Jeep Gladiator who now?

To those of you looking for a fleshed out Land Rover Defender that looks equally in its element in front of the opera or on a muddy trail, we can honestly say that there’s no lack of options. In fact, you’ve probably familiar with the work of tuning outlets such as Arkonik Chelsea Truck Design - with the latter being our absolute favorites when it comes to classy Defenders that look ready do withstand a zombie apocalypse. However, the guys over at Florida-based E.C.D. Automotive Design have caught our eye with their latest chef d’oeuvre, dubbed Project NEO. Hey, we know that look on your face. That’s the tell me more facial expression, so we’ll oblige right away.

What is THe Project NEO Defender 110?

Without beating around the bush, you’re looking at a good ’ol Land Rover Defender 110. We know the Land Rover Defender topic has been heated up in recent months since the Brits have published photos of camouflaged prototypes of the 2020 Defender testing out in the wild - it’s also coming to the US so mark that as double the joy - but this one right here is about the old-school Defender. Some mud trail hardcores might even argue that this is THE off-roader, but we’ll let the online forums settle that.

Back to our business, you might know that the Defender 110 was offered with either five or seven seats. Powering it was a 2.4-liter diesel engine spurting 122 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of twist (that’s 350 Nm, by the way). Now forget what you just read and chug this: E.C.D.’s Project NEO went through an engine swap and got itself a V-8 plus a multitude of other mods, which is something we’ll address in a minute.

Project NEO Defender - Exterior Design

ECD Project NEO Land Rover Defender 110
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OK, so with the vintage Defender shape and design cues checked off the to-do list, E.C.D. started the add-ons game. First came a wide body kit.

Then a new color - that's called Vulkan Grey Pearl, by the way, and fits the Defender's purpose like a glove.

Here comes the icing on the cake: the V-8 we mentioned above is a GM-sourced, 6.2-liter LS3 unit tuned to produce 565 horsepower. That’s a hefty punch the standard Defender 110 never dreamed of possessing and it’s held in check with the help of a six-speed automatic transmission.

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Underneath the build works a 2-inch lift suspension imbued with Fox shocks and Old Man Emu springs. The star-shape wheels are Retro 20 inchers from Kahn Mondial shod in 32-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain tires. SVX provided the side steps while Bearmach is responsible for the rear window guard. The finishing touch is added by the Borla Performance dual exhaust system which will obviously contribute to boosting the V-8’s note even further.

Project NEO Defender - Interior Design

ECD Project NEO Land Rover Defender 110
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The whole bumped-up look treatment continues inside the cabin. Here, the front and middle seats are provided by Corbeau Racing and are both fitted with heating and ventilation systems. The third row of seats is made of two forward-facing jump seats, while the whole cockpit is bathed in Black & Panda Charcoal leather.

In case the aforementioned exhaust setup doesn't tickle your fancy, the cabin is fitted with an JL Audio sound system and a subwoofer.

Now, the Defender 110 might be old, but this particular build gets a touch of modern amenities in the presence of the back-up camera and wireless smartphone charging pad, air conditioning, and keyless entry.

E.C.D. doesn’t say how much it wants for the Project NEO treatment, but we imagine the price tag is in the six-figure league.

E.C.D. Project NEO Defender 110 Specs

Engine LS3 small-block V8
Displacement 6.2 liters
Power 565 horsepower
Gearbox 6-speed automatic
Wheels 20-inch Kahn Mondial Retro
Tires 32-inch BFG all-terrain
Suspension 2-inch lift, Fox shocks
Number of seats 7
Price TBA

Further Reading

Land Rover Is Working on a Defender SVR and Here's the Proof
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Land Rover Defender SVR.

2007 Land Rover Defender
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Read our full review on the Land Rover Defender.

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