Custom Land Rover

What we do and how it all began

Here at the Ministry of Defender we are on a mission: To build our clients the most incredible Defender 90s and 110s that uphold the true spirit of the original Land Rovers whilst incorporating creative design elements that make them more relevant to the modern driver. Our ‘Fusion’ models are a realistic alternative for anyone looking for a stylish, reliable family vehicle with excellent residual values. Each vehicle is hand build in Lincoln, where we are driven by three main considerations: Simplicity (in terms of enhanced mechanical reliability) Creativity (In terms of interior and exterior design) and Practicality (in terms of ease of use, comfort and price).

The Ministry of Defender business is the brainchild of Jonathan Bowman. A farmer’s son from Yorkshire who was brought up in a family of hard workers with honest, down-to-earth values. ‘One of my earliest memories is of my dad driving through one of our fields in a Series 2 Land Rover with me sat on the bonnet’ recalls Jonathan who, because of his farming background, has maintained a love of all things ‘real’. Jonathan describes ‘real’ as being anything that you can physically touch and be creative with. ‘Growing up on a farm means that you learn to deal with new challenges almost on a daily basis. When the combine’s broken but the forecast is heavy rain, then you find a way to get going again by whatever means possible. You’re in a world where you have to look at something, not as what it is, but of what it is capable of’.

Custom Land Rover

Being creative with ‘field repairs’ gave Jonathan the ability to look beyond a problem and come up with creative solutions from an early age. Later, with an understanding of artistic application and a degree in marketing behind him, that creativity became more focussed on automotive design, with the Land Rover Defender seen as the ideal blank canvas.

‘I remember about fifteen years ago looking at Mercedes G-Wagons and how they were being customised and modernised to suit individual buyers and thinking that the Defender could easily go the same way’, recalls Jonathan. Many years later that vision proved to be correct with a number of design houses such as Kahn, Overland and Bespoke coming up with their own take on the ‘Luxury Defender’ concept, but in an altogether more expensive way than Jonathan had imagined.

As the Mercedes G-Wagon is regarded as a fairly high class purchase anyway, adding a few thousand pounds on top for upgrades seemed perfectly acceptable to Jonathan. However, when it came to the Defender, it didn’t seem right. ‘The Defender has always been classless and has traditionally commanded a much smaller price tag. It’s a car of the people, driven by everyone from all walks of life, so to suddenly find these special edition Land Rovers priced alongside Bentleys and Porsches seemed totally bizarre. My view is that the Defender is a trusted work-horse that has become tired and in need of some attention, but it’s never going to be a show-pony, so shouldn’t be treated like one’. One of our core values is that we must build our updated Defenders so that are realistically priced, which is in-keeping with what the original Land Rover was always intended to be.

With the full ‘Fusion’ 90 upgrade conversion coming in at under £15,000 we are demonstrating that it is possible to have a truly unique, bespoke Defender that turns heads, looks amazing and is exhilarating to drive without it costing the earth. It brings the traditional Land Rover back to the traditional buyer, and we think that is something to be proud about.