When Did the Land Rover Defender Come Out?

2021 land rover defenderThe first Land Rover Defender came out in 1983, although it wouldn’t bear the name “Defender” until 1990. However, any driver familiar with Land Rover Defender history will know that this model’s story is much deeper than that! With its rugged styling and its practical, go-anywhere performance, it harkens back to the models that helped the brand to carve out a unique niche more than 60 years ago!

Land Rover Defender History: Timeline & Key Events

Although the Land Rover Defender wasn’t the first Land Rover ever built, it did carry many of the features and design cues that helped to distinguish models like the Land Rover Series I, the Land Rover Series II, and the Land Rover Series III. The first Land Rover Defender, like the Series models, was based on the military jeeps that could be seen in Britain around the time of the second world war.

Here, we’ve highlighted a few key dates and events for those with an interest in Land Rover Defender history:

  • 1948-1985 – The Land Rover lineup features, in succession: the Land Rover Series I, the Land Rover Series II, and the Land Rover Series III. Each is a rugged, off-road luxury SUV that helps to set the stage for the first Land Rover Defender.
  • 1983 – The Land Rover 110 is released for the first time in the U.K. The Land Rover Defender 90–a two door variant–would be released in 1984.
  • 1990 – The name “Land Rover Defender” is used for the first time! The 110 and the 90 are renamed as the “Defender 110” and the “Defender 90” respectively.
  • 1993-1997 – The Land Rover Defender 110 and Land Rover Defender 90 are sold in the U.S.–near New Canaan, Stamford, and beyond!
  • 1997 – Changing regulations require the Land Rover Defender to leave the American market. However, it would continue its reign in other countries and locales.
  • 2016 – The first Land Rover Defender is retired. After a run of more than 30 years, this model would only take a four year hiatus. The Defender was re-released as an all-new model in 2020, and is now available around the world.

Highlights and Features of the First Land Rover Defender

The first Land Rover Defender–initially the Land Rover 110–would distinguish itself from the Series III in several ways. Although it featured the similar aluminum paneling, and came standard with the same engine offered in the Series III, each of the following features and factors helped to set it apart:

  • A redesigned grille and a longer bonnet
  • Updated interior features and more luxurious appointments
  • Full time four-wheel drive
  • Coil spring suspension
  • Two-speed transfer gearbox
  • Lockable center differential

What should you know about Land Rover Defender history in the 80s? Before it was introduced to American consumers, the Defender received a series of progressively more powerful engines and saw a corresponding rise in sales.

What About the New Land Rover Defender?

If you’re excited by what you know about the Land Rover Defender history, you’ll find even more to love when you explore the new model. You don’t have to take our word for it! The discerning experts at Motor Trend have already named it as 2021’s SUV of the Year. Explore our guide to the Defender SUV’s off-road prowess to learn more.

See the New Land Rover Defender at Land Rover Darien

Once you’ve seen enough of the original, search for a new Land Rover Defender of your own at Land Rover Darien. We even offer a wide range of Land Rover Defender lease offers to make your experience that much more enjoyable. You can even shop entirely online from your home in Greenwich. Step into our virtual showroom to learn more!

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