If you are in the market for a rugged SUV, you probably think the Land Rover Defender is off-limits. Land Rover’s iconic design has been found all over the world, but they have been banned for purchase here for several years. The government bans importing foreign-market cars until they are 25 years old. We don’t want you to feel like age is creeping up on you, but the 1991 Land Rover Defender is now legal to drive in the US.
The process to federalize them is still complicated, so Fusion Motor Company stepped up to the challenge. Based in Chatsworth, California, they are the same team that builds and owns the rights for the Eleanor Mustang, Their ISO-level facility looks more like a 75,000 square-foot clean room than an assembly line. And that is because each build is done by hand. The Defender was in continuous production for decades, so this caused some of the molds and tooling to loosen up over time. Fusion takes each donor down to its shell to address issues like panel gaps and insulation.
The press release also says many hinges and moving parts are now machined billet instead of cast metal. Premium leather and a 1,000-watt Pioneer system are complemented by piano-black trim. In its original form, the Defender 110 would have been powered by the Rover 3.9 liter V8. What began life as the Buick 215 was used by Rover until 2004. The problem lies in meeting modern emissions laws. So Fusion has turned to the 50-state legal Chevrolet LS3 V8. The 6.2 liter is rated at 430 horsepower and was found in Corvettes from 2008 to 2013, and it comes mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The full-time LT230 transfer case is left in its original location, but buyers can opt for an Atlas case if desired. Other goodies include 285/65/18 Nitto Ridge Grappler tires, Fox Racing suspension and LED projector headlights. I had a chance to drive the prototype at last year’s Orange County auto show, and it is flawless. Click the link below to view their impressive inventory, and stay with us for more masterpieces from Fusion Motor Company.