Spray-on metals allow for new levels of custom-look components
Can coat any plastic parts, inside or out
“Looking for a rusty Defender? Heritage Customs has got your back!” Yes, that’s exactly how the press release starts for the new Heritage Customs version of the all-new Land Rover Defender, and while it sounds a touch off-putting, there’s more to it. And the design comes from the designer responsible for gems like the Ferrari Breadvan Hommage, the three-door Range Rover Adventum Coupe, and the Tesla Model S Shooting Brake.
Heritage Customs is the co-creation of designer Neils van Roij, and this Land Rover is called the Valiance. It’s a smaller project than those fully-coachbuilt models, but it is still more than just repainted trim bits.
Because even on a modern Land Rover Defender, the shiny bits aren’t polished metal like the combination cooking and radiator grille of old but are plastic. The company needed to find a way to do it, and at this level, rust-coloured paint simply wasn’t enough.
Instead, the company developed a new technology that helps bind metals to the factory plastic, letting them spray a thin layer of aluminum, brass, bronze, titanium, zinc, or even gold, that the custom firm says will then be as flexible as the original part an maintain its look and qualities for 20 years. Once the real metal is applied, the company can brush, polish, sand, or, like this example, oxidise the material to give it this cool rust look. This look comes from an accelerated oxidation process, but it can be applied untreated and allowed to corrode naturally over time as well, with the company offering to seal it when the rust is just the way you want it.
So you can get it rusty on the outside, including the side vents and hood trim on this example, but you can also have the wheels treated, or the interior plastic trim pieces. Just be careful how far you go on the interior, or at least make sure your tetanus shots are up to date.