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NAS Defender History (1993 - 1997)

Although the United States received less than 7,000 total units, no two year models were the same. The United States received three different transmissions (LT-77 and R380 5-speed manuals, and ZF 4-speed automatic), three different air conditioning systems, three different radio manufacturer's, three different soft tops, and two different engines (3.9L V-8 and 4.0L V-8) all dictated by which year you purchased. For instance in '97 you would get the 4.0L V-8 engine, ZF Automatic transmission, Clarion Radio, Bestop Soft Top with door bar inserts, and the '97-style Air Conditioning.

Land Rover offered Soft Top models that were unique only to the North American market. Just like in Europe, a more refined model was offered called a Station Wagon. One model, the soft top, offered a basic weather resistant version complete with all rubber matting. The other model, the Station Wagon, offered carpet, a padded headliner, and a sunroof. There were even a few removable fiberglass hardtops offered as an accessory for soft top models.

Colors of these Defenders depended on which year you bought. For instance, 1994 was the only year that a blue soft top was made and 1997 was the only year that Red was offered in a Station Wagon. Land Rover offered special editions like the 1993 Defender 110 and the 1997 Limited Edition (often called an LE), in which 300 were produced and numbered.

Interiors seating surfaces were offered in cloth or vinyl depending on the year and model. All Defender 110's allowed for nine passenger seating, but the Defender 90 offered two rear seating configurations. The Soft Top model offered a single forward facing bench seat allowing two rear passengers. The Station Wagon model offered four inward facing jump seats making room for four rear passengers.

The Defender buyer had a multitude of accessories, most of which were on the exterior. Accessories included Air Conditioning, racks (sport and safari), brush guards, steps, lights, and even some rare options like rear door subwoofer and a rear heater. Except for the '93 Defender 110's, all Defenders were sent in with 16" alloy wheels. Michelin tires were the choice for the 110, but BF Goodrich rained supreme for all three years of the Defender 90.

* Please see the below chart for more information.

Color/Model 1994 Soft Top
5-spd Manual
1995 Soft Top
5-spd Manual
1995 Wagon
5-spd Manual
1997 Soft Top
1997 Wagon
Production Numbers 1943 1190 510 1499 1300
AA Yellow Yes Yes NA Yes NA
Alpine White Yes Yes NA Yes Yes
Coniston Green Yes Yes Yes NA Yes
Portifino Red Yes Yes Yes NA Yes
Beluga Black Special Edition Yes NA Yes NA
Arles Blue Yes NA Yes NA Yes
Monza Red NA NA NA Yes NA
British Racing Green NA NA NA Yes NA
Willow Green NA NA NA NA Special Edition

Pictoral Directory of every year, model and color for the NAS Defender

1993 Defender 110

In 1973, Land Rover made the decision to pull out of the United States market. By the early 1990's it was clear to Land Rover that SUV's were going to be huge in the United States. All the way up to 1992, the Range Rover was the only model offered by Land Rover to the United States. Land Rover had to find a way to get Americans thinking 'Land Rover', not 'Range Rover'. The 500 North American Spec Defender 110's were the answer. This vehicle was a marketing attempt to lay the groundwork for the 1994 model year, which for the first time featured the Discovery and Defender 90.

The Defender 110 was featured in only Alpine White (except for one painted Black) and featured ash gray hounds tooth cloth interior seating for nine. The only available option was a winch; standard equipment included Air Conditioning, brushguard, rear lamp guards, full exterior roll cage, safari roof rack basket, rear ladder, and side running steps. These remain as the only Defender 110's ever imported by Land Rover, making them highly collectable.

Alpine White
* only 500 Defender 110's were produced

1994 Defender 90's

Land Rover produced 1,943 Defenders for the North American market in 1994. All of these units were soft top models except for sixty-five, which were fitted with aluminum hardtops at the Port of Entry (nicknamed P.O.E.'s). These hardtops were the only aluminum hardtops that were designed to be removable. These prototypes were replaced by the fiberglass removable hardtops, which came as an accessory in 1995.

The 1994 models were unique because they featured bumper mounted front turn indicators and Land Rover cloth soft tops. These soft tops were favored because of their appearance with the gray cloth material, alpine windows, and two green Land Rover insignias. They were also very efficient featuring three rollup windows and a belt rail snap design.

Besides the sixty-five P.O.E. models, Land Rover produced 100 Beluga Black Defenders in late 1994. These late runs featured Beluga Black paintjob and gray leather seating. These remain as one of the most rare Defenders produced.

Soft Top

Arles Blue
* 1994 was the only blue soft top
Conniston Green Portofino Red
Alpine White AA Yellow Belugan Black
* only 100 Black '94's were made

Station Wagon

Conniston Green
* only (65) '94 wagons produced

1995 Defender 90's

There were only 1,190 Soft Top models and 500 Hard Top (or Station Wagon) models produced in 1995. This idea of offering two different models was carried out in the next model year. The biggest changes in 1995 were to the transmission, air conditioning controls, soft top, and exterior lenses. Customers were still only given a manual transmission, but it was a smoother shifting five speed called a R380. Land Rover ceased the production of their own soft top (often called a 'Tickford') and subcontracted the soft top production to a U.S. company named Bestop (noted for making tops for the Jeep Wrangler). From the outside, engineers moved the front turn indicators from the bumper to the headlight bezel, and the square '94 taillights were updated to a round shape.

The Station Wagon, new for 1995, featured an Aluminum Hardtop, Alpine white roof, sunroof, padded headliner, alpine windows, sliding side rear windows, four rear jump seats, full carpeting, ash gray hound's-tooth cloth interior seating surfaces (identical to the '93 Defender 110), and a full size rear door (complete with washer, wiper, and defrost).

Soft Top

Conniston Green
* last year of the Conn Green ST
Portofino Red
* last year of the Port. Red ST
AA Yellow
Beluga Black Alpine White

Station Wagon

Alpine White Arles Blue Conniston Green

1997 Defender 90's

There was no 1996 model year for the Land Rover Defender. Instead, Land Rover took this time to make major design changes needed for the 1997 model year. There were 1,499 Soft Tops and 1,300 Station Wagons produced for the United States in 1997. This model was the most drastically changed, offering customers an upgraded engine, automatic transmission, redesigned center console and air conditioning (which came standard for the first time since 1993). The new power train offered was a 4.0L V-8 engine mated with a four speed ZF Automatic transmission. To accommodate the new tranny, engineers designed an updated center console. The exterior of the 1997 didn't feature any changes from the 1995 model year.

The last three hundred Defenders imported were called LE's (also called Limited Editions or Diamond Editions) and featured Willow Green paint, diamond plating, and Safari roof rack (complete with diamond plated steps on the ladder). Opposed from the $32,000 sticker price for a Soft Top and the $34,500 sticker price for a Station Wagon, these LE's boasted a $40,000 window sticker.

Soft Top

Beluga Black
* only color with $400 clear coat
British Racing Green
* replaced Conniston Green
AA Yellow
Monza Red
* replaced Portofinio Red
Alpine White

Station Wagons

Alpine White Arles Blue Monza Red
* only Red Station Wagon
Conniston Green Willow Green
* only 300 producced
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