Hello, my name is Paul Potratz. Buying Defenders to modify into a daily driver started as a hobby and quickly grew into an International business that is now 1 of the 3 largest in the world currently.
My passion for Defenders started as a little boy growing up watching shows with Land Rovers as the vehicle of choice to explore the remotest parts of the earth. It’s a true adventure vehicle and to this day I have always considered myself to be an adventurous soul that chooses to never fit in with the norm.
My father played a big part in my desires and passions since he would do without until he could afford something made by hand vs mass-produced. I grew up working in my father’s vehicle repair and body shop where his clientele was highly diversified. He had gearheads seeking faster quarter-mile times and those who loved Peugeot, Isuzu, Volvo, and Mercedes diesels.
The Day that Changed My Destiny
I remember an “English Gent” named Garreth that brought his Range Rover into my Dad’s shop and that’s the exact moment my obsession began. Word quickly spread to the individuals that would only own a Land Rover, Range Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin, or Bentley that my father was a master mechanic which allowed me to experience a lot of British vehicles and I was always drawn to them over the American Made vehicles. The lines of anything British are simply beautiful to me.
Fast and Furious Super Cars
As I grew up and reached levels of success I purchased many Mercedes, Porsche’s, and Ferrari’s but I kept being drawn back to British vehicles since there is something magical and special about a true handcrafted British vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, or even a British handcrafted pair of boots. It’s hard to find anything made by hand today and even harder to find anything made in England.
I’m not one drawn to designer names nor did I own luxury or supercars for the status…it’s purely the craftsmanship, quality, and knowing something was built by hand and not a robot on an assembly line. I love things with a story of innovation and knowing a real craftsman’s hands touched it to the point of perfection.
So time went by and after driving fast, getting a few tickets, and driving in some road rallies the thrill of sports cars faded. I would rather explore and see the sights where few have been so I bought a Land Rover Defender D110 that I loved the looks of it but I disliked driving it. It was slow, noisy, and not very practical for me as a Business Consultant and Advertising Agency Owner in a suit, driving a lot and taking a lot of calls from the road.
The Quest to Make a Daily Driven Defender
That’s when I set out to modify my Defender into a daily driver with plenty of power, comfortable, quiet, and have the technology needed so I could work while commuting and take clients to lunch or dinner in it. It also had to look like a new vehicle since I could not show up to a business meeting in what looks like an old worn-out truck. It had to match my style and speak success but not be pretentious.
The focus for me was to retain the character and purity of a True Original British Land Rover Defender but refine it to suit my lifestyle and needs of living on a Horse Farm in New York near the Catskill and the Adirondack Mountains. The temperatures are often well below 0 and snow can be 4-5” deep in winter so I need a capable vehicle that is comfortable for my 2 hour – 85-mile daily commute to the office with a mix of country roads and city traffic.
It was simply a passion to have a hand-made vehicle that was practical, dependable, and not mass produced that anyone could go pick from a dealership. After countless Land Rover Defenders, modifications, hundreds of thousands spent, and seeking craftsmen in the States and the UK…I succeeded with the help of some Brilliant Individuals. I had the perfect formula of parts suppliers, mechanics, leathers, fabrics, and design for True British Classic Land Rover Defenders.
What Does Helderburg Stand For
I started a Social Media Channel called “Helderburg” to share my personal interest in photography, Defenders, dogs, farm life, and Country Gentleman Fashion. I made up the name Helderburg since it sounded strong and European and I felt it represented my hobbies and interest.
Word quickly spread due to Social media that we had created a Unique Land Rover Defender that was considered to be a Work of Art and was Powerful, Drivable, Comfortable, and Unique with Perfecting Details. I started getting messages throughout the World of people wanting to buy my personal Defenders that I shared on Social Media and at first, I refused but then I saw it as a way to do more of what I love…designing new colors and styles of Defenders. This is how Helderburg was born and now we have developed our very own line of performance brakes, performance exhaust, grilles, billet aluminum parts, performance-tuned engines, high-efficiency cabin air conditioning/heating units, and will be launching a Helderburg line of bespoke leather interiors.
Keeping the Classic Looks But Modernizing Enough
Helderburg was born from the passion of hobbies and interest of making a Land Rover Defender a modern daily driver and grew into a Bespoke (custom built) Program with clients throughout the World. We work with select individuals to design a one-of-a-kind Defender that takes over 3,000 hours to build.
We have a team of 19 and each individual is a true craftsman that takes pride in their craft. We have no intention of scaling larger to sell more Defenders annually. Our focus is keeping British heritage “Hand Built in England” alive and ensuring each individual Helderburg Defender is a Unique Piece of Art that can be cherished, driven, and practical for several generations to come.