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Trophy tag

Sourcing & Importing

The Land Rover Defender style we build is not manufactured in the US and was only imported as a North American Specification (NAS) vehicle from 1993 (505 D110’s) and 1994-97 (~6000 D90’s)  We source our donor trucks from Europe. Import rules require that our Land Rover Defender be at least 25 years old. As a result most of our Trucks have a born date in the 1990’s. 

The sourcing of these cars starts with a network of finders. For us this network is primarily in the UK, Spain and Turkey. Each location has its advantages: 

The Uk - where the main MFG plant (Salihol) is located, has the quantity but the vehicles are rusty and Right Hand Drive(RHD) and many have been fixed up but the core is rotten. 

Southern Spain - is our favorite destination with a dry climate with limited road salt, Left Hand Drive(LHD) which is what we build. So far ideal but many of the trucks were used on farms or heavily used daily drivers so they’re typically banged up and supply is limited so the donor price is high. 

Turkey - is a great resource as many government vehicles were land rovers and crew cabs. The climate is right and it’s close to other resources we use for MFG parts, some assembly and upholstery services. 

The import process involves purchasing the car in local currency, checking the legal papers/log book for authenticity and then having it transported to a certified broker with stowage at a major port in each country. 

stamped documents of trasportation
Classic Defender donors at transportation

Loading into a container (or in some case Roll on Roll off-RORO). The vehicle travels on a ship for ~3 weeks and is received in NYC/Newark NJ where brokers again handle the import charges, duty, tax and VIN verification. Then the port union moves the car to a warehouse where the vehicle is removed from its container and then the vehicle is delivered to our shop in CT. 

Classic Defender donors at transportation
Classic Defender donors at transportation
classic land rover defender donor

The sourcing process takes 4-6 months and 1000’s of dollars in fees. At this point we now have a legal ‘Gray Market’ Defender in the United States. 

donors at the shop

Now with the Defender in our hands we can organize the paperwork and take the vehicle to CT DMV for it VIN verification and Safety check. Once it passes (also a rigorous process) we have a Defender ready to be sold as a Trophy model to you. 


Note: CA emissions requires additional work be done before our Defender can be registered in this state. The additional parts and labor is ~20k. 

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