Vehicles | January 10, 2020 5:30 am

Here’s Your Chance to Buy the Last Original North American Defender

The British icon, tailored for the U.S., is up for auction

1997 Land Rover North American Specification (NAS) Defender 90
Is it safer than the new Defender? No. Is it better-looking? Obviously.
Copyright and credit: Gooding & Company

After 23 long years, Land Rover is finally bringing the Defender back to the U.S. But if the new 2020 model isn’t boxy or British enough for you (even if it’s starring in the new James Bond flick), there is one course of action: buy the last original North American Defender.

During its Scottsdale Auction, Gooding & Company will be offering a very special low-mileage 1997 Land Rover North American Specification (NAS) Defender 90. It’s the last one ever sold in the U.S.

Not familiar with NAS Defenders? To put it simply, the British SUV has had a hot-and-cold relationship with the U.S. market, but between 1993 and 1997 Land Rover sold a tailored design here that appeased our country’s stricter regulatory body. But because of low sales and new safety requirements, they were phased out after only a few years. 

According to Gooding & Company, “To commemorate the end of the line, Land Rover built 300 Limited Edition North American Specification (NAS) Defender 90s numbered 1–300. This Defender 90 Limited Edition is #300/300.” 

Unfortunately for the new owner, this hasn’t been sitting in shrink wrap all these years. But on the flip side, despite having seven owners over the course of its life, this Defender only has 36,000 miles on the odometer. And because it’s a limited edition, there are a few perks you won’t find on other vintage Defenders, like a ladder-equipped rooftop rack, 9,000-pound Warn winch and even air-conditioning, if you can believe it. 

But it’s the prestige more than anything else that’s setting the price, and the auction house puts the estimate between $200K and $250K, though it is being sold without reserve, meaning it will sell regardless of the final bid. 

If you want to throw your piggy bank in the ring, Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale Auction is taking place on January 17 and 18.  

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