For $18,995, Witness For The Defense

Illustration for article titled For $18,995, Witness For The Defense
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

They say the best defense is a good offense. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Land Rover Defender 90 looks pretty good, but is its price offensive?


Born in 1948, the Land Rover is, next to the Jeep, the oldest 4x4 brand offered to consumers. Despite being of an age when it might seem appropriate to tell the village children that they should jolly well not trample its lawn, the Land Rover continues to be one of the world's preeminent dichondra shredders itself. Contrastingly, at 32 years of age, yesterday's Mercedes Benz 280GE is a relative whelp. Despite that impertinence of youth, the German Gee garnered a narrow 53% Nice Price win.


The Benz, its rust, electrical woes, and potential for future wallet draining contrasted to its desirability, and highlighted a theme that permeated the comments like the smell of cat pee - I'd rather have a Defender. And since 1948, so have a lot of people. Seemingly the de facto white knight ride of organizations like the United Nations, Red Cross, and the UN's WHO, the Land Rover epitomized rugged durability and British stiff upper lipness.

Originally branded simply as the Land Rover, the model required further definition as it was updated and the company's model portfolio expanded. Early trucks are classified as the Series I, II and III, but in 1983 they were rechristened the 90 and 110 (and later 127 and 130), names which were based on their respective wheelbases.

The new names accompanied significant changes under the aluminum bodywork, including a coil sprung suspension tied to wider track axles and a permanent all wheel drive system adapted from the Range Rover. Seven years later, the model switched names once again, adopting the Defender title, so as to fit more consistently within the model mix that now included the Discovery.

Today's 1986 Land Rover two-door is presented as a Defender 90, but it is more rightfully a Ninety. Of course, there's physically not much difference between the models, and this one's had so much work done to it that it perhaps doesn't matter what it's called, so long as it's not late for dinner.


The seller has had this truck offered for a couple of months now as best I can tell, and his earliest ads note that its price and equipment would mean that it would sell fast. Well, not so much, so let's see if we can tell just what is the problem. The truck itself - at least in the single picture provide - looks to be in reasonable shape although the black-painted steel wheels dull it down a bit when you consider how righteous these look with silver alloys. The description notes not only a bunch of upgrades, but also that they're combination has resulted in this Land Rover being a Certified Off Roader, whatever that means.

The mods include a Rover V8 that sports 4.2-litres rather than the original 3.9, a Salisbury steak rear axle, dual shocks all around, skid plates underneath and a Safety Devices roll cage up above. Tires are elephant's ass knobby and fat, and the whole thing sits a respectable distance from the ground due to a lift kit. I'm going to guess that the transmission is either the LT77 or R380 5-speed. Finally, while the seller says it's a certified off-roader, he also says it comes with both a clear title and current Minnesota registration.


So what's the problem? Well, maybe it's the price. You look at Defenders being offered these days and you'll find a wide spectrum of prices, anywhere from the low twenties, all the way up to those peaking up the skirt of six figures. This one has - and has had - an asking price of $18,995.

Whaaaaa? What's going on here? Is this a scam? Is the truck haunted by the souls of the egregiously flatulent? Was it once owned by a drug dealer named el verdugo who's shortly being released from prison and may want it back?


Or, maybe that price isn't all that great. What do you think, is $18,995 for a Defender 90 a price that's defendable? Or, is this a Land Rover that needs a price do-over?

You decide!


Heritage Land Rover or go here if the ad disappears.

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filth Farker

I've never understood the US Defender market. People pay crazy prices for these.