The Land Rover is one of those cars that we have either owned, or we know someone who has owned one. It’s more than a car, it’s an intrinsic part of British history. It was the vehicle the mobilised a post-war Britain, it was the car that defined the Land Rover brand, and it is a car synonymous with adventure, with fun and with rugged determination. Big qualities for a car to have!
Meant only as a short-term solution, the buying public soon bonded with the original Land Rover so much that Rover branched it off as a brand in its own right. Over the years, the design evolved and changed, but it was always the same familiar shape. In 1990, designers made it even more appealing to private buyers by rebranding it as the Defender, and by making it a more luxury proposition with metallic paint, alloy wheels and luxuries like… carpet. How fancy! And that’s what we have here, a 1996 Land Rover Defender that could be a daily driver, or could be pressed into being a working machine. The choice is yours, such is the beauty of the Land Rover design.
There are plenty of invoices and old MOTs with this Defender. From a £3,200 invoice detailing the significant works to the chassis in 2019, to other invoices for the rebuilt injection pump and alternator. There is a V5 all present and correct, an MOT certificate valid until December of 2021 and some paperwork relating to past services and general upkeep.
First registered on the 5th of November, 1996, this Land Rover Defender County 110 remained with its first owner until 2004. It changed hands again in 2011 with approx 115k on the clock, at which point it was bought by a hire company local to the current owner. Being a hire vehicle, it was maintained regardless of cost, as is evidenced by the fact it successfully covered another 20k before being sold in 2016. But here’s where this Land Rover’s history becomes interesting. The current owner bought it after hiring it on more than one occasion. In fact, it was something of a running joke that he should just buy it, so frequent was his hiring. And so, in 2016 he did and has since taken the Defender up to a trouble-free 189k.
Make no mistake, this is a working Land Rover and not a show piece. The current owner bought it as it was perfect for towing various trailers, it was and still is an impressive load-lugger and it has been the perfect vehicle for numerous trips over to France. It has been and continues to be a reliable, trusty workhorse.
MOT’d and ready to go, it’s perfect if you need something rugged. It will need some fettling going forward, as the corrosion has started to creep in. But as a rolling project, it’s perfect. These old Land Rovers are easy to find parts for and they’re easy to work on. If you’re a ‘hands on’ owner, this Land Rover is perfect. You can use it now, while perfecting it as you go, building value into it as you do.
Complete and functional would be the best way to describe it. As we have stressed already, this Defender has been used in the manner its designers intended, and as such, it is a bit rough and ready. But not to a detrimental extent. The seats are still in good order and presentable, both front and back. The seat you see in the bot is actually the middle seat from the front and still retains its lap belt for use, this is also removable. Up front the seller has added a cubby box in place of the seat, which again is removable.
The dash is all complete and everything seems to work as it should. The dials all function, and the steering wheel is in decent condition, and all the controls work as they should. The door cars have a bit of age to them, but they’re not broken, and all the window winders and locks work as they should. The rear doors will need some attention, as there is some corrosion in the C pillar areas of both doors, where the window frame meets the body of the door.
The carpets are in decent condition, though would benefit from a deep clean. The headlining is present, but has started to drop in some areas, and has come away around the sunroof opening. However, there didn’t seem to be any sign of excessive damp or leaks.
Again, it’s a working vehicle. There is some lacquer peel on the roof, and some surface corrosion and oxidation in places. The rear door bottoms and the rear arches are the most obvious areas. There is some surface rust on the door hinges, and the paint has turned a little flat on the bonnet. The bumpers have some surface corrosion where the paint has flaked off over the years.
There is some corrosion on the rear floor, on the outer edges by the door bottoms, and it has been noted that the outriggers and seatbelt mounting areas have some rust. This will need to be addressed before the next MOT in December. However, while the body’s underside will need some fettling over the summer, the chassis is by and large very solid. We had a good look underneath and it’s clear to see it’s been looked after and, when needed, repaired to a high standard.
In 2019, the complete back half of the chassis was replaced, the front footwell was repaired and the whole lot was rust-proofed. There is an invoice to the tune of £3,200 to prove this. Make no mistake, this Land Rover has been kept going with little concern for the bill. Sort those little imperfections out on the underside of the cab, and this Defender will have many years ahead of it.
This is where this Land Rover really shines. It might have 189k on the clock, but it is in excellent mechanical health. The engine fires up with ease and there is no excessive smoke on start-up. The 2,495cc diesel engine sounds strong; no rattle, no clunks and nothing else to be of concern.
The current owner has lavished this engine with everything it needs. As well as servicing, the fuel injection pump has been completely rebuilt, the alternator too. There is a brand new fuel tank fitted, too. It’s been regularly serviced, and as such, it has many miles left in it.
The suspension is in good order. There is no significant rust, the bushes all look good, and nothing knocks or bangs when the vehicle is moving. The same can be said of the transmission, which again is free from any untoward noises. It also all engages as it should, and there is no fight from the range selector of the gear shifter. It’s running like a champ and ready to take you wherever you wish to go. The current owner recently did a 900 mile round-trip to France and back without issue.
It’s a Land Rover Defender with no reserve. The appeal is simple in that it’s an infinitely desirable vehicle that is only a click away from you owning it. Sure, it will need to have some TLC in the coming months as per the MOT advisories, but find us an old Land Rover that doesn’t? It’s a workhorse, a rugged machine that is ready for its next adventure. It’s the 110 long wheelbase version, which makes it incredibly practical, and it has limitless potential uses. It’s the ultimate vehicle for work, for fun or just to scratch that Land Rover itch.
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