Back in 1997, Land Rover announced it would stop exporting the beloved Defender 90 to the US because of safety regulations it viewed as prohibitive. Before doing so, the British automaker built a limited-edition run of 300 North American Specification (NAS) Defender 90s as a way to saying goodbye. Now, 23 years later, the very last of those is going up for auction.
That Defender 90, no. 300/300, will hit the block at Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale auctions next week, according to a press release. A stunning example of a British icon, the SUV is also in phenomenal condition, having totaled just 36,000 miles over the last two decades.
First introduced in 1983 as the Land Rover Series III, the Defender 90 quickly became the vehicle of choice for British and Australian military and police units. It was also used by US forces during the Gulf War, where it was discovered to be a better fit for navigating urban situations than Humvees. Far away from conflict, the 4×4 became a highly coveted vehicle among auto enthusiasts in America, who saw it as a more exclusive alternative to the Jeep.
Just like the other final American Defenders, no. 300 features a Willow Green paint job, white roof and a grey twill interior. Outside of the car, you’ll find an A-frame front-brush guard, a Warn winch, four high-mount driving lights, rear light guards and a sleeper rack with two ladders, along with diamond-plating at the front wings, lower sills, side steps and ladder rung.
As beautiful as the Defender 90 was, the SUV was still a burly vehicle with the performance to prove it. This came courtesy a 4.0-liter V-8 petrol engine capable of producing 182 hp at 4,750 rpm that’s mated to a four-speed ZF automatic transmission. Other features include front and rear live axles with coil springs and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes. And because we all deserve some comfort, the 4×4 is also equipped with air conditioning.
In phenomenal condition, the Defender 90 has seven previous drivers and comes with full documentation. A truly superb example of a special SUV, the vehicle is being sold without reserve, though it is expected to sell for between $200,000 and $250,000. Of course, if you miss out all is not lost. Later this year, Land Rover is reintroducing the Defender to the US after a 23-year absence.
Check out more photos of the 1997 Land Rover NAS Defender 90 Limited Edition below: