With the kind of heritage an EV start-up would sell their crypto reserves for, it was inevitable that the new Defender - however modern and capable - would trade on its nostalgia value at some point. Land Rover has attacked it from different angles, playing to good old days with everything from a hardtop to a 5.0-litre V8, and now it's time for the aftermarket to give things a go. The only thing more appealing than a new car, seemingly, is a new car made to look a little bit older...
The Valiance Dakar is the brainchild of Heritage Customs in the Netherlands, which is co-owned by Niels van Roij - who you might remember from projects like the Ferrari breadvan homage. This commission is built from a Defender 110, though any bodystyle is being invited; indeed, every single Dakar build is going to start with a sketch, each car aiming to accommodate the owner's hopes and dreams for a retro Defender. "A Heritage Customs Defender is the ultimate expression of each individual client", reads the press release. "Whatever it is that inspires them, the Heritage Customs team will integrate their wishes in a vehicle that will reflect their ideas and taste, whether it is a subtle detail or a grander gesture."
To our eyes, future clients will do well to improve on this build. The Defender is now painted Sahara Tan, with gloss black 20-inch Rock Dust forged wheels. There are additional Santorini Black accents over standard, too, including the bumpers, vents, and Defender font. Whether you'd want to do any meaningful off-roading with a car that now looks like this is a different matter, of course, even with off-road tyres, but you pay your money and take your choice - not everyone wants the same Defender experience. Aluminium highlights for the steering wheel spokes, grab handles and lower dash section brighten up the interior.
By the standards of unique cars, then, this Valiance Dakar is fairly mild, but none the worse for it. And, as Heritage Customs are only too keen to point out, its aim is to "make each client a highly personal motorcar." Presumably the only limit then is your imagination. And budget. A price for this car hasn't been released, though given each one takes around six weeks there'll be a fair bit of work involved. Still, any price is worth paying to stand out in the Defender hordes - right?
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