Most car enthusiasts agree the E30 BMW M3 is getting dangerously overpriced. It is, after all, a 25-year old car with a crappy interior; they’ve all been miled to the moon; and most have been driven hard.
As I look at this week’s car, I’m starting to wonder why it doesn’t get the same rap. The Land Rover Defender 90 is arguably the poster child for overpriced: a box on wheels sold in North America for a few years in the mid-1990s until Land Rover got tired of conforming to harsh government regulations.
Maybe the poster child of the poster children is this 1995 model, currently on sale for nearly $46,000 at Motorcars of Georgia right here in sunny (i.e. rainy) Atlanta. This thing has 55,000 miles on it and a soft top that probably wouldn’t pass muster as a camping tent. And yet it costs as much as a CTS-V wagon for sale at a Cadillac dealer down the street.
The worst part is that dealer’s pricing isn’t even crazy. Here’s a 1997 model with 120,000 miles on it, which means it’s just passing that point where rust will collapse it into two halves of Land Rover, each of which is a significant fire risk. And yet they still want $36,000 for it.
And here’s the worst part: they’ll get it. Why? Because the Defender 90 is the E30 M3 of the SUV world. The mileage, the condition and the price don’t really matter. Someone out there will settle for nothing less.
You know that whole kerfuffle about illegally imported Defenders that is driving enthusiasts bonkers? Yeah, we don’t have that problem where I live.
All in all, I’m not sure I am totally sold on the Defender hype. It seems like a big part of the desirability factor hinges on the fact that they are an expensive vehicle that is equally costly to maintain. Why else would they become the must-have car for finance types in the Hamptons? If they had a “Jeep” or a “Toyota” badge, I bet few would give them a second look. But I’d also rather have a nicely restored FJ40 or Grand Wagoneer than one of these.