Call Rovalution and ask them for a quote - They do indeed perform excellent work at reasonable pricing, and the strong exchange rate should help a bit with labour costs. Parts are bought and shipped by the GBP - thus the weak CAD will likely mean a wash on parts pricing, and shipping to the West Coast is just more than the East Coast regardless of country.
Our initial estimate is based on experience with the significant amount of parts needed to do these projects correctly, the many possible problems that can occur, and that we are not willing to use substandard parts in critical applications. We had one client with a tight budget and timeline where the result was work below our capabilities, outside his expectations, and over budget to the point of us spending several thousand dollars for the privilege of disappointing a customer. This is a project I regret taking, and an experience I can't afford to repeat. As a result we do our best to provide accurate time and cost estimates that are not sugar-coated.
The parts costs for a rebuilt motor and ancillaries can easily reach $10k-$12K depending on the starting point and desired result, add onto that the cost of a chassis, and potentially hundreds of labour hours; you can see where the costs begin to add up. Our labor rates are competitive with most focused independent service shops, though I would prefer not to build a truck for you, but to build one with you.
My suggestion is to do it yourself - we can help with the heavy lifting, or knowledge intensive portions of the project. My preference is the Owner Managed Project work - where we can provide workspace, tools, and knowledge to support, train, and encourage an individual to take ownership of their restoration. The understanding and connection with a vehicle you build yourself can not be matched with one bought already done. A Defender is not a difficult vehicle on which to do your own work, and having someone help with the planning and procedures keeps the project moving. What you need to decide is how much you value your time into the project. If you don't have the time, or don't enjoy the process, then you can pay folks to do the work for you at the rate at which they value their own time.
We are booked currently through March 2016 at this time, with projects that are both contract labor or owner managed, and are happy to supply parts for your project should you decide to do it yourself.
Originally Posted by Red90
If you want cheap, do it yourself. It is the only way. Paying any mechanic to do a huge, labour intensive job is crazy and expensive.
The problem with your comparison is that the devil is in the details. Understanding how much is put into those details requires a LOT of in depth knowledge and investigation.
This is the crux of the matter, and an accurate reflection of the challenges. Lots of big parts with lots of hours involved make something like an engine upgrade, or chassis replacement on an imported vehicle a potentially expensive proposition.