Off-Roading

Land Rover utilizing Red Cross all-terrain experts for Defender testing

Land Rover enlisted the help of the Red Cross to test the 2020 Land Rover Defender.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

The Defender is coming back. Long a poorly kept secret, Land Rover gave enthusiasts a peek at the vehicle's development before the Land Rover Defender makes its way onto dealer lots.

The setting is Dubai and the drivers are members of the elite all-terrain experts from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Surrounded by sand dunes and the twisty tarmac of Jebel Jais highway, Dubai is a playground for off-road enthusiasts who also want to check out their vehicle's on-road prowess.

That's exactly what the IFRC drivers did.

2020 Land Rover Defender

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Land Rover worked with IFRC drivers as a part of Defender development.

IFRC fleet drivers piloted the 4x4s over soft sand dunes, climbing steep ascents, pitching down side slopes, and conquering blind crests. This is similar testing to what was conducted by Rolls-Royce during development of their SUV, the Cullinan.

As temperatures climbed over 100 degrees, the drivers took to the 12 miles of hairpin turns of the Jebel Jais highway climbing to over 6,500-feet of elevation up to the top of Jebel Yibir mountain, the tallest point in the United Arab Emirates.

The new Defender has already undergone over 745,000 miles of testing as part of its development.

Land Rover debuted the 2020 Land Rover Defender at the Frankfurt Auto Show earlier this year.

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Heritage Customs offers a bespoke take on the vintage Land Rover Defender.

Photo courtesy of Heritage Customs

The Land Rover Defender's body style is iconic. The most desirable boxy, utilitarian Defenders are two generations old, right before the Defender mutated into a model that looked like an old version bred with a London's black cab. It's these models that create the basis for the new Heritage Customs handcrafted luxury take on the Defender, called the Vintage.

Heritage Customs was co-founded by car designer Niels van Roij, who recently described the customization process:

"This likeable Dutch Vintage commission features a rich, soft green metallic paint. It feels right at home next to the Heather flowers in the forest as well as on the pebble stones next to the patron's striking monumental villa. For this Heritage Customs Vintage we selected our bespoke milled aluminium side- and bonnet vents whilst non-automotive tan Nubuck leather was applied to trim the seats, dashboard as well as rear benches."

Heritage Customs Vintage: Exterior

Photo courtesy of of Heritage Customs

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Each auto has a teak wooden cargo floor with white rubber inlays, There's a Marshall speaker integrated into the cubby box. A hand-stitched tan canvas hood complements the interior color scheme while a wooden steering wheel replaces the traditional standard plastic unit. The SUV's center stack has been color-coded to the body and has metal switchgear on its fascia.

Distinctive aluminum details and color-coded extra wide steel wheels create a hardier looking luxury SUV in the example shown. A section of Heritage Customs-specific wheels are available.

Heritage Customs Vintage: Interior

Photo courtesy of of Heritage Customs

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Customers are also able to select the bumper design of their choosing, whether it's a simple, clean unit or one of the custom made bumpers and side steps that Heritage Customs Vintage offers.

LED lights on all four corners complete the package.

The price of a Heritage Customs Vintage SUV start at €40,000, excluding taxes, depending on the preferred base vehicle and individual customer requirements. All Heritage Customs projects are 100-percent tailor-made and start out with sketches, based on conversations with the future owners.

The design and construction process takes about 1.5 months. Watch the video below to see how the undertaking occurs.

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