La Aduana: 1995 Land Rover Defender 90, No. 219 of 500

This is the story of Number 219. This North American Specification Land Rover Defender is number 219 our of the 500 imported to the U.S. in 1995. It was never in the cards for 219 to be a garage queen. What originally rolled off the showroom floor as an Arles Blue Land Rover Defender 90 has gradually, over the years evolved into a finely tuned, two-person adventure vehicle. Purist eyebrows will definitely frown at this transformation, but this is exactly what it was born to do. Land Rover Defenders were designed with versatility and modularity in mind.

No. 219 has been used for hunting, pulling horse trailers, and as a Navy Seal Zodiac. It has been many places and seen more trail action and remote scenic locations than your run-of-the-mill cream puff collectable. It has been said that Defenders are truly the happiest and the most reliable when they are being put to good use and driven regularly. This is true. My recent 4,400-mile road trip to Baja, Mexico, (Link: is a perfect testament to that. IT was 4,400 miles without a glitch. In my 9 years of ownership, this Defender has never been happier than it is now and the oil lab reports prove it.

The past history of this vehicle is unique. In 2004 Rovers North installed a brand new 300tdi turbo diesel engine and R380 transmission. The owner at the time spared no expense: $24,000 to be exact. This engine is particularly rare because it also happens to be one of the last 300tdi engines to roll off of the assembly line in South America before production stopped in 2006.

Four years after the engine upgrade I became its fourth owner. No. 219 instantly became my pride and passion, as well as my daily driver for the following 9 years to come. My intent was always to focus on mechanical running condition and service over cosmetics. In my mind, little dents, dings, and brush rash all add sentimental value to the vehicle. They tell stories of past adventures.

I have spared no expense ensuring that this vehicle was kept in mechanically perfect shape and I would not think twice about replacing a part of unknown age and origin. I suppose you could diagnose me with obsessive parts replacement. It’s what is also commonly referred to as the Land Rover disease.

There are a couple of recent upgrades that I am particularly pleased with. In 2013 I installed a ceramic coated Garrett GT-22 Variable Vane (VNT) Turbo with exhaust manifold and downpipe. This in combination with the Allisport (Link: full-width, aluminum radiator and intercooler assembly makes this D90 particularly responsive right from the get-go.

Scheel-mann seats. (Link: You’ve probably never heard of them and I don’t blame you. This lesser-known German brand makes the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in. Defenders aren’t exactly known for their comfort so a seat upgrade is money well spent when you’re on the road. I had my set installed before I did my 4,400-mile road trip to Baja (Link: and boy, am I glad I did.

Vehicle Information

North American Specification Land Rover Defender 90 No 219/500

70k on engine and drivetrain since new.

114k on axles and transfer case

300tdi with ceramic coated VNT Turbo

Ceramic coated exhaust manifold and downpipe.

New full width Allisport radiator and intercooler with silicone hoses

GBR 3.9 differentials with Detroit soft lockers

New 100A alternator

6” Standadyne heated fuel filter

Magnaflow exhaust

Accessories & Options

LT255/85R16 BFG MT’s (with 11,647 miles) on 1-ton/130 steel wheels.

Exmoor trim seats or Scheel-mann seats ($3,000)

ARB bull bar with Superwinch X-9000

J.W. Speaker LED headlights

Viking synthetic rope, Delrin rollers and thimble

GBR 3.9 differential in front axle with Detroit soft locker

Terrafirma sliders and corner guards

Mantec raised air intake

Mantec rear interior window guards

OME HD springs and shocks

Mantec rear spare carrier

Hood mounted spare carrier

Body Painted diamond hood plates

Aluminum lower skid protector

Aluminum gas tank protector

Front Runner aluminum gull-wing windows

Front Runner aluminum rear ladder

Dash and exterior lights converted to LED

VDO dash gauges

Tuffy locking console

VIPER alarm

Auber digital EGT gauge

Auber digital turbo-boost gauge

Cobra CB radio

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