Featured Vehicle: Land Rover Las Vegas’ Defender 130

There are few things in this world which I covet, the Defender in its various iterations is certainly one of them. Despite being completely incongruent with how I travel and the types of things I am normally drawn to, there is just something about this particular Defender 130 format that calls to me. The most rare of all Defenders to be found in North America, the 130 owned by Land Rover Las Vegas is a beautiful specimen.

The Defender 130 started life in the early 1980s as a 127-inch wheelbase conversion of the 110.  Designed to serve primarily as a commercial vehicle, it was often employed as an ambulance, firefighting platform, or for use by the military and utility companies throughout Europe. With a forward half built around the 110, the frame was stretched by 17-inches to accommodate the high volume pickup bed. The payload capacity of the 110 was increased by nearly 30% and by the late 1980s was made available with two more powerful engines. The 3.5-liter petrol V8 was perhaps not as desirable as the 2.5-liter turbo diesel.

In some markets the 127, which later became commonly referred to as the 130, was offered as a station wagon capable of seating up to 15 occupants. There is something about the extra span of the wheelbase and the heavy canvas cover over the bed that simply elevates this vehicle from something special, to something extraordinary.


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Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.