The Custom Build Process

Commission Your California Legal Classic Land Rover Defender

So what is the bespoke process?

So first thing let’s define what the word bespoke means, and that means custom. So in the States we say custom, but in England, proper British is bespoke. So think about this as a bespoke suit. That’s what we’re doing for Defenders, is we’re building Defenders bespoke to your exacting specifications, so in other words, a custom Defender.

So the process starts out with a conversation, that conversation can be held on the phone, it can be here in person in Sharon Springs, it can be through Instagram, text message, however you want to have the conversation. But step one is determining which body style do you want. Are you interested in a D90? So this is the D90, which is considered a three-door Defender. Do you want a soft top? Do you want a hard top, this being a soft top? Or do you want a D110, which is considered to be the five-door, so the reason it’s five-door is we’re counting the rear door.

So D110 you guys probably know that one it’s really popular, it’s the four-door version, or do you want a D130, which is basically a pickup truck? I mean it’s big, it’s 20 inches longer than a D110. There’s a lot of different variations in the Defender. Again, D90, D110 five-door, D110 three-door, and we can also do either one of those in a soft top, there’s also a D110 double cab, then there’s of course the D130.

So that’s the first step, number one is determining which body style do you want, and the way we do that is really talk about your lifestyle. How are you going to use the truck? Is it going to be a daily driver? Is it going to be a beach cruiser? Is it going to be a weekend driver? What exactly do you want to use it for? And I’ll tell you this here’s a little side note, write this down, that while the trucks look really large, they’re really not as large as you would think. For example, a D110 five-door is approximately the same size as a Chevy Colorado or a Ford Ranger, so not even the same size as an F150, so chances are it’s going to fit in your garage, and it’s really easy to park, it’s not as difficult as you think, it’s just they’re a little taller. The D130 is 20 inches longer, so it’s more of the size of an F150.

So that’s step one, is determining what body style do you want and what’s going to fit? Probably, if you want a recommendation, it’s probably going to be a D90, and it’s because the D90 is just really popular. They’re easier for us to get, a D130 is super rare, hard to find, hard to get, but we can get them in. So, but anyway, determining body style, so that’s number one.

Number two is determining what is the look? Do you want a very classic look? Do you want a more of a rough-and-tumble look? Do you want a beach cruiser look? So that’s what we do is we determine that in the conversation is what kind of look do you want? And the really the easiest way to determine that is as you’re looking at different pictures on Instagram or wherever I’m looking at pictures of Defenders, which ones do you seem to be drawn to the most? And that’s what I say go for.

So the look and that’s how we determine that look, can be by the size of the wheels, size of the tires, whether you do a nudge bar or whether you do a winch, whether you do like a full roll cage here, or an internal roll cage.

So look is the next part. The next part is, what color do you want? Do you, do you want a solid color, a metallic color, do you want, this is solid, this is a beluga black, this is a phoenix orange, or do you want a flat matte color? So the sky is the limit, you’re can have any color you want. We can do an original Land Rover color or we can do a color that you’ve seen on another vehicle, or even a color you’ve seen on a home. In fact, we’ve done that. We’ve matched a color on the home to match the color of the Defender, and you can decide any of it. I mean, you can have a different contrasting hood, contrasting top, so the sky is the limit. What do you want the grill to look like? And we have about 35 different options in grills, we have about 20 different options in wheels, same thing with tires, different types of nudge bars, different types of bumpers, different color soft tops if you go for the soft top.

So exterior look, that’s what we talk about, that’s the conversation we have, and probably the easiest way for you again, is as you’re looking at pictures, what are you drawn to? What do you like? And I’m going to give you kind of a word of advice on this too, as you’re deciding on your bespoke, custom Defender, if you generally go black, I’d say mix it up. Try something a little different because it’s a custom build and you can do anything you want. It’s not like that car that you’re driving, that you had to go to the dealer’s lot, walk around the lot, and pick out what they had, and you didn’t have the opportunity to actually custom build it to your exact specifications. And that’s what’s really beautiful about the bespoke process is you can decide everything on it.

And when I say everything, I mean, even the letters on the hood. We decide what color the letters on the hood are going to be when you’re deciding this. We decide on the hinges. Do you want painted hinges? Do you want aluminum hinges? So again, the sky’s the limit, and while it can sound like it’s an overwhelming process, it’s really not. It’s an enjoyable process.

So after we have that conversation and we determine what your exterior look’s going to be, we talk about the interior seating configuration. Do you need seating for four? Do you need sitting for six, nine, eight? What is it exactly? And for example, on a D90, you can have seating for six, or you can have seating for four. So we can do the bench seats in the back where it’s center-facing, in other words, towards the center of the vehicle, or we can do bucket seats that face forward, which that means seating for four, but we determine what kind of a seating configuration, what type of technology do you want into it, what type of leather, what type of pattern on the leather.

So this is just a discussion in the early stages but then we get through this process a little more and then the next process is that I put together what’s called a build sheet. And on this build sheet it outlines everything that we discussed, plus I make some recommendations of things that you can consider, for example, like engine performance upgrades, suspension upgrades, and based on how you’re going to use it again, is how I make those recommendations. If it’s something that you’re not going to use or utilize, then I’m not going to suggest it. I’ll say, hey, it’s out there if you want it, but I always try to say overbuild it just a little bit, but not too much ’cause you don’t want to get it and then afterwards go, oh man, I wish I would have, could have that type of deal.

So after we do that, and I send you the build sheet, the build sheet where it has everything itemized, it has the pricing on it. Now, you know exactly what it’s going to cost you, and you say, yes, let’s go ahead and do it, and then that’s where the deposit comes in. You do a 50% deposit or a third down, and what that deposit does is it secures your Defender. In other words, you get a Defender, you get your VIN number, and it’s your Defender that we start the mechanical process on, meaning we bring it into the shop and we start disassembling it. So when I say disassemble, I mean, really everything’s coming apart, it’s coming off the frame, and we disassemble it, and we start building it back. That’s what your deposit does.

At the same time that’s going on, what I do is I mail you a welcome kit. The welcome kit has leather swatches in it so you can really see what the leather looks like, the texture, the feel, the smell, the color, and then you get seatbelt samples too, so that’s how you determine what color leather do you want. That’s the first step of the bespoke process, meaning after you’ve done the deposit and we’ve already kind of determined because then we order your interior.

That’s what takes the longest process ’cause the interior is all hand done and we’re using a couple different companies to do it. Either it would be like Exmoor or it could be Ruskin depending on what we’re doing with interior. You’re also deciding on the color of the, if we’re doing a soft top, the color of the soft top, and then if you’re not doing a soft top and it’s a hardtop, we’re deciding on the headliner material. So we do a suede and we have different shades of black, and gray, and tan, and brown, so that’s what you’re doing is you’re deciding that so we can get all the interior parts ordered.

As we’re going through this process and building the truck, you’re getting pictures. You’re not getting pictures every week, but you’re getting it as we’re going through the process when we get to the points of where I really want you to see what’s going on. Generally right now, currently this is subject to change, but how long it takes us to build a Defender is right around six to eight months. So before it actually arrives in here, well in Baltimore, and then here to Sharon Springs, you can, it’s a safe bet to say it’s going to be around six months for a D90, and it’s going to be closer to eight months for a D110, a D130 is going to be somewhere in the middle because they’re much harder to find.

So once the Defender is built and it’s ready to go, and it’s in England ’cause that’s where we’re building everything is in England, and it’s getting ready to get on the vessel, then that’s when the remaining balance of your deposit is due. If we’re doing a third, and a third, and a third, then you’ve already paid two-thirds and that’s the final third, or if you’re doing 50 and 50, then that’s when it’s due. It’s loaded to the vessel, it comes into Baltimore at the port, David, our transporter picks it up, it’s brought here to Sharon Springs, and that’s where some more options come in. But these are wonderful options.

You have the option to come here to upstate New York and take delivery of your Defender, where we do a walk around and I teach you more about the Defender, of you know, where the oil goes, and maintenance, and that type of stuff, which there really isn’t much maintenance on it with a diesel motor, but the best part of it, what we do is we drive the beautiful hills of upstate New York. We’ll visit the Catskills, we’ll drive around the farm, you’ll get to see what a Defender’s really capable of, in fact, I think you’ll be so hooked that you’ll want to start taking your Defender off road regardless of where you live, but it’s a great way to come here and actually have a vacation, and do some skeet shooting, some fly fishing, some skiing, snowshoeing, whatever you want to do, but that’s what I encourage, is come here and do the delivery. But if you don’t have time, completely understand. So David, our transporter, which is an enclosed transport, he will bring it to your doorstep. So he’ll deliver it to you. So again, process six to eight months on normal is what it is, but it’s always subject to change depending on supply and demand.

So maybe about this time, you’re starting to get overwhelmed and you’re thinking, oh my gosh, Paul, I don’t have time, I don’t know what I want to decide, that’s fine. This is what I love, and I know Defenders inside and out, up and down, backwards and forwards. So all you would really have to do is say, Paul design a Defender for me, and I encourage you to do that, I would love to do that for you, then you don’t have to make the decisions, I make all the decisions for you, I give you some pictures, I give you some images, and I’m like, okay, here’s your Defender. Do you love it or not? So I can make the process really easy, that easy, or we can talk through it and you can decide down to the the marker lights, so it’s up to you. So again, we’ll do it how you want to do it. One of the ways that you could get started is just go to my website and you’ll see different builds, and each build has a name like this is an Aaron. And then this is, I forget the name, Hercules on this one, but you can look at the different builds, whether it’s Elizabeth, or Baird, or whatever, but you can get a determination of like, oh, I really love Baird, this is what I want to do.

That could be your starting ground, and then you can say well, I love Baird, but I want a different set of wheels. So again, it’s a very easy process, it’s not an overwhelming process, but you have total control of how you want to proceed with the build, whether I do it for you completely, or whether you decide with, you know, your significant other, or your friends, or whatever it is, but it’s a very easy process.

Watch More Videos

Have a question?

Text Paul @ 518-788-4724

Text Paul @ 518-788-4724 Contact Us