Introduced in 1990, the Land Rover Defender was the named replacement for the ‘Land Rover’, which had been in service since 1948. While it was certainly time for an update, Land Rover didn’t want to muck this up – after all, the Land Rover is one of the world’s most famous transportation icons. The new vehicle, when it came out, was decidedly more modern, but it was also true to its roots; it had a short wheelbase, was relatively sporty, and more importantly, was just as capable off-road as its predecessors. It was a huge hit in the United States, a very lucrative market, where it became some sort of fashion statement, if not accessory. It was withdrawn from the US market in 1998 because of its lack of airbags.
Powered by a 3.5-liter V8, producing 134 horsepower, the Land Rover Defender had the torque to back up its off-roading claims, although it didn’t have the horsepower for much on-road performance. Top speed was 87 miles per hour, hardly impressive, and 0-60 acceleration took 15 seconds.
The 1990 Land Rover Defender was a very potent off-roader, and had just the right looks. It was boxy enough that it looked serious, and had just the right level of equipment to be comfortable, too.