Forty Land Rovers Seized By Homeland Security In Ongoing Investigation

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
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forty land rovers seized by homeland security in ongoing investigation

Hide your kids, hide your wives and hide your Land Rovers, because the federal government is rounding up a handful due to questionable importation paperwork.

Jalopnik reports 40 Land Rover 90s, 110s and Defenders were rounded-up by the Department of Homeland Security Tuesday as evidence in a federal investigation over illegal importation of the iconic SUVs into the United States. Owners of the 40 dispute the agency’s claims, one owner stating his 110 was a 1983 model — citing the vehicle’s VIN — despite police claiming it to be 2000 model.

The seizures may be a part of an ongoing investigation into an importer in North Carolina who brought in Defenders younger than 25 years into the U.S., though none of the parties involved can comment. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative Vince Picard says the 40 owners “will have an opportunity to seek restitution for their losses.”

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Luvmyv8 Luvmyv8 on Jul 19, 2014

    Wow, I'm so glad were being protected from the evil that is the Defender 90 and Nissan Skyline GTR, I mean.... please think of the children! It's great when our borders are so secure as to banish enthusiast cars from our land, thus protecting our way of life..... oh wait.....

    • JimC2 JimC2 on Jul 19, 2014

      Almost 90 comments before someone finally thought to think of the children. Why won't anyone think of the children?!?

  • Defender90 Defender90 on Jul 19, 2014

    Well there are a lot of Defenders stolen in the UK and they are very easy to dismantle and swap bits around... so these being ringers does have the "ring" of truth about it. On the other hand if that guy's 1983 model really was mistaken for a 2000 one that ineptitude there. Why didn't they just read out the VIN and chassis number right there? That would have settled it. The customs do know that a 1983 model can be rebuilt to look like a 2014 one don't they? I was reliably informed that if you do import a 25 y o Defender there, it's better if it's not much modified and all numbers match. I assume once registered, it's legal there to rebuild your car with all new axles etc?

    • See 1 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on Jul 20, 2014

      "The customs do know that a 1983 model can be rebuilt to look like a 2014 one don’t they?" If one goes to all the trouble/expense of rebuilding an '83 with all 2014 parts, that's one thing. That's not what's happening here. Allegedly. Far simpler/cheaper to attach the VIN from a totaled or rusted out '83 junker to the '14 Defender.

  • JaySeis JaySeis on Jul 20, 2014

    40 less poseurs on the road? (The drivers, not the LR's), how could, this not be a good thing?

  • ManxSR ManxSR on Aug 24, 2014

    Source: Defender in the USA 1993 NAS Defender 110 "In 1993 Land Rover launched the Defender in the North American (i.e. the United States and Canada) market. Although the Range Rover had been sold there since 1987, this was the first time utility Land Rovers had been sold since 1974. To comply with the strict United States Department of Transportation regulations, ranging from crash safety to lighting, as well as the very different requirements of American buyers, the North American Specification (NAS) Defenders were extensively modified. The initial export batch was 525 Defender 110 County Station Wagons: 500 to the United States and 25 to Canada. They were fitted with the 3.9-litre V8 petrol engine and five-speed manual transmission. All of the vehicles were white (except one specifically painted black for Ralph Lauren). They sported full external roll-cages and larger side-indicator and tail-lights. All were equipped with the factory-fitted air conditioning system. NAS Defender 90 soft-top For the 1994 and 1995 model year Land Rover offered the Defender 90, fitted with a 3.9-litre V8 engine and a manual transmission which was clearly intended to compete with the Jeep Wrangler. Initially, the Defender 90 was only available as a soft-top, but later version was offered with a unique, removable, fibre-glass roof panel or regular Station Wagon hard-top. In the final year of US production the engine was improved, designated 4.0 and mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. In 1998, regulations changed to require the fitting of airbags for both front seat passengers in all vehicles, as well as side door impact requirements. The Defender could not be fitted with these without major modifications, which given the small numbers of NAS vehicles sold in relation to Land Rover's global sales, were not economically viable. Land Rover retired its utility vehicles at the end of 1997 to focus on its more upmarket Discovery and Range Rover models, as well as the then newly launched Freelander." More info: A person in NC that has been bringing in/converting LRs is under investigation (and has been for some time, as I understand it) for bringing in illegitimate LRs & passing them off as being legit. This has been going on for a number of years, similar to the people bringing later model original Minis into the US & applying illegal titles/VINs to them... The couple in Statesville are playing dumb... they knew the vehicle was illegal.