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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  • ToolGuy I agree with everyone here. Of course there are exceptions to what I just said, don't take everything so literally. The important thing is that I weighed in with my opinion, which is helping to move things forward. I believe we can all agree that I make an important contribution (some will differ, that is their prerogative). A stitch in time saves nine. Life isn't fair, you know. I have more to say but will continue at our next meeting. You can count on that, for I am a man of my word. We will make it happen. There might be challenges. I mean, it is what it is. This too shall pass. All we can do is all we can do. These meetings are never really long enough for me to completely express all the greatness within me, are they? Let's meet to discuss. All in a day's work. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. At the end of the day, I must say I agree with you. I think you will agree. When all is said and done, there is more said than done. But of course that is just one man's opinion. You are free to disagree. As I like to say...(I am working on my middle management skills -- how am I doing?)
  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.
  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
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