Millions of Defender owners trust their cars to truly ‘go anywhere’. But this rejuvenated short wheel-base from Finland is simply too good- looking to roam the rugged terrain of Planet Earth. Or is it? Owner and restorer Marko Edfelt tells us how this special project came about.
In February 2016, the Land Rover Defender had finally gone to the great garage in the sky. It was a sad day for many Landy enthusiasts around the world. But this hasn’t stopped the aftermarket tuning scene and restoration aficionados from converting these classic (and legendary) vehicles into performance beasts.
After some Internet scrounging and aggressive googling, we came across this spectacular-looking Defender 90 Pick-Up that was completely overhauled by 46-year old Marko Edfelt, an advertising executive and vehicle restoration enthusiast from Turku, Finland.
For many years, Marko has been involved with local Finnish company, Ove’s Classic Garage, a business that specialises in the restoration of various iconic vehicles. “Rebuilding cars has always been a hobby of mine. I have rebuilt Jeep Wranglers and Porsche 911s. However, I have always had a soft spot for the Defender,” he says.
Marko explains he acquired this Defender Pick-Up in 2016 and began the rebuilding process almost immediately. “The previous owner was an old farmer from Sweden,” he recalls. “It was used mostly for ‘light work’ around the farm, so the vehicle was still in a relatively good condition and a good project to start on.”
Top of the priority list for Marko was to dismantle this short wheel-base Defender and figure out what parts needs to be replaced or restored. “Most of the new parts are from the last edition Defender or from Twisted Automotive,” he said. Land Rover restoration specialists, Twisted Automotive is exclusively dedicated to the re-engineering of Land Rover vehicles to help enhance its legendary status.
Next up, Marko gave the Defender a new paint job using original colours from Land Rovers (Corris Grey Metallic and Santorini Black Metallic). “Inside, we reupholstered the seats and updated the audio system and steering wheel. We did a meticulous overhaul of the engine to make sure it’s technically in good shape. We also updated the brakes, both discs and pads,” he adds.
Marko says that the Defender came stock standard and that his modifications were more visual than technical. “Except for the wheels. I fitted 18-inch wheels and, of course, this is the biggest change for standard.”
We asked him why he thinks the Defender is such a special vehicle. “Nowadays, cars are proving to be somewhat ‘boring’. If you remove the badge from the hood, the car could be almost any brand out there. But older cars, like the Defender, have their own style, which makes it unique compared to other vehicles out there.”
‘Defe’ — as Marko likes to refer to his Landy – is currently his daily drive. However, he has been talking and planning with other Defender owners to organise snow safari excursions to various parts of the region by 2018.
“My plan is to keep it. I’m already looking for a new project vehicle, a Defender 110 Double-Cab Pick-Up, to build something similar to the Defenders that recently featured in the James Bond 007 Spectre movie. I’m also looking to add a Chevrolet Corvette (V8) LS3 engine to the vehicle.”