Here’s How Much A 1990s Land Rover Defender Costs Today

Ethel Walsh

There are many 4x4s out there with off-road DNA, but none are as well-designed and capable as the Land Rover Defender. This is a car that is driven by farmers and royalty while also serving many military purposes. And in recent times, the platform has been favored as one of the best for overland camping builds.

The Defender is an iconic piece of British culture. However, unfortunately for US customers, we are restricted to a few types of Defenders to choose from. If you want to buy a Defender delivered to the US from new, they were officially sold up from 1993-97.

And if you want a later model, you’ll have to import one from the UK, given that it’s 25 years old. So, now that it’s 2023, US buyers can import anything pre-98. The Defender’s reincarnation has been an instant hit, With thousands of orders coming in worldwide, especially from the US, where the previous one was so rare. So here’s how much you can expect to be paying if you want your very own piece of UK history with this classic Land Rover.

RELATED: This Is The Greatest Land Rover Barn Find Ever With Classic Limited Edition Defender 110s

Land Rover Defender Is An Icon

Land Rover Series III
Via: Motorious

After World War 2, Europe was recovering and there wasn’t any demand for the sort of luxury cars the Rover company had been known for making in the past. So they began plans for a vehicle with a focus on agriculture and utility, it would be a four-wheel-drive truck with a steel frame and an aluminum body. Production began in 1948 on what would come to be known as the Land Rover Series one. It was offered in various configurations that offered alternate wheelbases, door counts, and body styles to suit an array of needs.

The Series II Land Rover made its debut 10 years after. The exterior remained much the same and featured the same inboard headlights and boxy profile as the Series. Although, luxury options such as door cards and side mirrors were available. It wasn’t until 1971 that Land Rover released the Series III. Headlights were moved away from the grille out to the fenders, which is an easy way of telling the Series III apart from its predecessors.

Then in ’79, a V8 model was introduced. Due to the size of the engine, Land Rover was forced to push the grille forward and flush with the front fenders for it to fit, producing the boxy front-end shape that would distinguish it for years to come. That iconic design would carry onto the Land Rover 110 (one-ten) and Land Rover 90 introduced in 1983.

The US Land Rover Defender Market

1997 Land Rover Defender 90 front third quarter view
Via: Bring a Trailer

In 1990, the ‘Defender’ name was born. The Land Rover Defender would not be available in the states until 1992. And then just 6 years later, sales would cease. In 1998 the US Department of Transportation introduced stricter regulations that required vehicles to be equipped with double front airbags and side-impact crash protection. None of these features were financially feasible for Land Rover to make, and so the Defender was lost.

Between 1992 and 98, a total of 6938 Defenders were sold in the US. This makes them quite a rare car in US-delivered spec. In the last few years, mainly since the unveiling of the new Defender, the original has been gaining a lot of attention. Sales have been steady, and the prices have also been steadily increasing. If you’re looking for a US-delivered defender, expect to be paying around $100,000+ for one of the originals. This highly original ’93 car fetched a whopping $138,800.

Related: Why You Can’t Buy A Land Rover Defender From After 1997 In The US

Importing A 90s Defender To America

Twisted is making a cool new series based on Land Rover Defender 110s
Via: Twisted Automotive

Import from 1998 is now legal. However, there are a number of changes needed to be made before the car is deemed road-legal stateside. So expect the prices to fluctuate accordingly as more and more begin their search for the perfect defender. As most defenders were built and sold in the UK, these models are all right-hand-drive. In order to live the defender dream of daily driving and using it properly, US customers ought to search for a left-hand-drive model.

This would mean looking within continental Europe. This instantly makes the price increase due to their demand and lesser production numbers. If you can live with a right-hand drive vehicle, you can expect to pay around $50-70k, for a very good example with import fees. However, if you want to daily drive a Defender (and you have some good coin), there are a few LHD resto-mods that can be had in the US for $300k.

Now, most potential Defender customers won’t have a quarter million plus to splash on one. Good LHD examples can be had for closer to $40-60k depending on spec and condition. Average sales prices have soared to $40,000 for a Defender 90 and $62,000 for a Defender 110. Judging by the market statistics, if we had one recommendation for a potential defender customer: buy sooner rather than later!

Sources:, CarSalesBase, LandRoverCenter

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