The Land Rover was constantly improved after its launch in 1948.
Mechanical changes had reached icy speed since the introduction of the 2¼-liter engine in 1958 and its diesel equivalent in 1961, and appearance had changed little since the 1971 Series III.
In 1979 a sign appeared of what will come with the Stage 1 V8, which incorporates a detuned Range Rover engine and a LT95 gearbox with permanent four-wheel drive – they were all in a 109-inch chassis and most were exported.
The formation of Land Rover Ltd as a separate company within British Leyland ultimately meant that attention was paid to updating the legend to compete with the myriad of rivals eating in its market.
The name ‘Defender’ would be adopted in 1990 to differentiate the original car from the recently unveiled Discovery: when it was launched in 1983-85, the models were known as One-Ten, Ninety, and 127, denoting different wheelbase options.
Visually distinguished by their one-piece windshields, full-length hood, flat fronts and allergy flares, under the skin they featured coil spring suspension, permanent four-wheel drive, a five-speed box, high / low ratios and Difference central lock, front disc brakes with servo, more comfortable seats, roll-up windows, better soundproofing, power steering (an extra at first) and the option of the V8 in the entire range. All this without any reduction in its excellent off-road capability.
The trucks and vans, as well as the usual range of specific-purpose versions, continued as purely functional vehicles, but the county property with its luxurious interior, even with carpets! – It was aimed at family transport and its equipment level was updated regularly.
The wide variety of variants, special editions and updates, in 2007, when there was only one engine, there were 27 models on the list, means that almost every car you see will have a different specification.
If originality is important, try to establish that everything is at least correct for the period, but if not, just find the specification you want and make sure the updates have been carried out correctly and completely.
Rust, especially on the chassis and bulkhead, can be deadly, followed by extreme off-road, which could have distorted the chassis and damaged the undercarriage.
But at least you won’t need a ramp to get underneath and look good, just a jumpsuit and a decent torch.