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  #101  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 12:26 PM
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Dave
1989 110SW 1 of 2,000,000
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Let's see what Brandon hears from the builder. A confiscated truck would pretty much kill their business and I'm sure they are well aware of this. Speculation doesn't answer anything, let's see what they say.
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  #102  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 01:09 PM
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Brandon Gough
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Lots of emotions stirred up here. This is the last I'll say as I was simply stating my experience with Tophat. Carel told me of my defender gets "crushed" or whatever term you choose he'll refund me. I'll keep you posted on my process with Tophat which was the intent of my original post. Thanks guys. More info when I get back from Amsterdam in a couple of weeks.
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  #103  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 01:13 PM
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Frank Rafka
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No emotions, just reality…

Most here have very good intentions and are just trying to help you understand what the reality is and not coming from the guy whose making 30 or 40k on a sale. Of course he'll tell you that you'll get a refund if it doesn't clear customs (would like to see that in writing), but why waste the time and money on something that has been proven time and time again to be a pipe dream.

Obviously you're not concerned so good luck
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  #104  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 01:18 PM
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john
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZDefender110 View Post
Lots of emotions stirred up here. This is the last I'll say as I was simply stating my experience with Tophat. Carel told me of my defender gets "crushed" or whatever term you choose he'll refund me. I'll keep you posted on my process with Tophat which was the intent of my original post. Thanks guys. More info when I get back from Amsterdam in a couple of weeks.
Better yet tell him youll pay him AFTER it clears customs.
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  #105  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 01:24 PM
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Brandon Gough
1989 Defender 110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mongosd2 View Post
No emotions, just reality…

Most here have very good intentions and are just trying to help you understand what the reality is and not coming from the guy whose making 30 or 40k on a sale. Of course he'll tell you that you'll get a refund if it doesn't clear customs (would like to see that in writing), but why waste the time and money on something that has been proven time and time again to be a pipe dream.

Obviously you're not concerned so good luck
You are mistaken. I'm very concerned. I did about 5 months of research before I put my down payment. I appreciate your information and I hope everything works out like I envision. If not then I'm definitely worthy of criticism, insults, and most likely a divorce😁
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  #106  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 01:31 PM
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Frank Rafka
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Hmm, ok…seems your being very naive about the reality of what your trying to do. Every possible combination has been a tried on getting in vehicles that exceed the basic guidelines. Why fuck with it when it's spelled out in black and white that what they are doing is not going to clear customs if the work is done across the pond…

So, good luck

If your ever in Tucson, drop me a Pm and I'll buy ya beer…and show you a couple different examples of legal imports
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  #107  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 01:31 PM
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Jason Crandall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZDefender110 View Post
You are mistaken. I'm very concerned. I did about 5 months of research before I put my down payment. I appreciate your information and I hope everything works out like I envision. If not then I'm definitely worthy of criticism, insults, and most likely a divorce😁
I imported a Defender in 2014. It didn't take "months of research" to figure all this out. The rules are pretty clear after 5 minutes of reading.

Also, giving a "review" of a builder or importer as you have done in this thread before you've ever received the finished product is odd too.

I do wish you the best of luck on your import. My import was legit and has still ended up being a multi year process that's still underway.

If I had it to do over, I would pay up for a restored Defender that's already stateside. It has NOT been worth the sleepless nights and outrageous bills and disappointment in humanity. haha.
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  #108  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 01:31 PM
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john
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZDefender110 View Post
You are mistaken. I'm very concerned. I did about 5 months of research before I put my down payment. I appreciate your information and I hope everything works out like I envision. If not then I'm definitely worthy of criticism, insults, and most likely a divorce��
And in the course of the 5 months you did were you able to uncover a single defender that was legally imported with an LS motor?...if not why gamble on being the guinea pig?
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  #109  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 01:37 PM
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After $5k in legal fees, $10/day storage fees and x # of years of it sitting exposed to the elements waiting for the truck to be released you'll get the pleasure of shipping it back to the UK on your dime. And before he buys it back from you he'll have to pay VAT on the purchase.

The whole process sounds brutal.
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  #110  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 01:42 PM
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Brandon Gough
1989 Defender 110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason1st View Post
I imported a Defender in 2014. It didn't take "months of research" to figure all this out. The rules are pretty clear after 5 minutes of reading.

Also, giving a "review" of a builder or importer as you have done in this thread before you've ever received the finished product is odd too.

I do wish you the best of luck on your import. My import was legit and has still ended up being a multi year process that's still underway.

If I had it to do over, I would pay up for a restored Defender that's already stateside. It has NOT been worth the sleepless nights and outrageous bills and disappointment in humanity. haha.
I gave a review of my initial interaction with Tophat. Nothing more. Which is what the person on thread asked for. I didn't tell everyone to go order one from him just stated if you are interested call him. thats why I will continue to post as my process evolves until final delivery.

If you were ready after 5 minutes of reading then you are clearly more intelligent than I am.

Sorry your experience was not great. I'll definitely let everyone know if my experience isn't great or about problems/issues should they arise.
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  #111  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 01:51 PM
jason1st
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Jason Crandall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZDefender110 View Post
I gave a review of my initial interaction with Tophat. Nothing more. Which is what the person on thread asked for. I didn't tell everyone to go order one from him just stated if you are interested call him. thats why I will continue to post as my process evolves until final delivery.

If you were ready after 5 minutes of reading then you are clearly more intelligent than I am.

Sorry your experience was not great. I'll definitely let everyone know if my experience isn't great or about problems/issues should they arise.
My "initial interaction" with everyone in the Defender game was great when they wanted my money. Once they had my money things changed quick. A couple of the guys I'm talking about I met right here on this forum.

If I were so intelligent, I would have bought a restored 110 that's already stateside. Learn from my mistakes while you can.
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  #112  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 03:10 PM
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Brandon Gough
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My mistake guys. Rookie mistake. The engine swap is being done here after importation at their shop in Tempe.
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  #113  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 03:18 PM
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Frank Rafka
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that's good…where's the shop in Tempe…
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  #114  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 03:21 PM
AZDefender110
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Brandon Gough
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mongosd2 View Post
that's good…where's the shop in Tempe…
I believe it's called sun valley imports. I visited last summer but I could be off on the nam by a little bit.
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  #115  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 03:22 PM
cowboy
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steven
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZDefender110 View Post
The engine swap is being done here after importation at their shop in Tempe.
Has anyone in that facility ever done a LS swap? Fwiw, the Henry Ford of Defender LS swap shops is one state over from you in San Diego - no doubt there are a ton of guys here who can only wish they had that kind of talent nearby...
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  #116  
Old April 3rd, 2016, 04:57 PM
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Raub A.
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Originally Posted by AZDefender110 View Post
My mistake guys. Rookie mistake. The engine swap is being done here after importation at their shop in Tempe.
Yes, that is good news we can now end our intervention, your marriage is saved, the CBP agents monitoring this discussion are bummed and all is right with the world.
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  #117  
Old April 4th, 2016, 01:35 PM
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Anyone have experience with ECD? Could you PM me with your experience?
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  #118  
Old April 4th, 2016, 01:54 PM
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Anyone have experience with ECD? Could you PM me with your experience?
Ping KGH
http://www.defendersource.com/forum/...ild-60576.html

-Jeff
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  #119  
Old April 4th, 2016, 02:08 PM
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Dave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboy View Post
Has anyone in that facility ever done a LS swap? Fwiw, the Henry Ford of Defender LS swap shops is one state over from you in San Diego - no doubt there are a ton of guys here who can only wish they had that kind of talent nearby...
Henry sells adapters. He is to busy to do swaps as of my last conversation with him.
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  #120  
Old May 10th, 2016, 12:37 PM
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Lance Inouye
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TopHat Classics Happy Customer

Several people have contacted me about my experience with Tophat Classics, so I thought I would post a review of the entire experience. As with most of you, the Defender has been my dream car since I was a kid. We took one on safari in Kenya when I was young, and then I did not see one again until 1993 when they started marketing that they were importing them to the US. I bought a D90 off the showroom floor in 1994 (sold 3 year later) and then bought another 1994 D90 off eBay about 6 year ago (also sold).

I stumbled on an Arkonik ad and started pricing out the car I wanted since I was a kid (a 4-door safari machine). I didn't opt for all the bells and whistles because I wanted to own this long-term, so I went manual windows, gearbox, etc. I was shocked to see the price, so I figured I was going to have to find another fixer-upper on eBay like my second D90.

That is when I found Tophat's eBay ad and started communicating with them via email. Carel directed me to their website and Facebook page, and I started pricing out my vehicle. I was shocked to find that the same vehicle I priced out at Arkonik was about 30% less. Knowing exactly what I wanted, Carel and I started fine tuning options (color, accessories, etc). Once I felt like he knew exactly what I wanted, we signed the contract and I put down a deposit (May 2015).

It took about a month for him to find the base vehicle, but it was worth it! He found a 1985 fire truck with 7,306 original miles! Over the next several months, I received pictures of the build and made a second deposit.

In January, the car came out of customs and arrived in Scotttsdale. The mechanics had put in the original 4-speed manual transmission and the contract listed a 5-speed, so Tophat shipped the replacement to Scottsdale and they swapped it out. This all happened without me inspecting the car, so that shows you the fine character of the people running this operation.

I flew down to Arizona from Portland, Oregon to give the car the longest test drive ever. We had a small leak in the gas tank at the fuel sensor, but they were able to slow it enough to get it on the road. I am a CPA, so I needed to be able to drive it home that day or wait until after April 15th. The drive was long, and we had sun, rain and finally snow but the car handled great. By the time we got to Portland, it was in need of a tune up (and to fix the gas leak), but all was minor and Tophat covered the cost.

I can't tell you how many compliments I get on my car and offers to buy it. I honestly couldn't be happier.

Here is a link to the time-lapse of the build they sent me:

Sorry for the long-winded post, but if you have the patience, this is the outfit you want to use!

-Lance
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