Land Rover Defender Fastback is Ready to Go Places, On- or Off-road.

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North America Spec Fastback Defender 90

North America Spec Fastback Defender 90 is an off-roading workhorse and rarer than it bloody well should be.

Jeeps are cute, but the fact is that the Land Rover is the true people’s off-roader. It’s a vehicle driven across the social spectrum. From pig farmers to mountain rescue crews to world explorers. Even the Queen of the United Kingdom drove her own Defender. It’s about as socially classless of a vehicle you will find.

Unlike a Jeep, nobody poses in a Defender. They use them, and let’s be frank about the Defender’s Achilles heel, they’re not that comfortable for posing anyway. Inside they’re a little… spartan. In fact, the word agricultural is not an unfair description.

North American Spec (NAS) Defenders are rare because Land Rover couldn’t justify the cost of adding airbags to stay in the market here. Hence, America got a grand total of 500 long-wheelbase 110 models, and short wheelbase 90 was only available for 3 years in the 1990s. This one we came across on Bring a trailer is number 673 out of 2,030 soft top Defenders imported in 1994 and, initially, it was the only form you could get them in.

While there are a surprising amount of imported Defenders (They were sold just about everywhere else in the world.), the NAS 90 only came with Land Rover’s V8 option, and our best guess is it was chosen in those specs to be an upmarket alternative to a Jeep. This particular one has been used as it should be, by the look of it. It has 199,155 miles on the clock, wears BFGoodrich Radial Mud Terrain T/A tires, and has some small scratches and interior wear. 

While the detractors will point to the Defender 90 it as an inferior Jeep, the reality is that’s not a true comparison. PJ O’Rourke once described a Jeep as “… Looking purposeful with no clear purpose”. The Defender does not suffer from this contradiction. The Defender is, in essence, an off-road truck that can be bought with or without a cover for the bed. It looks likely that the redesigned Defender will come to America in 2019 as a true world vehicle and Jeep is finally bringing their new truck model to market in 2020. We wonder how much of a coincidence there is in the decision to finally make one again.

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Ian Wright has been a professional writer for two years and is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum, Jaguar Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

His obsession with cars started young and has left him stranded miles off-road in Land Rovers, being lost far from home in hot hatches, going sideways in rallycross cars, being propelled forward in supercars and, more sensibly, standing in fields staring at classic cars. His first job was as a mechanic and then trained as a driving instructor before going into media production.

The automotive itch never left though, and he realized writing about cars is his true calling. However, that doesn’t stop him from also hosting the Both Hand Drive podcast.

Ian can be reached at [email protected]

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