Project Millenium Falcon
Project Millenium Falcon is a comprehensively rebuilt Land Rover Defender, created by the Florida-based team at East Coast Defender. Under the hood it’s now packing a 430 hp, 6.2 litre Chevrolet LS3 V8 – and that’s just the beginning.
During the rebuild the body was fitted with a Kahn wide body kit to accommodate the new 18” Boost/Kahn black alloy wheels with BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires. The LS3 is fitted with a stainless steel Borla performance exhaust, and up front there’s a new alloy radiator with an electric fan – the stock radiator would never have been able to keep up with the new engine.
Inside the cabin, the original seats have been swapped out for a set of All-America Series Performance seats, paired with black procure headliner, and a new suede Puma dash. The dials were replaced by All American series classic gauges, and new LED lighting was added throughout.
A full external roll cage was bolted into place for any potential mishaps off road, and a new steel bumper was added up front with LED lights and a Warn winch for rescuing bogged Toyotas.
For added convenience when out on the road, the team at East Coast Defender have fitted an Amazon Echo unit with wifi, and there’s seating for 6 adults – two in the front and four in the back. If you’d like to see more from the talented folks at ECD you can click here to visit their website.
East Coast Defender
East Coast Defender is one of the pre-eminent Land Rover customizers in the United States, the company has 29 full-time employees and is made up of a mixture of Brits and Americans. They’re based in Kissimmee, Florida, and they’ve built a significant number of bespoke Defenders – all of which are quicker and more luxurious than any examples that left the Land Rover factory.
A Brief History of the Land Rover Defender
The Land Rover Defender was the successor to the Series III, it was originally called the Ninety or the One Ten (a reference to the wheelbase length in inches). As the Land Rover model range grew it was decided to rename the line to Defender 90 and Defender 110 to avoid any confusion.
To say the Defender had large shoes to fill would be a remarkable understatement. The Series I, Series II, Series IIA, and Series III Land Rovers took the world by storm and were very often the first motorised vehicle ever seen by people in developing nations.
The new Defender maintained the same basic structure as the Series vehicles, with a body-on-chassis design utilising a steel frame, a steel bulkhead, and aluminium body panels. Under the skin the Defender had been significantly updated with wider track axles, coil springs as opposed to leaf springs, a full-time 4×4 system borrowed from the Range Rover, and a lockable centre diff.
The interior had seen significant (and some would say overdue) upgrades over the Series Land Rovers, much improving the seats, sound-proofing, dashboard and instruments, and even offering amenities like air-conditioning and stereos.
Over the 3 decades of its production the Defender would get progressively more comfortable without sacrificing any of its raw off-road ability, and examples from the final few years of production are now highly sought after. Land Rover stopped making the Defender in early 2016 – largely due to increasingly stringent crash safety laws that the model couldn’t meet with its older-style body-on-frame structure.
Land Rover have announced more recently an intention to introduce a new Defender, likely with a unibody design and significantly updated styling. It’s widely hoped that Land Rover will stay true to the DNA of the model when they officially unveil the new Defender in 2019 – but only time will tell.