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1997 NAS Defender 90 Station Wagon #227
Accident repair, Galvanized frame, Full external Safety Devices cage and Numerous upgrades
This 1997 NAS (North American Specification) Defender 90 Station Wagon (or hard top) has come to us from NC. It had an unfortunate accident in the rear that we need to make right and while it is here we will also be adding a host of upgrades to make this 90 everything the owner wants it to be. Along with the accident repairs we will be installing a new galvanized frame, stainless steel lines (fuel, brake and oil), an upgraded sound system, leather seats, full external Safety Devices safari cage and even a complete repaint in the original Alpine White.
The first step with any project of this scale is to strip everything down and get ready to tackle the major body work. Here you can see we have removed the factory safari cage, roof and other parts and are working to get the rear body tub off the Rover.
This destroyed quarter panel needs to be replaced, but unlike other body shops that will install a new quarter panel skin with rivets right through the show surface of the vehicle, we will be doing a correct repair that, once done, no one will ever be able to tell that repairs were done to this 90. That is the key to all the body work done here at ECR, we want it to look 100% factory and not at all like a "repair".
This images shows the tub removed from the 90 and the damaged quarter panel assembly has been removed and the new one is being made ready for installation. The rear brace also had to be replaced as you can see. The reason we do repairs this way it to make a 100% clean looking factory style repair. This 90 will have all the correct rivets and spot welds in place and no one will be able to tell that the rear tub has been damaged.
The lamp guards on the RH side caused the metal in that area to become stretched too far to get back into shape, so we will also have to install a new panel here. Again, the panel will be installed in such a way that no one will ever be able to tell that it was replaced. Isn't that what bodywork should be? Do you really want repairs to your Defender to stick out like a soar thumb,or do you want your truck to look like the way it did when it was new?
Here you can see the 90 has been stripped down a little more. Once we went over the list of needed repairs with the customer he decided to make some additions, one of them was to add a new galvanized frame installation to the list of work orders. At nearly any other shop in the USA that would have presented a huge problem as a new frame would have been months away, but here at ECR we stock 90 and 110 frames in inventory, so there is no delay to your project. In fact, we stock nearly everything for a Defender here in our facility. That saves time in a build and in the long run saving times saves you money.
This image shows the 90's running gear has been stripped out of the old chassis along with the rear axle and the suspension.
Here you can see that running gear and rear suspension and axle have been installed in the new galvanized frame.
A little while later and all the running gear is nicely sitting in the new chassis. New motor mounts and such are installed at this stage because the originals a well over a decade old and doing these small items now make for a long lasting set up that will last the customer a good long time.
Along with getting the new galvanized frame set up we have started to install the new stainless steel fuel lines and brake lines that will help these systems last as long as the frame itself. Unlike the other guys our fuel lines use stainless steel flex hoses and our stainless brake lines use stainless fittings as well. We don't see the point of stainless steel brake lines if the fittings are going to rust just like the originals, so ours are all stainless.
While the running gear is getting sorted, and the fabricators work on the rear tub, our paint department turns its attention to the body panels that are ready for prep. and paint. The roof is one key area on a 90 Wagon that needs attention. To make the 90 stop leaking water we will remove all the old and dry rotted roof sealant from the original roof and then reseal everything with better materials that will stay flexible over the long term. This will keep the roof water tight, keep water off the floors and keep the headliners lasting longer. Once the sealant work is complete we will repaint the roof in the correct Alpine White.
Here you can see the complete rolling chassis is together and the body panels are starting to go back on. The bulkhead has been repainted and put on the new chassis. At this stage all the systems will be hooked up and tested to make sure everything is good to go.
This image shows the 90 coming together nicely. The newly restored rear tub has been painted and installed as have some of the other body panels. The roof sides are on and the freshly painted roof has been installed. The new sealant in the roof will mean that this 90 Wagon won't have any issues with leaks once we are done. You will also notice that the new LED tail lights have been installed along with the rear step that has been zinc and powder coated for a fresh look.
Inside the 90 we have run all the wiring for the new sound system and added a layer of dyna-mat for reduced road noise. We have also installed the new frame mounted Safety Devices cage supports in the body and installed all the new body seals.
The Safety Devices full external 90 cage has been changed from the past set up to be more "NAS". Our close relationship with Safety Devices means that they work with us to make the cages better and better and the bracket you see above is one example of that. In the past the 90 external cages were designed for European Defender 90s. Working with SD we have developed the new NAS 90 external cage. This consists of a number of changes that include the side braces having the correct seat belt mounts welded in place for not only an easier install, but the ability to keep all the original NAS safety belt aspects completely original, no more sourcing Euro style parts to complete your install. This correct NAS Defender 90 Wagon external cage is available as an exclusive product to ECR, so be sure and contact ECR if you would like one of these Safety Devices 90 external cages.
Here you can see the rest of the body starting to come together. Next up the sliding windows will be rebuilt to eliminate the all too common rear window rattle and the sunroof and alpine windows will be installed with new seals.
This image shows one of the 8" subwoofers in its custom enclosure going into place. The truck will have two 8" subs, one on each side in matching boxes. These side mount boxes that are fabricated and painted to match the Rover here at ECR are great not only because they will offer great sound reproduction from the new Alpine audio system but they are nicely hidden from view once the jump seats go into place. Being hidden will help keep thieving eyes away from the 90 so that hopefully they move onto another vehicle where the subs are easier to steal. We also like to have amazing sound in a 90, but we don't want to truck to scream "blingy sound system." Tasteful and subtle and get the job done, it is part of our New England tradition.
Here you can see the new headliners going into place, and with the roof now resealed they won't be growing mold from water ingress. The new units will last a good long time and give the interior a nice fresh and clean look. While the truck was apart we have also made a number of small changes that only take a few minutes, but make things much more user friendly. We have tied the front and rear interior lights together, so they both come on when you open the door, and added a factory rear door lamp switch so that when you open the rear door the interior lights will come on. Its a small thing, but it makes a big difference when you are using the 90 in the dark.
The Safety Devices cage is now loosely installed and once all the door gaps and body lines are set the cage will be locked down making a very safe and secure passenger area inside the 90. The 90 full external cage is mounted to the frame in 6 places and not only offers added safety for all passengers but it looks great and even helps protect the body and roof when off roading in tight trees.
Next up is to install all the new black leather seats and get cracking on the rest of the audio system and finish up the body.
Here you can see a close up of the new Safety Devices NAS cage parts. The new brackets correctly take the factory NAS seat belts and the bolt for the jump seat belt, exactly like the original safari cage that came on the Defender.
The cross bar also works correctly with the automatic console and all the carpets and jump seats. In this image you can also see that we have added our alloy jump seat bases. These resist damage and sagging, unlike the original cardboard pieces and when combined with the new leather interior...
everything looks top notch and takes the interior of this D90 Wagon to another level. Can you see our subwoofer box with the 8" subwoofer hiding in plan sight?
The front seats are just as nice and make the front section of the truck. The new seats, various repairs of broken items and the new headliners make the interior of this 13 year old truck look like new.
As the new interior is such a nice place to be, we have also added a new Alpine sound system with satellite radio, Bluetooth connection and direct iPod hook up. The system powers the 2 subs and 4 JL Audio speakers for great sound reproduction, no matter what kind of music you listen to jazz to hi-hop.
This image shows the body coming together. The safari cage is complete and the doors and such have now been installed with stainless hardware and updated door hinges. New running boards have also been installed to replace the damaged units and even a new rear rim has been installed to make sure there is no evidence of damage anywhere.
Here you can see we have buttoned up the rear of the 90 and added some customer desired details like the lamp guards for the LED tail lights. The accident damage is now 100% gone and because we use the proper techniques and tools there is no way you could tell any repairs were done to this truck. Unlike a local body shop, you would never know this truck was in an accident, and isn't that the point of correct repairs... to make them invisible? Here at ECR that is our goal, to give you back a vehicle that is better than it left the factory.
This image shows the NAS 110 style battery cut off switch we have installed for the periods when this 90 may sit idle. This easy to use switch will mean no more dead batteries for this customer.
Here you can see the finished product, a complete and proper repair of the accident damage and a hose of upgrades that included everything from safety items like a full exo-safari cage and our stainless steel oil cooler lines, to comfort items such as a full leather interior and a new sound system, to longevity items like stainless steel fuel lines and a new galvanized frame. It doesn't get much better than this.
If you have dreams for your Defender, contact ECR. We'll be happy to make your Defender world class... just like this one.