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Land Rover Defender 90 Project: Clear Bra, Paint Coatings, Paint Correction

by

We had the pleasure of working on one of my favorite vehicles–the legendary and iconic Land Rover Defender. This vehicle just screams “I will conquer any terrain, get out of my way”.  It is just awesome.

This vehicle was purchased in Florida where it was restored by East Coast Defender, a company who specializes in restoring and beautifying these amazing machines. When it arrived at our facility, we started out by giving it an initial visual inspection. At this point we began our planning process for one of the largest projects we had ever undertaken. This project would include extensive dismantling, parts cataloging, paint correction, clear bra, Modesta coatings and window film. It was a project that we would work on over the course of three weeks with a total of about 120 hours into it.

From our initial assessment of the vehicle, we determined that the paintwork was on the thin side, had major hazing and heavy scratching and required a multi-stage paint correction process to extract the kind of gloss the client wanted for his new vehicle. Basically, this Defender was going to be a driver, but the client wanted to it be the best-looking and most well protected driver out there. That was our mission–beautify and protect.

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

This project was broken up into four large categories: Dismantle, Paint Correction, Clear Bra, Coatings.

We started category one by removing the wide fender flares. We did this to give us greater access while polishing but also to hide the seams of the clear bra during installation.

All emblems, roof rails, lights, black plastic trim was removed to allow us to correct the paint as close to the edges as possible. We then cataloged the entire disassembly, creating tags for each specific piece.

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

We were shooting for 85%-95% defect removal on this one, but safe polishing was of the highest priority with this custom paint job. Paint measurements were taken along the way as we compounded and then refined the finish. Although we used a variety of polishes and pads, Meguiars M205 on a Rupes Yellow Pad did a great job of removing the heavy defects while Menzerna 85RD on a Lake Country Black Pad produced the clarity we were looking for.

Since this vehicle had so many intricate painted pieces to it, we ended up using the entire Rupes DA polishing lineup, Rupes 21LHR, Rupes Mini, and the Rupes iBrid Nano.

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

Once the paint correction steps were complete, it was time to rewash the vehicle and steam out all the body seams in order to prepare for the clear bra wrap. Let’s just say this vehicle had plenty of seams. Once the finish was free of polishing residue, we wiped the delicate paintwork down with Gyeon Prep.

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

Now it time for the fun part: wrapping a 25 year old vehicle to the same standards as a modern car installation. We custom cut each panel to wrap wherever possible and to ensure maximum coverage and great aesthetics. This was where all the dismantling prep work was really going to pay off.

Since we removed so many trim and body panels, many film edges were going to be hidden, creating a near seamless installation.

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

With the clear bra installed and inspected with Scangrip LEDs, we turned our attention over to the Modesta Glass Coating installation. The paint would receive a combination of Modesta BC-04 topped with BC-08 to create a truly brilliant finish, worthy of this canvas.

BC-04 is a super thick, wet-applied coating that produces jaw-dropping gloss on dark finishes. BC-08 was really just our attempt to go for even more gloss, and it’s safe to say it turned out pretty darn shiny.

Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project

BC-04 being applied with a Detailed Image microfiber applicator pad.

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

After each layer of coating, we baked each panel with our Infratech IR cure lamp to accelerate the curing process and bring out its highest level of gloss. The wheels were also treated to a unique combination of Modesta BC-09 High Temperature Wheel Coating finished with a layer of BC-08.

Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project

Inspection time with our Scangrip LED light and a brand new microfiber towel.

Land Rover Defender 90 Project

Time for the beauty shots! This is what it was all for.

Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project
Land Rover Defender 90 Project

All in all, this project was one of our largest but also one of our most rewarding. To take a 25 year old vehicle which had some aesthetic issues and transform it back to its former glory–Well that’s a fun work week in our book. We hope you enjoyed!

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James Melfi
James Melfi
AutoNuvo
Holliston, MA
AutoNuvo.com
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8 comments on Land Rover Defender 90 Project: Clear Bra, Paint Coatings, Paint Correction

  1. Steve K says:

    Thank you for sharing, James. That was a lot of work meticulously completed. One of my favorite vehicles. I regret not buying one when I had the chance.

  2. Greg @ DI Greg Pautler says:

    Wow that is a lot of work and the results look amazing! So glad you shared that with everyone, it was fun to see!

  3. Jean-Claude Corcoran Jean-Claude Corcoran says:

    STUN
    ING

    /jaw on the floor

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