ECR... We build your dreams
North American Style DEFENDER 110 5 door Soft Top
Project: BR110 "Beach Runner-2"
The images below show just how radical a 110 we can create for you. Our only limitation is your imagination.
The image above shows one of our most talked about creations, the Beach Runner, or BR110 as it is known here at ECR. It is a 5 door, full soft top, 9 passenger Defender 110 that is at home on the sand or on the highway. It gained magazine exposure and has been one of the most common topics of conversation with those who call ECR. This custom ECR 110 is so cool that we are building another. We will be completing only a handful BR110s and now it is time to build number two. Keep in mind that BR110-2 is already sold, so don't miss out if you want your own BR110 as they are very limited.
The starting point for BR110-2 is this top notch condition Defender 90 that has just arrived. The 90 has very low miles and is in great shape.
Here you can see the clean engine bay on the D90. Most places would lock this baby up in a garage and keep it from getting dusty, but here at ECR we have a better plan. We are going to take the 90 apart completely and turn it into something cooler that will get used the way a Beach Runner Defender should by its new owner.
The first step is to gut the 90 and remove all the running gear and systems. Once these items are out on the bench we will inspect each one and make any needed adjustments or repairs before we begin construction of the BR110. Luckily the 90 donor is in great shape so other than routine items and upgrades these parts need very little.
Now completely taken down, the donor 90 has very little left. All the wear items like shocks and such will be replaced with new and as soon as the axles are stripped from the original chassis we will start to set up the new galvanized 110 chassis that makes up the back bone of the BR110.
Here you can see that new galvanized frame that will mean no rust issue for the chassis of this 110. We use a galvanized chassis with all new stainless steel brake and fuel lines so that you can actually run the BR110 on the beach without fear of losing the vehicle to corrosion quickly.
As the drivetrain is set into the new frame work on the new body panels is going on as well. Here you can see that a standard NAS 110 tub has been fitted with new tub sides. This is done to make sure the panels are straight and accident free and also to eliminate the NAS 110 style roll cage holes in the 110 tub, because the BR110 utilizes the soft top style safari cage.
This image shows the rolling chassis completed and ready for the body panels to be assembled in mock up form. New springs and new fuel tank, fuel pump and such are all installed at this stage before the bodywork goes into place.
Here you can see a shot of the RH frame main rail and the new stainless steel brake and fuel pipes. The lines are all CNC bent for correct fit and we install them with all the proper hardware to assure long lasting systems, and ones that look good while lasting longer.
Next we will assemble the bulkhead, rear body and install the stainless steel ROX exhaust system, another longer lasting, better performing solution.
Now that the basic running gear of the BR is complete we can add the bodywork. Here you can see we have installed the rear body (called a tub) and we have installed all the NAS lighting to make it look correct for a 1997 NAS Defender. Not only have we made the light set up correct, we have also upgraded the rear lights to the ROX LED tail lights so that in the beach environment the sealed LEDs will do their job and not corrode or fail like the factory tail lights.
Now that we have installed the front bodywork we can start to install the exterior upgrades. To that end we have upgraded the front springs and installed a set of Bilstien shocks and dropped on a ROX front bumper/ skid plate that will later house the Warn 9000 winch and 3x Hella 4000 lights.
Now that the front body has been completed, and the rear tub is in place we can make all the needed adjustments and install the new T supports. Doing the line up is crucial to making the doors open and close correctly and to have good body lines. In this image you can also see we have modified and installed the rear safari cage section as well.
The seat box and supports have now been installed and all the vehicles controls have been hooked up, the brakes have been bled and all the fluids and filters changed so that when this "ex-D90" fires up as a "BR110" for the first time it will be ready to roll.
The name Beach Runner (BR) implies beach use, and we build the BR110s to be able to cope with beach sand and salt with everything from stainless lines to a galvanized frame, but we also take into account beach use, not just abuse that comes from the harsh beach environment. Here you can see that we have fabricated a drop box in the RH seat box to make room for the Oasis Air on board air system. This unit will fill up a tire just as fast as our huge shop compressor and fits nicely in the seat box. Having this system on board means that the BR110 can air down for sand driving and the quickly air back up without having to find a gas station with an air pump or rely on one of those cheesy small portable compressors.
Here you can see more panels being installed onto the BR110. The floor panels in this one have been Rhino-Lined so that the truck can be more "puke proof" for the beach and even get hosed out if too much sand gets in. Unlike other shops we see using bed liner products in their trucks, we coat each floor piece individually and then assemble them into the truck with all stainless steel hardware.
That way if future repairs are needed the floors can still be unbolted as they should be. If you spray the bed liner in after they are in place the floors are virtually locked in place and you weren't thinking ahead. The image above shows the front floor sections with bed liner installed. You can also see the battery cut off switch installed, as this BR110 will see periods of down time and nothing is worse than being ready to have some fun and finding out your Rover has a dead battery.
This image shows the rear tub complete and secured onto the frame with all stainless hardware and the rear step/tow bumper in place after having just been powder coated. You can also see the ROX stainless exhaust system going into place.
As the exhaust and wiring is all connected the remaining body panels are installed and the doors are made to open and close easily. At this stage it is really starting to look like a 110 instead of a 90. The middle safari cage sections have now been fabricated and test fit and the last custom part of the basic BR110 is to make the gutter kit that will hold the new Badger roll up side soft top in place. Then we will install the interior and make the interior upgrades like the new Alpine sound system and more.
This BR110 will have some additional features that BR110 #1 did not have. This one will have a the ability to carry more gear in a custom roof rack system. In the image above you can see we have fabricated a duplicate of the rear roof rack support for a soft top Defender 90. This set up can be utilized on the BR110 because it is loosely based on an NAS soft top. Once this rear support is installed we will fabricate the roof basket.
Here you can see the roof basket taking shape, it is smaller than the standard roof basket, but there are reasons for that. As BR110 #2 is already sold we have spoken with the vehicles owner at length to find out just how he plans to use the vehicle and just how we can tailor it to his needs. For this customer that means moving gear and people to and from the beach... coolers, surf boards, etc. etc.. So to make the 110 work the best for those needs we have split the roof section into 1/3s. The rear 1/3 will be a roof basket with easy access from the rear ladder for gear, and the front 2/3 will be set up with a Thule rack system for surf boards (or other gear that Thule makes mounts for).
This image shows a close up of the new 1/3 rear basket that details the factory style assembly of the basket. The fabrication and look of the basket once it is complete will be identical to the factory equipment, only it will be a custom length. We plan to manufacture these racks in the near future for Defender 90s as well, so check the web site for updates on those products.
Here you can see the rack system being mocked up. We always test these custom items before we spend the time to fabricate them to make sure they will meet the customers demands and to make sure they are user friendly.
The Thule system will allow the BR110 to carry 4 surfboards and a ton of gear in the roof basket, and with the Thule system you could change things around to carry bikes, snow boards or something else. A custom built vehicle at ECR is just that, "custom built". This assures that the Defender will do the jobs you need it to do, and that makes for a pleasant ownership experience. We've built dozens of custom Defenders and we can help set up any Defender to be the vehicle of your dreams.
Other small additions to BR110-2 are items like wing top guards and matching 5 bar diamond plate running boards. Now that the main body construction of the 110 is done, these items are added as the build up continues.
Here you can see the completed ROX front bumper and skid plate. It houses a Warn 9000 winch and 3 Hella 4000 lights. In this image you can also see that the new BFG wider tires have gone on for better beach driving ability. These tires combined with the ease of airing up and down with the on board air compressor will make beach driving a pleasure in this 110.
Now that the main body is assembled its time to send the BR110 off to Rhino-Lining so that the rear cargo area can be coated. Once that is done we can install all the rear seating and start on the subwoofer encloser.
While the 110 was at the Rhino-Liner down the street we sent out all the fabricated rack/ roof support system parts to powder coat. So when the bed liner was done, so was the powder coating so that we could jump back on the project and finish it up. The image above shows the roof system all freshly coated and installed. We put the boards on it to make sure everything works as it should as we fully test everything before the customer takes delivery.
Here you can see the 1/3 roof basket in place. Unlike the stock 110 and 90 baskets we added a simple floor to this one so that it is much easier to walk around on and secure your gear. Access to the roof basket is easy via the rear support bar and if need be the rack can be removed with just 4 stainless bolts.
Because we fabricate these items in house at ECR, it means we can make nice custom touches that other shops can't. On the new rear support bar we have added a bracket for the rear work/reverse lamp and added a wire run so that the wires are not seen or wire tied to the bar. The wires run inside the bar for a super clean look and no sharp wire ties to scuff you as you climb up and down accessing your roof top items.
This image shows a shot of the finished rack system. It will hold the boards and the gear that the customer needs to carry and looks factory while doing it. Imagine running this BR110 down to Baja on a surfing adventure. Woody wagon the ultimate surf wagon? We don't think so.
To keep the seats cooler and well protected we have added a full set of seat covers on all the seats. These not only look good, but they will protect the seats as well.
As things come together we can start to finalize the interior. All the floor mats have been installed. The doors have been layered with Dyna-Mat and the door panels have been installed. The image above shows the factory front door panel...
and this middle door panel is an ECR creation made to match the look of the front door panels. In these door images you will also see the stainless steel door tops and quick-nuts that allow for quick and easy removal or installation of the door tops. You can also see the new Alpine speakers installed under the factory speaker grills. Again, we are going for updated performance, but without looking like the local stereo hacks had a field day with the truck. The subtle approach, but with killer sound is our way.
Speaking of killer sound, here you can see the new sub box installed in the cargo area. It has two 8" Kicker subs driving by an Alpine amplifier for excellent sound for all types of music. The stainless steel speaker grills we fabricated will keep feet and other items from harming the speakers and they won't rust out in a week like a normal sub cover.
This image shows the stock 4.0 that has been fully serviced and made ready for the BR110. All the systems have been inspected and repaired as needed, and that wasn't much considering the donor D90 for this project had less than 30K miles.
Inside the BR110 things are wrapping up. The Alpine system and the iPod connection are in place, as is the XM radio system and the center console.
Here you can see the completed rear cargo area. The Rhino-Lining will mean long life, the sub box will offer great sound and we have even made some securing points for the Warn recovery gear bag and the customers First Aid kit (the red bags on the LH and RH side in the image). We also took care of all the needed beach permit requirements and made sure all those items are on board the 110 and held securely in place so that when the customer takes delivery they can get their beach driving permit with ease, instead of running around buying equipment for their new custom car. ECR is a full service custom shop, no matter what your Defender needs.
A few test miles later and a few more parts installed and we can now show you the completed BR110-2. The Rover will now be loaded on a transport truck and be headed to off for install of the custom soft top and then on to the 110s final destination of Cape Cod, MA. A galvanized frame, seating for 9, room for your beach gear, 4 wheel drive, easy to drive in all conditions on and off road, open air driving and a host of other goodies. We don't think it gets any better than this.
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 USA's premiere Defender source. The BR110 shown above proves that hands down.
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