The Land Rover Defender is like a Jeep for the tweedy crowd. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 90 TDI is more than just tweedy, it's also tweety bird yellow.
So now that Osama bin Hidin' is Osama bin Livin' some of you thought that yesterday's freakalicious Escort Custom that was done up to look like a hearse might have been a fitting final insult for America's number one most wanted terrorist beardo. That's the only way to explain its 23% Nice Price vote, the remainder of you being rightfully revolted by the odd Escort.
From what I hear, the mountains of Central Asia can be treacherous, what with frequent rockslides, less frequent maintenance, and the potential that a predator drone might mistake you for some guy named Al Kyada. That's why, if you're doing a little Pashtun sightseeing, you might want to go in a vehicle that has the seal of approval from both the United Nations and Daktari. And as BP is about as popular there as they are in the Gulf States, you'd also want one that will go a while between
We had a diesel Land Rover Defender here a while back - an almost-new 110 that was both outrageously expensive, and questionably licensable in the U.S. - U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
Oops sorry, got a little carried away there with all the patriotic fervor and whatnot. This Defender 90 300TDI, is claimed to be a 1984, although the differences between years on these English Stud-muffin off-roaders is typically only obvious to the most rabid of the brand's fans. It is similar to that earlier contestant in that there's a diesel underhood, and a five speed manual behind that. It diverges however in a number of other, very important ways. First off, the seller claims that this one is actually sporting current California tags - no mean feat. It's also the 93" wheelbase 90 two-door, rather than the longer wagon. And most importantly, its price is not eyeball-popping six figures, coming in at a used stripper Wranger-esque $17,500.
As noted, the Defender is a sturdy beast- if it was a video game enemy, it would easily be a level boss. If it were toilet paper, it would take both hands to rip a square from the roll, and it would last for three to four full poops before finally wearing out. But even Superman has his Kryptonite, Achilles his heel, and the Defender its union build quality. It won't disintegrate before your eyes like Poltergeist's haunted split-level, but there are places where the Defender needs more than just an admonition to keep a stiff upper lip to keep going. Rust isn't that big of a problem as the aluminum body won't corrode, but the steel chassis will, and suspension outriggers and spring mounts are prime candidates for catching the red death, so you'd want to eye them on this 90. The LT77 gearbox is also somewhat of a weak spot, from what owners say, and fixing it can be expensive. The 2,495-cc, 111-bhp diesel four - code named Romulus - replaced the 200TDI and rectified many of that engine's most serious flaws.
Here it has to carry around about 3,850 pounds of truck, so don't imagine that the 90 in its name refers to being able to reach that speed. Going slow is preferable when the terrain is rough anyway, and unlike a similar sized Jeep, this 90 has three abreast seating - like a Matra Bagheera - so that you can keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Friend or foe, the three-window hard top will ensure they all stay nice and dry - well, reasonable so, this is an English vehicle and the Brits do enjoy a bit of the weather, even inside their cars. That top is black, and sits jauntily atop a fly-yellow body that looks pretty whole and is festooned with lights,
wenches winches, and whatnot.
What's not to like? Well, it is English, and imported which means it's either a really good Stilton or right-hand drive. Turns out, it is right-hand drive. It's also lifted, and whenever that happens it's a good idea to check out the quality of the lift and make sure it's not just a bunch of those spring knuckles jammed in there. And then there's the seller's spiel about bio-diesel in order to attract the hemp-wearers. Right now, this 90 appears to run on good old straight diesel, and he claims it'll do 26-MPG on the stuff. But every seller of a diesel car or truck today seems to include that bromide in the ad, as though visions of draining the local Mickey Dee's frier will ensure pennies per mile driving and french fry farts where ever you go.
That being said, this is a pretty unique Defender - what with the claim of a California title on what's arguably one dirty bird of an engine. And $17,500 doesn't seem like an amount you'd have to hock the family jewels in order to afford, does it? What do you think, is that a price that would make this Land Rover something you'd flip over? Or, is that a price that's indefensible?
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