Do you remember the Mera? Back in the 1980s, a company called Corporate Concepts created a Fiero-based Ferrari 308 replica that looked faithful, Ferrari had it shut down. Aping more expensive cars is a neat concept, but it carries its risks. Now, a Japanese tuning company called ESB Style has built an adorable Land Rover Defender-like kit for Honda’s cheap and cheerful N-Van, and Land Rover’s legal team must be fuming.
Because the N-Van can already be optioned with round daytime running lights, the headlights didn’t need to be changed at all for the conversion. ESB Style simply went to town stretching and shrinking elements of the Defender’s front bumper cover to fill the N-Van’s tall proportions.
The result is a very narrow Defender-esque van that even sports a faux skid plate to cover all the off-road aesthetic bases. The front-end transformation wouldn’t be complete without cheeky badging, so ESB Style has written “Dafunder” in big letters on the nose, which is hilarious because it’s very close to Defender and it almost implies that some private equity bro uses this thing as a golf cart.
Move to a profile view, and the Defender influence continues. Of course, replicating the current Defender’s most distinctive styling element seems rather easy given that it’s just a rectangle on the glass, but it’s here along with a black roof, black pillars, and a nifty set of wheels that recall a bygone era.
Those tiny styled steel wheels come wrapped in the most adorable little all-terrain tires you could possibly imagine. They aren’t very big, but they sure are knobbly. It’s like school dress-up day is going on at the kei van academy, and this costume is rather heartwarming.
As for changes to the rear of this N-Van, they’re fairly basic. A giant silver faux-skid plate applique has been stuck on the rear bumper to mirror the front, while a set of taillight covers box elements into old-school rectangles. The Honda badge is still proudly here, although it’s been augmented by one that says “Hondafunder” because of course it has. As far as functional mods go, there’s a one-inch lift, but that’s about it. For a vehicle like this, more style than off-road substance is perfectly fine.
So how much can you expect this kit to set you back? Well, Carscoops reports that it’s rather reasonably priced. As expected, the front bumper is the priciest bit at ¥70,000 (about $520 in U.S. dollars), while those nice wheels are second in price at ¥56,000. The lift kit costs ¥38,000, the rear bumper costs ¥30,000, the tail light covers run ¥25,000, and if you want a special interior, that would be an extra ¥50,000.
Add it all up and convert to greenbacks, and you get wheels, a kit, suspension, and an interior for less than $2,000. That’s a bargain.
I don’t know how long ESB Style can keep cranking out this kit without receiving a cease-and-desist, but let’s hope it’s a long time. The Defender looks add a little something to this tiny little van, and I’d love it if the kit stuck around long enough for the upcoming electric Honda N-Van to launch. A tiny electric van that looks like a Land Rover and works like a Honda sounds like an all-around win to me.
(Photo credits: ESB Style)
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