Britain ravished both physically and financially by WWII, was in need of a vehicle that could both act as a suitable workhorse for the country’s agricultural and commercial efforts, and act as a desirable export to bring a steady cashflow to the country. The phenomenon, that is Land Rover began in 1948 when the Series I was released with the advertising slogan 'go anywhere'. It was suppose to be a temporary source of income that would keep the factory active until the suffering consumer car market was back up and running. Instead it continued production for another 68 years.
The Land Rover became a sensation overnight. Britain’s military ordered over 1,800 vehicles in 1949; the RAF and Royal Navy placed their own orders in 1950. Meanwhile, the Land Rover was quickly becoming a favorite among farmers and civilians. Rover’s Solihull factory, which was churning out 500 vehicles a week, initially couldn’t keep up with production demands.
As the years passed, the Land Rover saw many iterations, from the original Series I, II, IIA and III to the Ninety and One Ten, and eventually the iconic Defender. Though the name changed frequently and modernity slowly leaked into its underpinnings, as with other iconic contemporaries like the Mini Cooper, VW Beetle and the Porsche 911, Land Rover defied industry changes in regulation and in style. Indeed, it went mostly unchanged for decades, maintaining its original simplicity, character and charm. The long and illustrious Defender saga is proof that some things don’t need to change to be successful. Its legacy is the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Owning a Land Rover means far more than just owning a normally vehicle, you are part of the Land Rover culture, a lifestyle choice and a way of life. The vast majority of Land Rover owners are practical, common sense adventurers. In a Defender, social media means lowering the window and having an actual conversation with a fellow human being. The Defender provides a no-nonsense approach to getting from A to B whilst also offering unrivaled off-road, towing, storage, and bums on seat capacity. The vehicle is a robust, safe, and a simple machine. The vehicle is not as large, heavy or difficult to use on a day-to-day basis as it might first appeal. The Defender is the archetypal off-road machine. Unlike many of the its competition, the vehicle is permanently engaged in four-wheel drive. Their engines are designed to deliver maximum low-end grunt and to give you manual control over the differential lock and the gear range: although you'll never win a sprint in a Defender, you will struggle to find something with better torque and traction. These design features make the Land Rover Defenders the class-leading off-road machine.
Nothing lasts forever, but some things come very close, but still it’s right to mourn the end of the aging, unrefined Defender. From its inception it was meant to be a utilitarian workhorse for Britain’s working class, and upon its back an industry gravely wounded by WWII rebuilt economic stability. The Defender did all that was asked of it and so, so much more. It explored continents, fought wars, ferried Royalty and stars alike and has become one of the most beloved and sought-after cars of all time. Production of the classic Land Rover ended on January 29, 2016. Time to reflect on an icon. The Defender - is one of those vehicles that defeated fashion while somehow epitomizing it, and transcended its original remit to knit itself firmly into the fabric of the nation that created it. Two million have been made since 1948, when the Series 1 arrived. It has always gone the extra mile, both figuratively and literally, and after 68 years it has earned its retirement. So long, Land Rover Defender, and thank you for your service.
The Defender range and what they are. What do the model numbers mean?
The overwhelming majority of Defenders have 5 or 6 speed manual, and come with various 2.5-litre diesel , turbo diesel engines to V8 gas engines. The vehicle comes in 3 different wheelbase options: 90, 110, or 130 . The numerical tag describes the number of inches between the front axle and the rear axle i.e. the Defender can come in 3 different body lengths.
The Defender is the archetypal off-road machine. Unlike many of the Defender's competition, the vehicle is permanently engaged in four-wheel drive. The Defender has class leading ground clearance and is a little wider than a small family hatchback. The engine is designed to deliver maximum low-end grunt and to give you manual control over the differential lock and the gear range: although you'll never win a drag race in a Defender, you will struggle to find something with better torque and traction. These design features make Defenders the class leading off-road machine. Mountains, rivers, rocks, sand, and winter blizzards are where a Defender feels most at home.
Land Rover Defenders are unique trucks due to their capabilities and design specifications, but another reason that they are extraordinary is a combination of how rare the vehicles actually are along with their lengthy history. Not only that, but Defenders are now out of production, so to get your hands on one is truly a rare opportunity. The Defender has a well-established community of admirers, by owning one you become a part of its history and knowing the background of your vehicle is particularly important. To do so, you can better understand your Defender by simply understanding the particulars of its VIN.
The Land Rover Story - 1948............the start
Land Rover Vertigo
So what is the real story with Defenders and rust? It seems to be the first question anyone looking to purchase a Defender asks, but what is the answer they are looking for? The truth is all Land Rovers and Defenders will have some rust to a certain degree. If they have spent any time being the utilitarian, 4x4, and off road vehicle that they are, they will have some rust.
So why is everyone asking if there is any rust and why does it matter? Well, the most basic concern is that the rust is so prevalent that it makes the vehicle non-roadworthy or unsafe for some reason. This is very rare and only a handful of Defenders fall into the category of non-roadworthy or unsafe because of rust, which normally amounts to an MOT failure. All of our vehicles for sale have a current MOT test certificate, which proves their roadworthiness and safety. While the outer skin of a Defender may be aluminum, practically everything else is steel - right down to the bolts. Put that steel anywhere near water and it will rust. Even the last of 2016 Defender models have rust!
So what is the point I am making? Don't sweat the rust; as long as there is not a gigantic hole in the frame there is nothing that cannot be remedied with a little effort. Most of the rust you see can be cleaned up and treated. If you want to go a step further, undercoating is a quick and easy way to rust proof your undercarriage and other parts once you have treated the rust. Anyone who tells you that their Defender has no rust is either lying, or has never actually crawled underneath it, or has spent $100,000+ to do a frame off restoration and started over from scratch. You can also take the approach of masterly inactivity; once Defenders are imported to the US they excel in the warmer climate, and the rust will generally not get any worse which means you can continue to drive and enjoy your Defender until such time as you want to repair or tinker with it.