CUSTOM LAND ROVER santana 2500
AT A GLANCE
ENGINE: 2.5L “12J” diesel
TRANSMISSION: Five-speed manual with two-speed 4WD transfer case
BODY STYLE: “90” or “110” body styles, hard top, soft top, or both.
EXTERIOR: Your choice of color and wheels
INTERIOR: Your choice of color and materials
PRICE: from $22,500 plus shipping.
WHAT IS A SANTANA 2500?
Santana lovers will tell you it’s 90% of a Defender for 60% of the price. Critics will tell you it isn’t a Land Rover at all. And although there’s a smidge of truth at both extremes, the reality is somewhere in the middle.
Between 1959 and 1983, Land Rover in Solihull, England built vehicles in Linares, Spain under official license, using a company called “Metalurgica de Santa Ana,” or “Santana.” In 1983, when the official license with Solihull ended, Land Rover introduced the Defender series and Santana continued on, rolling out their own “Defender” type product, called the 2500. Both the Defender and the 2500 used the 2.5L diesel engine, and both used the Santana 5-speed transmission. Both vehicle had power steering, front disc brakes, roll-up front windows and more comfortable interior appointments. But while the Defender was based on a new chassis, using long-travel coil springs and full-time AWD (already proven refined and effective in the Range Rover line) Santana made do with an evolved Series III chassis, parabolic leaf springs, and a traditional 4WD system evolved from the Series III 88 and 109.
The result is something that looks a bit like a Defender and drives like a more refined Series III, which is perhaps why the Santana 2500 is sometimes referred to as a “Series IIIA” in Europe. Simple, rugged, and as astonishingly capable off road as any other Land Rover, the Santana 2500 is more relaxed than a Series III, longer legged and more powerful, too, and compares pretty decently in terms of refinement to a very early Defender. But as the Defender line evolved and matured, the Santana 2500 model didn’t, and by the time the 200Tdi engine appeared in the Defender in 1991, the Santana 2500 was feeling a bit like an old tractor by comparison.
That said? A Santana 2500 is a HOOT to drive! Plucky, rugged and simple to own and operate, they really do offer an interesting blend of vintage “Series” truck appeal and modern Defender styling, at a price that’s hard to beat. We do a lot of custom Santana 2500 builds, and once you drive one you’ll know why.
what WILL it look like?
What you see in the gallery above are just a few of the bespoke Santana 2500’s we have built recently for clients, but how yours looks is totally up to you. Choose your body style, choose your paint color, choose what type of interior you want, and choose your wheels and tires and other details, and we get to work. Starting with a rust free, low mileage, and fully functioning donor, the exterior and interior are stripped for the color change, and the interior handcrafted in whatever combination of materials you'd like. Body is stripped and any flaws attended to, and the respray is done inside and out to a high standard. Wheels and tires are new, and the vehicle is reassembled, detailed to mimic in most ways a comparable Defender model, fully serviced and sorted, and test driven extensively to sort any niggles. Then we deliver it you, anywhere in the world, ready for daily use on road or trail.
So the finished truck is fully restored?
The word “restored” is a loaded one, and everyone has their own definition. In our minds? Absolutely not, it is not “restored.” We are starting from a rust free, mechanically excellent donor, and we are refurbishing it cosmetically to your chosen specifications. We fully check the mechanical condition of the truck, attend to any serious issues, and fully service it. Paint is new, seats and carpeting are new, wheels and tires are new, compression is excellent, brakes are checked, fluids are changed, electricals are sorted, and when it leaves our shop it’s ready to be driven daily without issue. But we are not disassembling the truck down to every nut and bolt. We are not replacing every subsystem with new components. It is a used truck when we start, and it is a used truck when we’re finished, but it looks spectacular inside and out and runs and drives beautifully.
WHAT COMES ‘STANDARD’ ON THE BUILD?
The following items are included in all our builds at no additional cost:
- Complete strip and respray of the bodywork in your choice of color(s)
- Your choice of front grille from available choices
- Your choice of upholstery colors for seats, using high-quality German-made synthetic leather and/or available cloth
- Center console with integrated cup holders and cubby box lid upholstered to match interior
- Your choice of steering wheel. Original Santana, wood rimmed with 3 silver spokes, or black leather with 3 black spokes.
- Full hand-cut carpeting throughout the interior, front and rear, in your choice of available colors
- Your choice of (5) stock steel Santana wheels or “NATO” style Wolf wheels in your choice of color
- (5) New all-terrain tires, size 235/85R-16, usually Kumho or Toyo
- “Swingaway” rear tire carrier for spare wheel
- New LED lighting front and rear (headlamps themselves remain H4’s with LED “halo” ring)
- Full mechanical check over and full service
- Starting price: $22,500
Are there any optional extras?
This is a bespoke build, and many things are possible, but below are some of the common optional extras people ask for, including pricing for each:
- Soft top conversion ($2,600 - includes three new doors, painted to match)
- Both tops, full painted hard top and separate soft top, including doors for each ($3,800)
- Matte-finish paint on bodywork ($850)
- Full leather upholstery ($750)
- Heated front seats for driver and passenger ($370)
- Sound deadening/anti-vibration panels underneath interior carpeting ($400)
- Flip-up side steps under front doors and/or rear door ($100 each, installed)
- High-build, rust-deterring undercoating spray on chassis rails and crossmembers ($450)
- Two 6'“ round auxiliary LED auxiliary lights mounted on front bumper ($500)
- Rear LED load/work lamp ($160 - available on hard top models only)
- Twin 12 volt charging ports in rear cargo compartment ($200)
Is there anything you cannot do?
Yes. We cannot change engines or transmissions here, as doing so would make the vehicle illegal for import into the USA. The same applies to suspension lifts, which complicate transportation and importation. We also do not offer stereo, speaker or navigation installations, as these are best handled with an installer local to you.
ANY ADDITIONAL COSTS?
Just shipping, which is currently $2,500, all-included, to the available east coast ports in the USA, or $4600, all-included, to west coast ports. Port-to-port cargo insurance is also available to protect your investment during shipping, and it is $400.
How long does it take?
About 14-16 weeks, give or take, but but build times always vary a little depending on the availability of suitable donors, and how much work we have underway at the time of your order.
What are the terms, and how do I pay?
Typical terms are 50% of the price of the vehicle as a deposit to get started, with the balance due, plus shipping, when the vehicle is completed and ready to ship to you. In some builds with a large number of expensive front-loaded options (such as air conditioning, “Loc n’ Fold seating, exotic wheels and tires, etc) the deposit to get started may be slightly higher in order to cover the costs of ordering those parts. All payments are by bank transfer in US dollars.
Do you finance? Can I pay by credit card or PayPal?
No, I am sorry. We do not offer financing and we do not accept credit cards or PayPal for payment.