After being told he needed a license to sell his personal Land Rover Defender 90 to friends, Matthew Perlman decided to go all in for his passion. His company, West Coast Defender, brings 21st century updates — refinished exteriors, heated seats, power locking and other modern amenities — to classic machines. Sourcing Defenders from all over the world and backed by a staff of former Land Rover mechanics, Perlman’s leading the charge toward the rebirth of the iconic British SUV right here in the U.S. We jumped at the chance to fire up the cameras and chat with him about his passion, why these cars are so special, and how one handles being held at the Turkish border for no reason.

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