Derek And Doug's Fantastic Crapwagons: Land Rover Defender 90

derek and doug s fantastic crapwagons land rover defender 90

Doug writes:

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.

Derek writes:

You know that whole kerfuffle about illegally imported Defenders that is driving enthusiasts bonkers? Yeah, we don’t have that problem where I live.

$25,000 will get you a decent ’94 Defender turbo diesel manual. You can choose between British Racing Green or UN Peacekeeper White. A true North American model with a V8 will be about $10,000 more.

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.

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  • Mikein08 Mikein08 on Jun 29, 2013

    A crapwagon it may well be, but it seems to have the look and design needed for a true hardcord off-road vehicle. Give it reliability, comfort, capability, utility and a reasonable price, and I'd likely buy one. Meantime, I'll stick with my Xterra, which takes me anywhere I point it, and with a few aftermarket pieces would take me places (and back) that I might be hesitant to go!

  • Blaz Blaz on Jul 01, 2013

    They look crapwagons to me too and please note that I am from Europe! I would like to see one of these passing that point where rust will collapse it into two halves but the chances for this to happen are almost near zero since these vehicles have their whole bodies manufactured from aluminum and are put on a strong old-fashioned ladder. And that makes them very very distinct today.

  • Art Vandelay I’d grab one of these if I’d spent my working life at GM for sure!
  • Analoggrotto The factory is delayed due to an investigation of a peter puffery ring lead by VoGhost, Tassos, EBFlex a Chevrolet Volt.
  • FreedMike Looking forward to the protests at the factory accusing Toyota of excessive woke-ism. First,, grooming. Lord help us all.
  • MrIcky I remember when Gladiators came out and everyone was shocked at how expensive they were. Now all the off road specials have caught up or passed it financially. I like this truck a lot, but I'd still take my Rubicon over this. I'd take this over the Ranger Raptor or Tacoma TRD though. When I found out the increase in track for the new TRD was just wheel offset-I knew they were just phoning it in. Why spend so much R&D on those stupid seats when you could have r&d'd longer arms or a front locker.
  • Alan Hmm, I see a bit of politicking here. What qualifications do you need to run GM or Ford? I'd bet GM or Ford isn't run by experienced people. Anyone at that level in an organisation doesn't need to be a safety whip, you need to have the ability to organise those around you to deliver the required results.