It’s been a while since we heard from East Coast Defender. In fact, the company has changed its name in the months since our last ECD feature; the new entity is known now as E.C.D. Automotive Design. Fortunately it appears the custom Land Rover Defender projects are as epic as ever, as evidenced by this newest creation recently revealed on the company’s Facebook page. It’s called Project Evolution, and we can’t help but think there’s a double entendre at work here with the name – representing both the design of this Defender as well as the progress of the company.
For starters, this Defender is every bit as menacing on the outside as previous builds from East Coast Defender. The D110 shell gets a Kahn wide-body kit to better accommodate massive 20-inch wheels with knobby all-terrain rubber. Whereas many such kits are designed to purposefully stand out, this one is paint-matched to help it blend better with the body. Speaking of which, black is everywhere on the outside, from the wheels to the roof rack and exoskeleton. If you should meet this SUV in a dark alley, rolling over and playing dead could be your only chance of survival.
The inside, however, is actually quite posh. There’s still an abundance of dark leather, but it’s offset by warm Coja Rawhide to create a kinder, gentler greenhouse. There’s plenty of modern tech in this old-school Defender as well, with an infotainment system in the dash, wireless charging for electronic devices, and a JL Audio system for entertaining the busload of passengers this Land Rover can carry. Older projects from East Coast Defender were certainly nice inside, but this one stands out in the crowd as far as we’re concerned. Perhaps that’s part of evolution with E.C.D. Automotive Design?
That evolution might also be found under the bonnet. GM-based LS engines aren’t new to these rebooted Defenders, but Project Evolution goes a bit further than most with a 430-bhp LS3 V8 pulled straight from a Chevrolet Corvette. It’s connected to a Borla exhaust system to help ensure the Land Rover’s sound matches the menacing look.
E.C.D Automotive Design says Project Evolution was designed entirely by its client, but the company certainly did a tremendous job bringing that vision to life. It’s nice to see that, with some rather large changes obviously taking place behind-the-scenes, the end-products appear to be even better than before.