The Land Rover Defender stacks up neatly against the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco, save for the lack of a convertible top. Yes, you can order a new Defender with a folding roof, but it takes the place of the power sunroof occupying just a portion of the fixed-in-place hard top. The folks at Heritage Design decided that wasn't good enough, so they created the Valiance Convertible.
In short, it's a Defender 90 with a full fabric roof that folds back to let the fresh air and sunshine pour through. Of course, it's not as simple as cutting the top off the iconic off-roader. A full roll cage is added for strength and safety, meeting FIA standards. The fabric roof is hand-stitched and installed as a power-folding top. The Defender's B-pillar is retained in the process, requiring considerable fabrication for fixed portions of the roof where the top rests along the doors and windshield.
Gallery: Heritage Customs Valiance Land Rover Defender Convertible
In becoming the Valiance Convertible, Heritage Designs also adds a plethora of custom treatments. Naturally there are upgraded wheels and tires to choose from, and the company offers a range of interior trim options including full leather upholstery. Upgraded sport seats are optional, and there's also the neat Magic Metal pack from Heritage Designs that allows any surface to be painted with a metal-like finish. Special badging identifies this open-top Defender as something special.
For those who want to go deeper into customization, the company will happily accommodate a wide range of colors for the exterior, interior, and top. To offer some inspiration, Heritage Designs created three Valiance trims with distinctive touches. Cote d’Azur features a striking blue exterior combined with a tan top and 22-inch Space Cowboy wheels; Kokkini Paralia goes for a matte red finish with black trim and 22-inch Supersonic wheels, and Solihull Sand is an homage to the first Land Rover from 1948 with a green exterior, tan top, and 20-inch wheels.
"The Heritage Customs Valiance Convertible is the ultimate expression of our customers," said Jan-Pieter Kroezen, co-owner of Heritage Customs. "Based on the sketches, a number of our very loyal customers have immediately purchased their coachbuilt Valiance. These customers have tailored their ultra limited, handcrafted Defender with the power-operated soft-top, Magic Metal elements, and a beautifully handcrafted interior exactly to their wishes."
The Valiance Convertible is built-to-order, meaning Heritage Designs doesn't keep any vehicles in stock. Pricing for the conversion starts at €82,500, which currently translates to approximately $90,400.