90's Era Defender or other?


This is a serious question because I've become very serious about an off road rig.

I love the look and nostalgie of the Defender and the fact that they come with a Diesel engine- at least most of them. The draw back is price to value on the front- end and cost for any upgrades or repairs on the back end.

My questions is given the minimum @$45k it would seem prudent to take that money and buy a baseline Jeep Wrangler- even used, or the new Gladiator and equip it to suit my needs.

Thoughts? Alternatives ?


To Infinity and Beyond!
They sure DON'T MAKE Cars or Trucks like they used to.

I sure am GLAD that's a true statement!

New vehicles are better and most situations MUCH BETTER!

Maybe you should ask yourself how much "Nostalgia" means to you and can you afford the cost of "Nostalgia"?

Are you willing to deal with the problems that will arise with the ownership and operation of any 25+ year old off-road vehicle?

Will your personal comfort concessions, slower travel times and repair headaches NOT be an issue for you owning and operating a 25+ year old vehicle out in the middle of BFE?


Buy the Landy.

If NO!

I suggest you reconsider your choice and look long and hard at how will truly USE your off-road vehicle and purchase a vehicle that BEST fits those real life needs rather than Nostalgic wants.

To satisfy your immediate crave for Defender Nostalgia as soon as possible go out and buy a LARGE DEFENDER POSTER. Hang it on the wall of your garage or office to satisfy your nostalgic craving of owning and operating a Defender!

Trust me you will get over it quicker than you think!

And yes all this BS comes from someone who really does like and own older vehicles.
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$45k ? That is crazy money. You should not need to pay half of that for a good truck. The high priced ones are mall queens. Parts are very cheap and they are simple to work on.

Recommended books for Overlanding


Paperwork Specialist
As a 40 year+ owners of too many LR's (Series, RRC's, Discovery's and 90 & 110's) I can only suggest you do not go down the LR route.

Too expensive, never build for "off-roading" (it is a all terrain work vehicle) and totally not what you're used to if your driving a later 4WD.

But..... If it is what you want, go for it, regardless of what others say.

Bon Courage !


Driving my Defender makes me happy...
Driving my Series trucks makes me happy...
Driving the new Miata makes me happy ...
Driving the Discovery 5 makes me happy...
Driving Porsches makes me happy...
Driving a boring piece of crap car makes me unhappy, I'll take fun over boring any day, even if I have to fix it occasionally.


Active member
I agree you need to determine the exact uses of the vehicle.

I did the Africa thing in a series. Got the t-shirt. Got gear oil on it and threw it out.

Learned from that and got a 110. 300Tdi, disc brakes, R380 front and rear sway bars. Not a good “wheeling” truck but gets into deeper trouble than I was able to achieve with my Series.

But, I chose that truck for expedition, not “off road”. It performs VERY well off road- mud, rocks, etc. better than the series with a rear ARB.

Bottom line, a rover can work, and be reliable. It choose wisely- pay more if needed on the front end, or you will pay double that on the back end.

The good news is in any Defender, if you do need to sell, you won’t loose your shirt (with or without gear oil stains) when it’s time to move it on. Jeep? You’ll probably loose about half your investment. If that matters at all to you.


Well-known member
Here to echo what everyone else said.

Buy the JL wrangler, or a nice LR4, or whatever else. The newer cars are so incredibly capable without any of the drawbacks of the 'cool' older cars. We spend 90% of our time on the highway and it's good to have your eyes wide open to this (assuming you live in the US).

I drove a JL wrangler a few weeks ago. It was awesome. I'm keeping my LR3 as it's larger and quieter and more comfortable, but man was I impressed.


So far the Jeep JK and JL wranglers have all held onto their resale value pretty well. You would want a 2013+ Pentastar V6 version JKU at minimum (with the upgraded interior) just for reliability's sake. Doing a quick search on the Utah classifieds and you are looking at $20k on the low end for non-salvage vehicles, $25-30k for Rubicon trims (which are the most recommended). The wrangler is actually one of the highest resale-residual vehicles in America right now. Granted, you won't make as much as 25 year old Defender list-price, but you won't lose your shirt either.

The sad truth is, with Defender prices at $25k for ones that need work to $45-80k for fully restored units, there really isn't a reason to get one based on Overlanding justification alone. A Wrangler, G-wagon, or 200 series Land Cruisers are all arguably better choices at that price point. You get a Defender because you LOVE the look. LOVE the brand. LOVE the heritage, and have the money and stomach for potential pitfalls.

But if you want a Defender-like vehicle WITH modern creature comforts, the fact is that Jeep has been building the Defender 90, Defender 110 for years now and has recently introduced the Defender 130. We can argue the pros-and-cons of the new Defender test mule spy-shots seen in Moab, but the actual modern day equivalent is the Jeep Wrangler and the current rigs from 2013 onwards are the gold standard off road and are still very comfortable on-road.

So if your goal is to travel, and not maintain a show-worthy cool Defender, then your money is better spent buying a Pentastar v6 Rubicon JK Unlimited for $25k and have $20k left over for modification + gas for adventures...


If I actually had to get somewhere, I would take my 2016 4 cylinder 5 speed 4x4 Tacoma and not one of my land rovers (or a newish Jeep Wrangler — peak Jeep is the TJ rubicon 6 cylinder manual long wheel base, but those are crazy money). Even compared to late build ROW 300tdi defenders (which are hens teeth and not importable to the US), I’d take the taco. The defenders and series are fun (as are the Porsches JackW— or lotus — miss the lotus), but don’t have the dead reliability of the taco boring as that may be.
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