’s first vehicle being a 1987 Austin Mini, Tom’s a 1967 MGB Roadster. When Tom and Emily, his wife, moved to the USA in 2012, they decided to open a dealership and import some of the vehicles they had been passionate about over the years.
In 2013, East Coast Defender opened its workshop/showroom for its first few staff and a couple of trucks. Tom, his brother Elliot and the first employee, Brandon, would work 18 hour days, stripping these trucks down and rebuilding them to the clients’ taste. ECD outsourced some of the major works locally, and quickly learned this wasn’t ideal. An extreme decision about the work had to be made at that point.
ONE TRIP TO WAWA
Enter Scott, also English but Scottish when it suits him, a private investor with a Blue Chip corporate background and a passion for cars that started with a Porsche mug at 10 years old. It was his drive along with the all too necessary drive to the local Wawa that started a pivotal moment for East Coast Defender. In a meeting between gas pumps, it was there that our founders determined that if East Coast wanted to do this right and become the best Land Rover Defender builders on the planet, they had to have complete control.
We had to create the foundation, build it, and customize it from the ground up, regardless of the risk, if we wanted to produce the quality of build we ourselves dreamed of.
We have a great blend of English owners and American staff, we have different views on how the perfect Defender should be, but that truly is what makes our vehicles so special, we challenge perfection on a daily basis.