ECR... We build your dreams
North American Style DEFENDER 110 5 door Soft Top
Project: BR110 "Beach Runner"
The images below show just how radical a 110 we can create for you. Our only limitation is your imagination.
A few years ago this doctored up image of a Defender 90 came to us in an email. The potential customer wanted us to create a vehicle like this for him. We said, "No problem" but sadly that customer was never able to make the project a reality. We kept the picture because the thought of a 110 5 door soft top intrigued us. A vehicle with the best parts of a NAS D90 but it would be a 110... very cool. Years have gone by since this image arrived but it was never forgotten, so the hell with it... we are going to build it anyway! Our version will be close to what you see in the image above but with some changes to make it exactly what we think it should be. There are the broad strokes, a Defender 110 5 door but one that has a soft top and will end up being the ultimate beach machine. We call it the "Beach Runner". Want one?
To make the project a reality one of our customers stepped in and said, "Go for it!" They supplied us with a mint condition 1997 Defender 90 in AA Yellow that will be the basis of the project. Here you can see the 90 has arrived at ECR and we have already gone over it from top to bottom.
What do you do with a low miles, cherry condition, NAS Defender 90? If you are most people you put it in a garage and use it on weekends, but if your are ECR you tear it completely apart and turn it into something even cooler!
These images show the tear down process, in progress, on the 90. Once the Defender is apart we will get the parts repainted in AA Yellow to freshen everything up and then start building up the Beach Runner (or BR110) on its new galvanized 110" frame.
As the tear down continues, some of the needed custom parts for this project are being made in house here at ECR. Land Rover never offered a soft top 110, so there are a lot of parts we need to fabricate to make this project come to life. Here you can see one of those parts in progress. As we will be making a set of half doors for the rear doors on the 110, we also need to make interior panels for those doors. We want the look to be NAS correct and not just make some cheesy black vinyl covered parts and slap them in. This rig has got to be top of the line cool, so we fabricated new fiberglass door panels that will have the NAS door panel look, but that fit the rear half doors we have made. In the image above you can see the prototype part is now complete and the mold is being made for it.
Here is a shot of the new rear door panel mold. When complete these parts will match the front door panels exactly and they will hold another set of 6" speakers for the rear doors. What is a Beach Runner without an excellent sound system.
Here you can see the level we go to in an ECR paint job. Each piece is taken part and then painted inside and out. This not only gives the best results for finish and corrosion resistance, but it is the correct way to paint a Defender. The factory paints them apart and so do we.
This image shows the new rear 110 body tub all set up in new AA yellow paint and ready to be Rhino-Lined for the ultimate in beach protection for the rear cargo/passenger area of the BR110,
In the image above you can see the unique 110 middle half doors we created to match the NAS D90 style front doors. These are now fully seam sealed, primed and painted and ready for mock up on the 110. These doors will act just like D90 front doors with a removable alloy door top and those trick custom door panels we have made. What doesn't exist... we create.
Here you can see this 90 now starting to look like a 110. The running gear has been assembled on the new galvanized 110 frame and set up with all our tricks for the maximum longevity. We installed a new fuel tank that has been coated with a polymer so that it will not rust out. We installed our own stainless steel brake pipes (with stainless fittings as well) and installed our stainless steel fuel lines as well. All this, along with the galvanized frame, means this Beach Runner will be able to run on the beach without fear of rotting away in a few short seasons like most Rovers do.
In the front of the BR110 we have made any and all needed modifications to the front bodywork and installed it on the new galv. frame. The next thing to do up front is to install the new ROX front bumper and the Warn 9000 winch.
Here you can see the BR110 starting to take shape in reality. It is no longer just a drawing done on a computer. We have mocked up all the body panels and modified them as required to do the jobs we will ask them to do. With the mock up completed, everything has been sent to our in house paint department for numerous coats of primer and paint.
The rear cage sections have been modified and new frame mounts have been made and installed. These new mounts make it so that not only does the BR110 look cool, all the roll cage parts are still frame mounted like the factory parts, so the look is good, but also fully functional as a complete roll cage for passenger safety.
Here you can see some more of the body starting to come together and some of the options being installed. The rest of the freshly painted bodywork is now installed and the wing top guards have been added.
Seen from the side the doors of the BR110 can be seen and the door tops that allow the doors to become half doors have been painted in satin black to give the BR110 a very "NAS soft top" look. All the door tops have stainless steel studs and stainless steel quick-nuts on them for fast and easy door top removal now, and in the future.
Here you can see our version of the Photoshop'd image at the top of this page starting to come together. The doors are all installed with new style door hinges and stainless hardware to avoid those nasty rust bleeds. Next we will begin fabricating the center roll bar sections and the cross braces that tie everything together.
To make sure the BR110 can handle any situation it might get into, we have added a ROX front bumper and skid plate. We topped this off with a Warn 9000 winch, 2 ROX recovery points and 3 Hella 4000 CELIS lights. This set up gives the 110 great ability for recovery, protection and the ability to turn night into day on the trail or at the beach.
At this stage we have moved the BR110 back to the paint bay and we are getting the rear body ready for Rhino-Lining. This will make the rear interior tough as nails and ready for sandy feet or even just sliding that cooler in without harming the body at all.
Back in the fabrication bay the new "NAS soft top 110" cage is being completed. We fabricated a bar that connects the T supports across the top that also has the exact same shape as the NAS roll cage so that the fit of the top will look correct and fit snug. This cross bar not only supports the top but supports the area that the middle doors are bolted to so that the 110 still has a strong body. This will make it so the doors close easily and nothing will rattle on the road.
Once the hoop was complete we fabricated the side runners that connect the windscreen hoop to the rear section of the roll cage. These side runners also connect to the center hoop with correct looking NAS style hardware so that once these pieces are painted in satin black, it will all blend together and look factory built. Unlike most shops that build custom cages all our cage system come apart for vehicle service and repairs, just like the factory cage. We never weld anything in place that would mean you could never service some aspect of the Defender down the road. Everything is still accessible and made for future service.
Next step is to remove the cage pieces and fully tig weld them and get them epoxy primed and painted. Then we will load up the Beach Runner and take it to the trim shop for installation of the new custom "NAS 110 soft top".
We just read an article in a US parts suppliers magazine/flyer that had an image of a 90 that was turned into a soft top 110. Basically just a 90 that has more room in the back, much like our already been done Summer Runner (but without the ability for a hard top). They called it the "ultimate beach vehicle"... Boy are they going to be pissed when this rolls up (both trucks will end up on the same island!).
Here you can see we have finished the molds for the rear door panels and made a set for the BR110 in grey to match the factory front door panels (shown together above). Now you can start to see just how nice the interior of the 110 will be and just how close this project will look to something the factory built.
Now that all the fabrication is complete on all the custom parts for the front section of the cage and the gutter kit for the soft top, those pieces are getting treated to numerous coats of baked on PPG epoxy primer (shown above). Next we will spray the primed pieces in PPG satin black to match a factory NAS look to all the parts and then we will install the completed cage system onto the BR110.
Here you can see we have started to complete the interior. The new NAS soft top door panels for the front and rear doors are in place and the new Alpine speakers have been installed.
To eliminate another source of aggravation for the owner of the BR110 we have swapped out the factory tail lights that often corrode, fill with water and fail for new fully sealed LED units. These are a direct install with no modification and as this 110 will be used on the beach, the sealed, long lasting nature of the LEDs will be a welcome upgrade. Above you can see the sealed back of the LED lamp and the factory connector plugged into the original wiring harness.
Once installed the LEDs look very close to the original lamps, but will out last and out perform them, especially in the harsh beach environment. You can get your own Defender LED light sets here.
Here you can see the ECR fabricated gutter kit that covers the front and rear doors installed on the 110. This allows for a full door seal to be used to keep water out when the top is in place.
The rear section of the cage has now been mounted to the frame and everything has been installed so that we can transport the BR110 to the trim shop for the custom top. This image was taken right before we loaded it.
A Defender 110 that is a 4 door, seats 9 and is a soft top as well, not bad for something that started off as a drawing emailed to us. When we say "Our only limitation is your imagination"... we mean it.
Here you can see a shot of the BR110 getting its custom soft top. The top looks amazing and truly is one of a kind. Now that the top has been completed we will bring the 110 back to ECR so we can get the small details done and make the Beach Runner 100% ready to go.
Here you can see the nearly completed project in one of its many forms. In this "fast back" form the BR110 is very near what the original drawing of this 110 was, we have taken the image sent to us and made it a reality.
The rear section of the roll cage can be removed for an open air feel. In this image you can see the rear jump seats have been installed and next we will install the new seat covers to make the seats look as nice as the rest of the 110. The gutter kit can be removed if desired as well.
The NAS style half doors have been finished up and they now house the four 6" Alpine speakers for the sound system. New floor mats have been installed and the center console is back in place with the new Alpine head unit, CD changer and iPod connection.
Close up of the NAS style half doors. Ever wonder what our paint quality is like? Check out the reflection of the front wheel in the front door.
Here you can see the "fastback" BR110 from the front. The new running boards and the new BF Goodrich 275/70R16 tires have been installed for a little wider foot print on the beach sands.
To protect the seats and give them a great custom look we have installed a full set of upgraded seat covers. The front seat covers are superior to the factory covers because they fit better, look better and still allow you to remove the seat base without having to mess with the seat cover, a welcome change over the factory seat covers that are always in the way when you need to get to the battery.
The new seat covers are made for all the seats in the 110 and make everything look great. You can also see that in the BR110, the middle seat outside passengers still get an inertia shoulder seat belt for safety (see blue arrow). This set up will even work with child seats so that everyone can head to the beach.
Here you can see the new subwoofer box has been mounted with the two Kicker 8" subs for great bass response from the sound system. The sub box has been Rhino-Lined for durability and the Kicker subs are protected by some cool stainless steel guards that we fabricated so that shoes or surfboard tips won't harm the speakers.
The sound system is powered by a state of the art Alpine head unit that controls a CD changer, an iPod connection, XM radio, AM/FM and plays MP3s. That is a ton of music. All that music is put through four 6" Alpine speakers and a 500 watt amplifier to get the power the system needs to recreate excellent sound quality.
The entire rear section of the 110 has been Rhino-Lined as well, so that sandy and wet feet and salty surfboards will not harm the floors. Toss in whatever gear you desire and the rear cargo area of this 110 will handle it, now matter it that is just your surfboard, or if it is 4 kids.
Here you can see the rear jump seats have the new seat covers installed and are looking great. The down leg for the jump seats has been shortened the correct amount so that the seat still functions correctly with the subwooofer box in place. The change is subtle, but if it is built at ECR it all must work well together, and that includes small changes like the down leg.
The engine bay has been cleaned up and made ready for delivery as well.
This image shows the BR110 with the full roll cage installed, with no top.
Just one more variation that the BR110 can achieve with its NAS style soft top.
Here you can see the BR110 with the top installed and the sides rolled up for open air driving, but without the sun beating down on you.
The rear curtain on the custom top zips off quickly and with the side panels rolled up this creates a great beach vehicle.
Open air, but still some shade and the ability to drive in an afternoon shower without getting totally soaked. The 4 split doors allow all of the passengers to enjoy the summer weather.
If the weather does turn, the soft top easily becomes a full top, as seen above and the door tops can be installed with stainless steel studs and stainless steel speed nuts for a fully enclosed 4 door Defender 110.
This one of a kind Defender 110 that started life as a drawing, now turned reality by ECR, is now complete and ready to head to Nantucket for many summers of fun in the sun. The BR110 is built on a galvanized frame with many stainless steel parts so rust will not be a factor long term for this Defender.
If you'd like your own BR110, or if you need repairs done to your existing Defender, contact ECR, we'll be glad to help. We are the USAs premiere Defender source. The BR110 shown above proves that hands down.
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East Coast Rover Co.