John Craddock Ltd Magazine (April 2021)
If you’ve been dreaming of buying a Land Rover Defender and lovingly restoring it to its former glory, we’re here to help. Throughout our years of experience, we’ve seen more than a few restoration projects left to founder due to difficulty in sourcing the right parts, but we’re on a mission to change that and make it easier and quicker for Land Rover owners to find what they need to achieve their dreams.
Tips For Restoring A Land Rover Defender
In this article, we’ll look at our top tips for restoring an old Land Rover Defender based on our experiences with our own vehicles and those of our customers.
Do Your Homework
One of the main reasons why many classic car restoration projects fail is time. Many people underestimate just how much time it will take to achieve their dream of a fully restored Defender. Of course, timescales will depend on how much free time you have and the state of the original vehicle when you acquire it. However, it’s safe to say it will probably take a lot longer than you originally thought. With this in mind, do your homework. There are lots of forums and groups online dedicated to these types of projects, so get stuck in and ask lots of questions. This will help you get an idea of how much time it will take, how much it will cost and the kind of issues you may have to look out for.
Find The Right Defender
Finding the right Defender for your restoration project will most definitely be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. What you are really looking for is a car that can be restored to a high standard without breaking the bank. Again, the best way to navigate this part of the process is to read around and ask questions to avoid investing in a money pit.
While there are lots of places to go online to buy a Land Rover Defender to fix up, we would recommend where possible to see the vehicle in person before you buy. Lots of defects and problems can be hidden in photographs! We recommend buying a Defender that is free from any major damage and rust. Structural problems are much harder to fix than simply replacing parts and accessories.
Mark Your Territory
As well as finding the perfect vehicle, you should also ensure you have the best space to work on your new project. It goes without saying that this space should be large enough to accommodate your vehicle, you and your tools, with enough space to move around safely. We’d also recommend finding a space that offers shelter for your vehicle when working with it. Leaving it outside, you could end up fixing more problems caused by the elements rather than making solid progress, which is expensive, time consuming and frustrating.
Do Your Own Thing
In our experience, there tends to be two types of classic car restoration personalities. One type prefers to restore vehicles to their original condition, exactly as they were when they rolled off the production line. The other type loves nothing more than adding their own personality to a project.
Here at John Craddock, we say do your own thing. Everyone you come across in your project will have an opinion of what you should do or how you should do it, but at the end of the day it’s your time, your money and your Defender, therefore the best advice we can give is to do whatever you please and don’t be afraid to backtrack if something isn’t working for you!
Ask For Help
Our last, but most important, tip is to ask for help if you need it. We respect and admire anyone who takes on a Defender restoration project, but no man (or woman) is an island. There may be some elements of your project which require the input of a professional, such as metalwork or welding. If you’re not confident in doing these things yourself, or don’t have the time to learn, there is no shame in outsourcing the work. What’s key is that you take pleasure from the things you can do and seek help when you need it. This is key to a successful classic vehicle restoration.
Restoring a Defender, or any other classic vehicle, should be fun. It won’t always be easy, and sometimes it will be frustrating, but there are a wide range of places to go to seek help, whether that be online or offline. We are proud to be the largest Land Rover supplier with over 40 years’ experience in the game. Our team is made up of Land Rover enthusiasts of all types, and we’re on hand to help you find the right Land Rover parts and accessories for your restoration project. Contact us today for more information.