Some think of it as the Out of Africa vehicle; others as the model of choice for the Australian Outback. We think of classic Land Rover Defenders as timeless treasures that are adept motoring over the peaks of the Colorado Rockies, cruising the sandy tracks of the Pine Barrens of Georgia or parked at the Maroon Creek Club in Aspen. Perhaps, you’ll imagine a pre-owned, resto-model finding a home on your ranch or range, as we did when we tested ACRUX (the Dark Maverick) and HERMES (the Vivid Virtuoso).
We recently evaluated these two restored classic Defenders created by artist Paul Potratz, of Helderburg Defenders, located in northern New York, near Mike Patten’s Woodlife Ranch, where our Land Report team has the good fortune each fall to sample some of America’s latest vehicles, newest products and clever gear designed to appeal to the lifestyle of the magazine’s readers–a collective of landowners and investors who enjoy the ‘good life’.
You could say that Potratz has these buyers in mind when he handcrafts these British icons. However, if you chat with him, you’ll quickly learn that he is a revered artist that speaks of art, luxury, and timeless elegance and not necessarily “buyers” for his restored marvels that typically take more than a year to craft. He’ll tell you the Acrux and Hermes Defender models aren’t just vehicles; “they are stories, legacies, and dreams realized in metal, leather, and unparalleled passion.” For him, these “works of art on wheels are more than a brand; they are a testament to passion, precision, and legacy–a nostalgic journey back to the rugged terrains.”
The heirloom investments benefit from over 3,000 hours for each build, as the goal is to balance classic aesthetics and modern functionality, with proprietary performance tuning and hand-made parts that include wooden steering wheels; hand-machined gauges, shifter knobs invite, and AC vents hand-milled from solid aluminum, exude elegance. Potratz’s sole aim is “to create the world’s best luxury Defender, never losing sight of its iconic and classic allure.”
Land Rover Defender Models
Acrux: The Dark Maverick
The exterior of Acrux is painted in an eloquent shade of Beluga Black and topped with a Corris Grey Roof, with hues that shimmer on the polished surfaces. Under the bonnet of the D110 is a Helderburg Performance Tuned 300 Tdi diesel turbo, paired to an automatic transmission. The opulent cabin is endowed with old-world charms, such as seats draped in saddle-colored leather, with diamond-patterned quilting, reminiscent of British craftsmanship, as are the solid aluminum gauges and shifter knob.
Priced at $288,940.
Hermes: The Vivid Virtuoso
Hermes strikes a pose in an orange hue with a mocha brown roof, is nothing short of a visual symphony. Power for this D110 comes from a performance-tuned 300 TDI Diesel Turbo engine backed by a six-speed automatic. Slipping inside, you’ll feel like you’re in a “Scottish dreamscrape” with thick Scottish leather beset by detailed handiwork. A 500-watt audio system adds ambience.
Priced at $311,844.
Helderburg strives to individualize its Defender builds that range from $245,000 for a two-door and up to $400,00 for a four-door; available are over 300 choices of leather and more than 120 exterior color options showcased on Helderburg.com (with hundreds more available upon request).
Explore Hermes and Acrux in action
Hermes – See the Video Here
Acrux – See the Video Here