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Car Tales: The Original, Land Rover Defender 90

A vehicle for which the word ‘rugged’ would seem to have been defined, the original Land Rover was designed in 1947 by Maurice Wilks at the Rover Company & launched at the 1948 Amsterdam Car Show.
It was quite specifically a reflection of that prominent WW2 vehicle, the Jeep.
1990 land rover defender 90 for sale
Indeed, the Land Rover prototype was built on a Jeep chassis and axles. The early choice of khaki color was dictated by military surplus supplies of aircraft cockpit paint, ordaining that early vehicles came only in various shades of light green. Almost before it was launched, the Land Rover had the scent of nostalgia, an aspect of its intrinsic magic: could this nostalgia have been for the British Empire that – rather rapidly – was then disbanding?

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Four-wheel drive from the very get-go, and at first employing detuned Rover engines, these versatile – and at first extremely spartan – original off-road vehicles could climb an almost vertical mountain.
1990 land rover defender 90 side view
In 1951 Land Rover was granted a Royal Warrant by King George VI, and 50 years later it received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for outstanding contribution to international trade. Over time, Land Rover grew into its own brand, encompassing a range of four-wheel drive, off-road capable models.
In 1970 the much more upmarket Range Rover was launched. Then the Land Rover Defender 90 hit the showrooms in 1984, re-named in 1990 as simply the Defender 90. One thing that was really great about the Defender 90 was that – despite its squat appearance – it could hit 0-60 mph in 5 seconds.
Often the utility truck chosen by celebrities and royalty because of the combination of immense luxury and quality that they consistently provide, Land Rover Defenders are capable of being truly unique, able to match the unconventional characters of their daring owners.
Paul McCartney, for example, had a predecessor to the Defender, his own much vaunted Land Rover, about which he wrote the song ‘Helen Wheels’.
‘Helen Wheels is our Land Rover,’ said Paul. ‘It’s a name we gave to our Land Rover, which is a trusted vehicle that gets us around Scotland. It takes us up to the Shetland Islands and down to London.’ Other name owners included Sir Winston Churchill, Sean Connery and Bob Marley – a more diverse trio would be hard to imagine.
1990 land rover defender 90 rear view
Though the Defender was not a new generation design, it incorporated significant changes, compared to the series Land Rovers, such as adopting coil springs front and rear, as opposed to all leaf springs on the previous vehicles. Coil springs offered both better ride quality and improved axle articulation. Adding a lockable center differential to the transfer case gave the Defender permanent four-wheel-drive capability. Both changes were derived from the Range Rover, and the interiors were also modernized.
1990 land rover defender 90 interior
Externally, a full-length bonnet and full-width integrated grille and headlights, combined with a single-piece windscreen, plus widened wheel arches that covered new, wider-track axles, were the most noticeable changes. Meanwhile, a new series of modern and more powerful engines was progressively introduced.
At the moment we have one of these beauties at Beverly Hills Car Club, a 1990 Land Rover Defender 90, a true standout in the world of off-road vehicles. Finished in sleek black with a striking red interior, this British classic is sure to turn heads wherever it goes. But it’s not just about looks – this Ninety has been upgraded with a host of features that take its performance and functionality to the next level.
Under the hood, you’ll find a powerful GM LSA drive train upgrade delivering a whopping 565hp, paired with a 6-speed manual transmission for an exhilarating driving experience. The 6.2L Gen IV Small Block V8 engine ensures that this off-road vehicle is ready to tackle any terrain with ease. The upgraded Tophat transfer case, SVX front grille, and NAS spec rear bumper add to the rugged appeal of this vehicle.
Enhanced stopping power comes courtesy of the AP brake system with 364mm 6 pot front and 330mm 4 pots rear brakes, ensuring performance in any situation. The 18-inch Gloss black saw tooth alloy wheels wrapped in General Grabber AT2 tires provide both style & capability, with rear-mounted spare tire to ensure you’re always prepared for the unexpected.
1990 land rover defender 90 engine
Inside, this example offers a versatile interior with extra seating capacity in the cargo area, making it ideal for both daily driving and weekend adventures. Convenience features such as air conditioning, a Pioneer radio, a soft top, dual-side rearview mirrors, manual crank windows, a MOMO 3-spoke steering wheel, and an audio upgrade package with Apple CarPlay, 6 speakers, and a subwoofer. The LED lights package with angel eye headlights not only improves visibility but also adds a touch of modernity to this classic off-roader.
With air suspension offering variable height in normal, sports, or off-road modes, this Defender is ready to conquer any terrain with ease. Ready for its next adventure, this Land Rover Defender 90 is a unique and capable vehicle that is sure to bring joy to its next owner.
-Alex Manos, Owner
1990 Land Rover Defender 90 buyer Alex Manos

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