Off With His Head: Heritage Customs Shows an Open-Top Defender

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

It’s an open secret that most of us here are fans of the new Defender. Comfortable, capable, and shod with boxy good looks, the off-roader checks many boxes on our list – except one: Wrangler- or Bronco-style open-air wheeling.

A custom shop in The Netherlands has changed that with a new creation called the Valiance.

Obviously based on the 2-door Defender 90, the Valiance concept features bespoke wheels, special paints, and unique exterior details – not the least of which is ditching the metal roof in favor of something a bit more comfortable. Far from a backyard Sawzall job, this conversion involves a semi-electric soft top, roll cage which conforms to FIA standards, snazzy new wheels, different upholstery (water resistant, perhaps), and the expected scattershot blast of badges and emblems.

The work is done in stages, starting with disassembly of the donor car and taking a host of measurements. Cutting into the Defender and adding reinforcements is the next step, prior to building any required metal work and the top itself. That’s all followed by paint and upholstery prior to running the thing through a battery of tests before delivery. 

This convertible roof is opened electrically by the switch of a button, after manually releasing the latches, explaining the “semi” part of its description. Heritage Customs holds no stock of Valiance Convertibles on site since each conversion is designed specifically to customer wishes and requests. Depending on spec, it can take upwards of 3 months to create one of these machines. We’ll argue the lump of gathered roof material at the back of this car when its top is lowered isn’t the most elegant of styles, but that’s the price of exclusivity. Besides, if it was good enough for some other cabrios in history, it’s good enough for the Valiance.

Price? Depends on yer tastes. According to Heritage Customs, prices are based on “indicative estimates and personal wishlist”, suggesting buyers are free to add custom touches beyond the decapitation. However, they do suggest that a convertible conversion could cost approximately 85,000 Euros plus tax, or roughly 93 grand in Freedom Bucks. In other words, if you ever see one on this side of the pond, a six-figure price tag is all but assured.

[Images: Heritage Customs]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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