Land Rover Defender: PH Carpool


Name: Josh Bowe
Car: Land Rover Defender 90 300tdi
Owned since: June 2017
Previously owned: Citroen Xsara VTR, Jaguar X-Type 2.5 V6, Honda S2000, BMW E46 M3, Nissan 370Z GT

This makes more sense now...
This makes more sense now...
Why I bought it:
"I love the iconic design and have wanted one for a while now so it seemed like as good of time as any to get one. It is a really tidy example with no rot as it has lived a very sheltered life, garaged and on road. It's a sought after station wagon, which means it has windows and rear seats - a Rolls Royce by older Defender standards! I'm a RNLI lifeboat crew volunteer alongside my day job and thought it would be a bit more practical for throwing in wet gear and drysuits than the 370Z. I am in the fortunate position of being able to justify my car as a bit of a toy as I only do about 5,000 miles per year, with my partner's car acting as the sensible household vehicle that can be used for longer motorway journeys. I have definitely not bought it as an investment - I'm not that type of buyer and I intend to keep it - but it is nice to know that they hold their value pretty well."

What I wish I'd known:
"I knew what I was getting into; I knew it would rattle, be draughty, leak and have about as many luxuries as a Ryanair flight. However it was still a bit of a culture shock going from a fully loaded and nearly-new 370Z GT as my daily to a 1998 Land Rover Defender! But I'm over it now and enjoying it for what it is."

Earlier diesel means (mostly) simple fixes
Earlier diesel means (mostly) simple fixes
Things I love:
"The simplicity of it: as a 300tdi it doesn't have an ECU, so most things can be done with a tool kit and some colourful language. I love the way it looks and all of the positive comments it gets, I thought my S2000 received lots of positive feedback but this is on a different level, with random people striking up conversation about it almost everywhere it goes, it seems the Defender has become a bit of a national treasure. Most importantly though I love driving it; I struggle to explain it but it just feels 'right' and so very British when looking out from the driving seat of a Defender.

"Call me a softy but it has a charm that even some high end exotic machinery would struggle to match, a heart not a head purchase if you like. I never thought joy could be had from a vehicle that would struggle to do 85mph, but I was very wrong. It has taught me that a surfeit of power and speed does not always equal fun."

This is a change from a 370Z!
This is a change from a 370Z!
Things I hate:
"Hate is a strong word, but locking the doors manually is annoying and I'm sure it's naff heater will bug me in the winter months."

Costs:
"It's all pretty cheap in comparison to my last few cars, as there are plenty of parts readily available and lots of good specialists out there. It seems there is a whole industry based on modifying and keeping these on the road. I've had the chassis, doors and axles coated with a rust preventing agent to keep away the salted road induced tin worm for as long as possible at the cost of £600. Long term I'm sure I will take the plunge on a galvanised chassis (at approximately £3K plus labour) but I'm going to keep the good chassis it has as clean as possible until that point."

Looks great now, and Josh plans to keep it that way
Looks great now, and Josh plans to keep it that way
Where I've been:
"I've not had it long, so a trip to the New Forest for a Land Rover show and that's about it so far..."

What next:
"It is going to see some camping trips further afield and some green lanes with other Land Rover friends, but I want to keep it as standard as possible. It is not going to become some "one life, live it" tray-back pay and play warrior on a four-inch lift kit, but it is going to have some sympathetic mods such as a spare wheel carrier mounted from the chassis instead of the rear door and some underbody protection for the occasional green lane."

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Comments (3) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Leggy 11 Sep 2017

    Ah a local lad! I assumed that was Poole Harbour in the photo.
    Been having similar thoughts too, same colour but LWB.
    We do a bit of kayaking down there so having one as a toy instead of my Exige would probably meant it got used more often. But would I miss the speed.....

    Yours look great though.

  • hondansx 11 Sep 2017

    Very nice!

    I walked into Defender ownership quite naively myself. Didn't realise they start rusting after a few months etc. Spending far too much money on keeping it pristine!

    As you say, they are a completely different path; enjoyable in their own way. The shortcomings are often what makes it fun. But let's face it, a big part of it is re-living your child state Tonka toy fetish!

  • 2 GKC 12 Sep 2017

    Great colour

    Fantastic machines. It's so deeply flawed on road, you must use it off road to fully appreciate it. I had a totally standard 1990 normally aspirated diesel one with mud terrains; it was incredible what it would do. Recommend a weekend in mid Wales, Strata Florida etc

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