- heritage customs valiance convertible brings a soft top to the land rover defender.
- the valiance convertible starts at a little more than $155,000 at current exchange rates, including the donor vehicle.
- the valiance convertible is based on the two-door defender 90.
with its retro looks, off-road hardware, and a notable heritage, the current land rover defender is a worthy foe to the likes of the jeep wrangler and ford bronco in just about every way save for one notable exception: its fixed roof. that's right: whereas jeep and ford let wrangler and bronco buyers drop (or remove) their suvs' tops, land rover forces defender buyers to make do with little more than an available power-operated glass sunroof or folding fabric roof.
although both bring some sunlight into the cabin, neither offers the wind-in-your-hair experience of removing (or folding) the roof back entirely. presumably, heritage customs viewed land rover's omission of a bona fide defender convertible as a business opportunity, as the custom coachbuilder plans to lop the top off of five defender 90s in 2022.
the result is a two-door land rover defender that bottles the open-air energy of its jeep and ford competition. dubbed the valiance convertible, heritage customs' soft-topped defender starts at a smidge more than $155,000 (at current exchange rates). this sum includes the cost of the approximately $74,000 defender 90 donor vehicle.
yet, heritage customs doesn't simply saw the top off land rover's two-door defender and call it a day, as it also adds a dollop of extra opulence by way of the valiance’s three available trims: côte d'azur, solihull sand, and kokkini paralia.
côte d'azur leans less on the defender's innate ability to rove all sorts of ranges and instead focuses on the cloth-topped valiance's inevitable life as a beach cruiser for the well-off (hence the trim's name). it certainly looks the part of a way for the wealthy to take in some ultraviolet rays while cruising the mediterranean coastal roads of the côte d'azur, or south beach, or manhattan beach, or . . . well, you get the idea.
credit the suv's big 22-inch wheels wrapped in whitewall tires. heritage customs complements the trim's throwback wheel and tire design with a coat of blue paint about the vehicle's body, a rich brown soft top, and copper exterior and interior trim pieces.
those who find the ritzy style of the valiance's côte d’azur trim a bit much may prefer the more classic decor of the suv's solihull sand trim. inspired by the first production land rover from 1948, the solihull sand kit brings a set of old-school-looking 20-inch wheels to the valiance, as well as a green exterior hue, gunmetal trim pieces, and a tan top.
finally, heritage customs offers the valiance in kokkini paralia trim. whereas the côte d'azur and solihull sand trims seem to crib their aesthetics from the past, the kokkini paralia embraces the present. modern-looking 22-inch wheels accompany the likes of a coat of red paint, a black soft top, and gunmetal exterior bits.
no doubt, the heritage customs valiance convertible is a rare and attractive machine. whether it's worth north of $150,000, however, is another question. arguably, the wrangler and bronco offer the same basic convertible vibe of the valiance at a much more affordable price point. then again, neither is particularly rare, nor do the jeep or ford badges offer the clout associated with the land rover one.
unless land rover formally produces a defender convertible of its own, the heritage customs valiance is arguably one of the best options for those with the means and desire to own a defender without a roof. the rest of us in search of an open-topped off-road suv will just have to settle on a wrangler or bronco. either that, or we start writing letters to land rover begging it to mass-produce a sub-six-figure drop-top defender.