One of the most iconic vehicles ever made, the Land Rover Defender's lineage goes back to 1948 when the first Land Rover appeared. In the subsequent decades, the vehicle has earned its reputation as a hard-working and capable go-anywhere vehicle, whether it's in sub-Saharan Africa, the Australian Outback, farms in the English countryside, or the beaches of Nantucket.
The Series Land Rovers (the name Defender appeared in the 1980s) were last sold in the United States in the early 1970s, but starting in the 1993 model year, Land Rover North America brought over small numbers of Defenders to the US and Canada, powered exclusively by fuel-injected gasoline V8 engines, an option not offered elsewhere in the world at the time. 1993 examples were exclusively 4-door 110 station wagons, while from 1994 onward, the two-door Defender 90 was the only North American option. Available in both “station wagon” and soft top forms, they were sold in small numbers in the 1994, 1995, and 1997 model years. Initially powered by 3.9 liter engines, the North American Spec Defender was upgraded to 4.0 liters for 1997 only.
This particular example was sold new in North Carolina, where it remained until 2005. It spent the next ten years in the southeast before being purchased by the current owner in 2017 and relocated to California, at that time showing just under 47,000 miles. The current owner spent a considerable sum freshening this D90, including a complete repaint, new top (from Rovers North), new floor mats, new interior door panels (from Rovers North), new stereo, and considerable mechanical work. This included a new steering box and oil pan and miscellaneous smaller jobs. In all, the truck received $29,180.29 in work during the current ownership period.
Additionally, substantial mechanical work was performed in 2015-2016, including new catalytic converter and oxygen sensor, radiator hoses, tie rod ends, water pump, power steering hoses and reservoir, steering damper, rear track rod, pitman arm, drag link, swivel ball seals and repacked front wheel bearings, center muffler, front timing cover gasket and crankshaft seal, engine oil lines, front and rear differential fluids, transfer case fluid, and ignition wires. Additionally, and alignment was performed and the rubber mats in both the load space and front passenger compartment were replaced.
As a result of this extensive work, this D90 is in excellent cosmetic and functional condition. Defenders are vulnerable to rust, but this example is structurally excellent, including common problem areas such as the floor panels under the mats, door edges and bottoms, and door hardware, which appears to have been upgraded to stainless. The spot welds are crisp and the panels straight. The often faded black trim is excellent, including side mirrors roll bar, brush bar, and bumpers. The headlights have been upgraded to Hella H4 and the truck is also equipped with a roof rack with integrated roof basket and rear ladder, as well as safari lights. The glass is in excellent shape as is the convertible top.
The truck is similarly nice inside, with excellent upholstery and fresh mats. The dashboard is in great shape with the exception with a cracked plastic trim around the left side HVAC controls. The instruments and controls are in excellent shape save for a crack in the face of the clock.
This D90 functions well. It starts easily hot or cold, and runs properly across the rev range. It manages temperature properly and the AC blows cold. The transmission engages all gears properly and shifts smoothly. The suspension and steering are free of untoward play and the brakes pull the truck up smoothly and symetrically.
This is an excellent opportunity to acquire a well-sorted 47,000 mile 4.0 liter Defender 90 soft top. The recipient of extensive freshening over the last few years, this example comes with a file of invoices for recent mechanical and cosmetic work, as well as its original books set.