We think it’s safe to say that we’ve established that LS swapping virtually any car instantly makes it better. OK, even we admit that there are a few cars out there that deserve to keep their stock powertrain, but those cars are few and far between. But one vehicle we’ve really never given any thought to LS swapping is the Land Rover Defender—until now that is.
This particular LS-swapped Defender has been designated the Honey Badger. Why? Because Honey Badger don’t give a shit (if you don’t get it, Google it). Now, some might still call this swap blasphemous, as the legendary Defender recently ceased production due to new European crash regulations put in place in 2015 which spelled the demise of the 30+-year-old design—though they haven’t been sold here in the states since 1998.
While some may still feel that an LS swap in a Defender is sacrilege, we definitely don’t, and neither do the guys over at East Coast Defender—the guys responsible for Project Honey Badger. They wasted no time in spotting one of the Defender’s greatest weakness, the engine. It was replaced with a 430 horsepower LS3 backed by a T56 six-speed manual transmission which allows this thing to blast to 60 mph in under six seconds. Compare that to its previous 0-60 time of eventually, and you’ll see what a great choice in powertrain this really was.
And East Coast Defender didn’t just stop at the engine and transmission either. All of the lighting on the Land Rover has been upgraded to LEDs and a Zunsport front grille was utilized to give the truck a much more aggressive look. They even went as far to include a back up camera that pairs with the Kenwood radio to give the driver an idea of what they might be backing over.
18-inch wheels shod in BF Goodrich All Terain K02 tires were used to finish off the Defender’s exterior look and give it a nice aggressive bite on the trail. And speaking of the trail, East Coast Defender also upgraded the transfer case and installed limited slip carriers in both the front and rear differentials. A 3-inch Borla exhaust provides a little more bark for the newly found bite.
The treatment continues on the interior where they’ve ditched the stock seats in favor of a set of heated Corbeau racing seats wrapped in quilted white ivory leather that features black accent stitching. The design carries over to the rear jump seats, which are one of our favorite features of the entire thing. Classic Instrument gauges keep tabs on the Defender’s vital signs while a Momo steering wheel and a Kenwood radio, compatible with Apple Play and Android Auto, finish off the interior accouterments.
The exterior has been treated to a coat of Dunkel Olive, a color Porsche typically uses on its 911s. While it looks almost black under the overcast sky in the video, the color radiates green when touched by the sun. While we’re not huge fans of many imports, we must admit that this Defender would make for one sweet trail rig—though we’re not sure how much actually off-road time this thing will actually see. This is one import we might actual be willingly seen in.