Winter may be creeping up on the US, but the sun is still shining elsewhere.
If you do find yourself in a warm clime over the next few months, Arkonik has just the vehicle for you—a custom 1989 Land Rover Defender Beach Cruiser. Unfortunately, only five examples of the summer-time 4×4 will be built, so you’ll have to move quickly to grab one before they run out.
If you’re a Defender fan, you’ve undoubtedly seen the soft-top version of the legendary SUV. Arkonik’s new build isn’t that. It’s a full-on convertible, with a windscreen and nothing else above the doorline. The off-roader’s sleek new look is the handiwork of former Bugatti designer Etienne Salomé, the same person responsible for the $18.7 million La Voiture Noire. Inspired by the Bauhaus movement, Salome wanted to refine the iconic SUV, moving its smoked LED headlamps inwards so that they’re now situated on its custom grille and ridding the Pennine Grey two-door of any unnecessary line or curve. Even the door handles are hidden. You’d be hard pressed to find a 4×4 that looks this clean.
“Progress has never been to make things more complicated, this special vehicle project represents the pure essence of the Defender!” Salomé says on the Arkonik website.
This same treatment was applied to interior of the vehicle. We’ve seen some restomods outfitted with modern features like digital displays and even an infotainment system, but not the Defender Beach Cruiser. Its spartan driver’s cockpit and dashboard look almost identical to how they did in 1989, although everything is neat and polished. Up front you’ll find a three-person OEM tip-up bench that’s covered in black denim, while the rear has been completely stripped down leaving plenty of cargo room for your next trip to the shore. There is a fresh AC system for when it’s really sweltering, though.
The look of Arkonik’s 4×4 may have been what caught our eye, but it sounds as if it will be plenty capable, too. Under the hood, you’ll find a rebuilt 3.9-liter V-8 mated to a five-speed manual transmission. No performance specs were provided for the mill, but we expect it’s powerful enough to zoom over mounds of wet sand. It also has a restored fully restored chassis, bespoke Cellular Dynamic suspension and rides on a set of 16-inch steel wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A KO2 tires.
Whether you’re hoping to enjoy the Defender Beach Cruiser in the months ahead or keep it in the garage until next summer, you’ll may want to reach out to Arkonik now. After all, there are only five of the $240,000 examples. That’s in line with other with other restomods based on the famed SUV, but it’s the rare one that doesn’t include a roof. Not that we think you’ll mind.
Check out more images of Arkonik’s Defender Beach Cruiser below: