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Old January 18th, 2018, 05:45 PM
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Location: Chatham NJ USA
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Sorry if this is the wrong place - but I am new to Defender Forum. I am in the US and a proud owner of an OEM 78 FJ40 and wanted to add to the collection with itís equal or better. I saw this thread was technical - but figured there would be the most knowledge here. Has anyone heard of Tophat Restorations out of NED and AZ and can anyone share some tips, reviews, pointers? Thx kindly.
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Old January 18th, 2018, 06:11 PM
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Brandon Donald
97 ST, few RRCs, P38 HSE
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 139
What do you want the end result to be? Original or large modifications? If it was me and I was doing a Defender
full resto for that type of money, I'd buy an original NAS truck with <40k miles.
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Old January 19th, 2018, 04:23 AM
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NAS 97SW & 83 One Ten Tdi
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Location: Potomac Falls & Wintergreen, Virginia
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Havenít heard the name Top Hat in a long time but theyíve been bringing in trucks for a long time. Have you tried any google searches? If their business model is to buy something already built over in England and you import it, be careful. Once the cash changes hands its your baby. Typically well worth the trip over to kick your own tires. There is a rep of EU shops making a killing off of the US market by simply putting lipstick on a pig.

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Old January 19th, 2018, 05:54 AM
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#1-'13 110SW,#2-'87 127,#3-'12 LR4
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Originally Posted by Ericscott123 View Post
78 FJ40 and wanted to add to the collection with itís equal or better.
So, no Land Rovers...

Just kidding. Depending on budget, you can go from well sorted used truck, RHD, for anywhere from 15K, to 250K LS powered Puma clone. Where do you want to be?

My opinion: I think others will agree, go with 200 or 300Tdi, or Isuzu/Cummins/LS. The 2.5NA and Diesel Turbo motors are boat anchors. I am currently experiencing just how underpowered a 2.5NA is in one of my trucks.

Go LHD, unless you want RHD for the authentic British-ness.

Donít know much about Tophat. Glossy and fancy ads and press releases.

In Netherlands, since you brought it up, The Landrovers build a good truck. RiverHouse Mini (rivermike here on the forum) builds nice trucks, and can get you whatever you want. If you go overseas route, fly over and meet the people, see the shops. I have had coffee with Michael at Riverhouse, and tea with Stuart at Foleyís. One gets a feel for the people, and sees the shop in action.

Same for Safari Heritage Parts and a few other vendors on the forum. I saw East Coast Rover (ECR) has actually stopped taking on new work, they are so busy. There are other good US builders, some on this forum.

Australian Perentie Land Rovers are one of the best bases you can start with. Galvy frame, add a turbo, convert to LHD.
KGH - ďStinky LR dieselĒ Defender Snob
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