Like every other member of the Land Rover lineup, the second-generation Defender is extremely popular with aftermarket tuners. Dutch firm Niels van Roij jumped on the bandwagon by announcing a customization program that puts the customer front and center. Commissioning a one-off Defender is not cheap, however.
Niels van Roij isn't new to the world of aftermarket Land Rover models; it announced a two-door Range Rover in March 2019. For the Defender, it chose to focus on colors and materials. Working directly with customers, it reinvents the SUV's design and personality without drastically altering its shapes. For example, one client asked for a Defender with an interior inspired by the Caribbean island he met his wife on. Another requested the exact same paint color worn by the classic Defender in his collection. Neither has been built yet, however.
The list of available materials includes several different types of leather upholstery, denims, aluminum, teak wood, and copper, which Land Rover also puts on some of its cars. Finished in gray and black, the first Niels van Roij Defender receives solid aluminum air vents integrated into the fenders and milled protective plates that replace the plastic units Land Rover installs on the hood. It rides on 20-inch wheels, though 22-inch units are also available. It's relatively subtle compared to some of the other commissions described by the designer.
Pricing for the custom-built Defender (which Niels van Roij calls the Valiance, part of its Heritage Customs line) starts at 90,000 euros, a sum that represents approximately $106,600 at the current conversion rate. It varies depending on the donor vehicle (Land Rover offers short- and long-wheelbase variants of the Defender, for example) and the options chosen. Buyers should plan on waiting at a least a month and a half before they receive their one-of-a-kind off-roader.
New modified Defenders appear on a surprisingly regular basis. Polish tuner Carlex Design took the SUV to the next level in late 2020 when it unveiled a build called Racing Green that received a wide-body kit, a large serving of carbon fiber accents, cognac upholstery, and, of course, dark green paint. It's priced at about $103,000.