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2009 Land Rover Defender SVX

Posted in Land Rover, Trucks by Geoff | September 6th, 2008 | 7 Responses |

Happy 60th Birthday Defender!
Happy 60th Birthday Defender!

For years Land Rover has represented the epitome of off-roading capabilities.  The heavy, boxy stanced juggernaut has conquered every continent, taken passengers on safari and is still used by peace keeping and aid organizations in the completion of their duties.  Along with Jeep it is perhaps the most recognizable name in production 4×4  vehicles.  This year the Land Rover Defender turns 60.  While it is only marginally different than previous Defenders, it is still a rugged piece of machinary.  But unfortunately for North America it will not be sold here.  Now before I get more “you think every piece of Euro-crap is good” emails, let me explain why this is significant. 

2009 Land Rover Defender SVX
2009 Land Rover Defender SVX

Land Rover only builds 25,000 Defenders annually, the majority of them are used by farmers and aid organizations, the automaker says.  While still maintaining an air of sophistication and class, the Defender is the most affordable Land Rover in Europe (approximately $38,000) and has the look of a vehicle ready to go to work.

Defender SVX Truck
Defender SVX Truck

It comes in many different configurations, including a two-door, four-door and truck.  Part of the Defender’s versatility is it’s bolted together construction, as opposed to unibody.  This gives it a durability in offroad use that does not diminish as the rigors of abuse weaken unibody vehicles.  It also makes repair of body panels and converting from hardtop to convertible as easy has using hand tools.  But despite it clearly being one of the most respected and durable vehicles on the planet, U.S. regulations make it impossible to be imported. 

No Airbags=Unsafe in America
Defender Interior: No Airbags=Unsafe in America

Unlike other countries, the regulations in America, especially those for safety go WELL beyond the usual airbag/seat belt variety.  In fact, in America vehicles not only have to provide these standard features but the car also has to be designed with the assumption that the driver and/or passenger are not going to use them.  The designer of the Aston Martin DB7 and Vanquish, Ian McCallum, explains that unbelted passengers and pedestrian legislation prevent vehicles ranging from the bull-nosed Defender to the diminutive Hyundai i10 from ever coming to the States. 

Defender Tackling Challenging Terrain
Defender Tackling Challenging Terrain

So even though we are required to wear seatbelts, use child seats, or any number of other things, automakers are required to assume we are idiots who won’t.  Something to think about while you are stuck in traffic, not smoking, talking on your cell phone, or eating a twinkie with transfat.

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7 Responses

  1. So much for freedom, where the government thinks it knows more about taking care of you than you do, and is willing to take away your freedoms and choices to enforce their perception of how things should be (or how the insurance companies think things should be). How long will it be before they lock us in padded cells or the habitat modules of Matrix.

  2. Chief Bo says:

    A little correction is in order; Land Rover (the company) is 60 years old, not the Defender series vehicles. Defenders have only been in production since 1983.

    All vehicles imported into North America must comply with American DOT and EPA regulations (or the Canadian equivelant) or must be at least 25 years old (15 years old for Canada). This means since 2008 in the US (1998 in Canada) you can import a 1983 Defender.

    In response to the Defender finally meeting the rolling 25 year rule, there are several companies in the UK that will source a solid 25 year old Defender and totally refurbish or fully re-build the vehicle for import into the US. This is by far the best way of obtaining a vehicle in first class condition that is in complete compliance with U.S. importation regulations.

    This is what I’ve done and my totally rebuilt 1985 300TDi Defender 110 County 5-door will be ready for shipping early next year from Solihul UK.

  3. PASTOR says:

    precio de los rines

  4. Lucas E says:

    I’d probably spend double to import a new D-90 to the US. Too bad you can’t retrofit some airbags in there somehow. Damn that is a sexy vehicle!

  5. Johnny Rotten says:

    Airbags kill and mangle ppl. Talk to a trauma surgeon.

  6. Hans Bentzen says:

    A little correction to Chief Bo:
    The first Landrover was build in 1948, on leftovers from WWII.
    Because of steel restrictions it had to be aeroplane aluminium and the green paint was leftover from aeroplane industry as well.
    So the Defender was actually born 60 years ago!
    Best wishes – Danish -09 Defender owner