E.C.D. Automotive Design (E.C.D.) has offered an inside look into its sourcing process.
The process begins at the U.K. logistics facility located in the West Midlands, nearly 40 miles away from the Lode Lane factory where the original Defenders were produced. At the logistics facility, team members locate base vehicles, original parts and more, shipping the inventory overseas to E.C.D.’s Rover Dome in Florida.
Each E.C.D. restored Defender is hand built by E.C.D.’s master technicians and modernized with a la carte customizations. The U.K. logistics team is responsible for finding the base vehicle for each build. According to E.C.D., the team scours the U.K. and beyond to find a vehicle that fits the client’s specifications.
In addition to being contacted directly by sellers, the company also monitors auto-trading sites for vehicles that fit its criteria. Once purchased and the registration is transferred to E.C.D., the vehicle undergoes an intensive in-house inspection. The carpet is removed to inspect the interior and conduct a deep cleaning inside and out. The body is measured for filler and the depth of the steel frame is assessed and tested, verifying that each classic Defender has a rot-free frame and workable body panels.
“The vehicles we purchase must be 25 years old, currently running and well-maintained. They aren’t junkers or old rot boxes abandoned in a field. Many were in the possession of their former owners for many years and well-loved,” said E.C.D. Co-Founder and U.K. Logistics Manager Tom Humble. “We seek to honor that heritage, giving these vintage Defenders a second life in the States where they can be treasured like new.”
The following are captured and recorded within E.C.D.’s database: VIN number (frame and tag), engine number, gearbox number, transfer case number, axle numbers, HPI check, among other ID numbers. Photos are taken to catalog the older Defender. After all of this is recorded and paperwork sent for approval, the base vehicle is loaded into a 40-foot shipping container for the four-to-six-week boat trek across the Atlantic Ocean.
Once the vehicle lands at the port, it is physically inspected and, upon clearance, E.C.D.’s carrier collects the vehicle and rolls it onto the trailer for delivery to the Rover Dome. The base vehicle undergoes another multi-point visual inspection by E.C.D.’s Florida team and paperwork is submitted, registering the vehicle with a clean and clear official Florida title.
Following the inspection, the base vehicle is torn down and rebuilt over 2,200 hours into a E.C.D. custom Defender. An original hinge from the base vehicle is preserved and encased in a frame for the client as a remembrance of the vehicle’s prior life before its E.C.D. makeover.
Overall, this method of sourcing a high-quality base vehicle and restoring it allows E.C.D. builds to be registered throughout the U.S. as genuine classic cars – rather than kit cars or replicas assembled from components of various vehicles. Not only does the E.C.D. method preserve the prestige of an antique, it avoids the registration issues common with kit cars.