Photos by Nathan Deremer/East Coast Defender
East Coast Defender has unveiled Project Viper, its most capable SUV and the first made-to-order vehicle built by the company’s new Ultimate Vehicle Concept (UVC) division.
The flagship $285,000 Chevrolet LS3 V-8 powered Defender was commissioned by a doctor in 2016 and previewed by select media at the Classic Car Club Manhattan in New York City.
Only 10 custom SUVs will be built on demand by the UVC division each year, according to the company.
“Project Viper is our first custom SUV to emerge from the new UVC division,” said Scott Wallace, East Coast Defender co-owner. “We created UVC in response to the overwhelming demand from clients who want a pure, handcrafted SUV that is not limited by a specific Bill of Materials or budget. With one-of-one builds, like the Viper, we’re pushing the creative envelope with bigger, more capable trucks that celebrate our heritage with added daily comfort and reliability.”
Each UVC Defender is designed by the client and built in a separate production area at The Rover Dome in Kissimmee, Florida, the company noted. East Coast Defender vehicles are designed to be capable drivers across a multitude of situations, including daily commutes.
“UVC vehicles will push the boundaries and be designed specifically for how the client will use the truck. Each UVC Defender will represent a no-budget, no-creative block that is built from scratch and represents a one-of-one Defender,” the company stated. “The result will be a true, signature SUV that is purpose-built for the most extreme off-road and weather conditions, yet does not compromise ECD’s work on other custom builds.”
Tom Humble, East Coast Defender co-owner, adds that the UVC Design Studio will create a unique luxury buying experience.
“While staying true to Land Rover heritage, our clients will be able to completely redesign their Defender. Each SUV that rolls out of our facility will be ready to cross continents or tackle the most demanding conditions in a Baja race,” he said. “We’re taking the Defender to a whole new level and the Viper is the pinnacle of what a true adventure-lifestyle SUV should be.”
East Coast Defender was founded by three self-described British petrol heads: brothers Tom and Elliot Humble, as well as their close friend Scott Wallace.
“Build options available to UVC clients include custom-built axles, shock absorbers, air intakes for snorkels, lighting options and off-road protection, as well as hand-built wheels,” said Elliot Humble, East Coast Defender co-owner. “Approximately 95 percent of the custom work is done by hand by skilled craftsmen and engineers. The build process is time-intensive and includes countless hours of design, build, fit, redesign and refit until the vehicle exceeds UVC’s standards for design and performance.”
Project Viper performance specs include:
- 6.2-liter, 430-hp Chevrolet LS3 V-8 engine
- Six-speed automatic transmission
- Hand-built in the USA custom aluminum radiator
- Hand-built in the USA Ricks Tanks full stainless steel fuel cell with dual point fuel pickups
- Braided stainless steel fuel lines
- Stainless steel brake lines
- Wilwood brakes with 6-piston front race calipers and 4-piston rear race calipers with vented and drilled rotors all around
- KAM custom heavy-duty axles with electronic locking differentials
- Heavy-duty steering arms
- Fully custom suspension system
- King Off-Road Racing shocks and steering damper
- 2-inch lifted Old Man Emu coil springs
Project Viper interior and convenience specs include:
- Puma dash upgrade
- Air conditioning
- Classic Instruments Moal Bomber series gauges
- Kenwood touchscreen infotainment system with GPS, backup camera, Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto with a custom Morel amplified speaker system
- Wireless phone charging
- Black Corbeau heated leather seats with white accent stitching
- LED lighting throughout with auto-on headlights, mood lighting and puddle lighting
- Power windows
- Remote locking and alarm system
Project Viper exterior and styling specs include:
- Custom ECD Edition 20-inch wheels by ADV.1 with Nitto Mud Grappler tires
- Tinted factory windows
- Tubular winch bumper with WARN winch
- Custom-built swing-away spare tire carrier
- Full Safety Devices external roll cage
- Front LED spot lamps
- Rear LED work lamps
- Custom-built, diamond-plated bedliner with toolboxes and seating