A Defender for the Uplands

A Defender for the Uplands | Shooting Sportsman Magazine

Meet Elizabeth. Yes, as the color and make hint, “she” is named in honor of Britain’s queen. The Land Rover Defender, upon which Elizabeth is based, and the Monarch have enjoyed almost equally long reigns, and both could be called classics. But this Elizabeth was disassembled and rebuilt from the gravel up.

Elizabeth is the work of Paul Potratz and his team at Helderburg, LLC. Many of the team members are in England and formerly worked at the Land Rover factory, in Solihull; the rest are in upstate New York, in Sharon Springs. Together they convert vintage left-hand-drive Defenders into modern luxury 4x4s. Elizabeth is a prime example: Her 2.5-liter turbodiesel Four and gearbox, clutch, differentials, suspension, brakes and steering were completely reworked or replaced; her doors, roof and other panels were restored, insulated and sealed; and her cabin got the Buckingham Palace treatment with Wilton carpeting and diamond-stitched Scottish leather.

The four custom-built seats are heated and widely adjustable. The 1,800-watt audio system was hand-built. There’s a furniture-grade gun cabinet. There’s also a four-person pop-up roof tent and a pressurized shower (both heated), a 270-degree awning, a refrigerator and a coffee maker. To power everything, Elizabeth has heavy-duty batteries fed by solar panels.

Land Rover built this particular Defender in 1995, painted it orange and shipped it to Poland’s Department of Corrections. In 2020 it became Helderburg’s Upland Hunting, Fly Fishing & Overlanding Vehicle. The build took nearly 3,000 hours and sold for $267,420.

To see Elizabeth and other wonderful toys, visit helderburg.com.


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