While the new Land Rover Defender is impressive in a lot of ways, it doesn’t quite replicate the old-school charm of the original Defender, which was sold in some capacity throughout the world through parts of four decades. Here in the US, the old Defender was never offered in large numbers, and in fact, was sold here over just four model years as more of a specialty vehicle than any kind of mass-market off-roader.
Just 500 examples of the 4-door Defender 110 were officially sold here, all for the 1993 model year. After that, the 2-door Defender 90 was sold here for the 1994, 1995, and 1997 model years, over which just 7,000 were imported. Regardless of condition or mileage or build date, Defender 90s command a steep premium here in the U.S. — find one for under $50,000 and you can bet that there’s probably something wrong with it.
This 1997 Land Rover Defender is one of those 7,000, and given its low mileage, it’s also likely the most valuable one here in the United States. With just over 3,000 miles on the odometer, it’s likely sat undriven for the majority of its 24 years. While the Autotrader listing doesn’t give a lot of description, a quick search of the VIN yields some more context (this is worth doing for any used car, and especially for North American Specification Defenders, as enthusiast groups catalog them meticulously).
While it’s currently listed on Autotrader, it appears that this Defender 90 was offered on Bring a Trailer just over a year ago, where it failed to meet its reserve price. While it’s tough to assess the actual value of a vehicle like this, it’s fair to say that the next owner will pay well over six figures for it.
Though it wears a Montana license plate in the gallery, it appears to have spent the entirety of its existence in warm-weather, non-corrosive climates and has somewhat recently received a full mechanical refresh — crucial for any vehicle that’s sat for a long time. No modifications appear to be present, though it is riding on a set of modern BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain tires. Again, referencing the old auction listing, those tires come with 2018 production dates, meaning they’ve got a few years left before they’ll need to be replaced.
If you’re interested in becoming the next proprietor of this museum-grade 1997 NAS Land Rover Defender, it’s offered for sale by a dealer in Golden Vallen, Minnesota, with a current asking price of $179,998. Find a Land Rover Defender for sale