East Coast Defender Taps Into the Heart of the Aftermarket

What’s old is new again, as the saying goes. This has never been truer for one of the world’s most favored vehicles, the Land Rover Defender, which is living its best life in the form of a roaring aftermarket. The British four-wheel-drive, off-road utility vehicle was first launched in 1948 and continued until January 2016, when the last Defender rolled off of Land Rover’s production line. This gas-guzzling cult favorite has had a storied history, beginning just after World War II, when it was introduced to keep Land Rover’s operations afloat for a few years.

Originally designed with a Jeep chassis and outfitted with a Rover engine and aluminum panels, the first iterations were dark green, due to an overflow of material from the war. The car was successful off the bat—British drivers flocked to it out of patriotism and for its utilitarian capabilities. Over the years, the vehicle evolved from its first days as the Land Rover Series I, II and III to the modern-day Defender, which was an updated version of the older Series vehicles that debuted in 1991. Though comforts were improved upon, it was still considered a bare bones, rough-and-tough off-roading truck. The Defender was intended to appeal to the daily driver market, so it included newer and better engines, automatic gearboxes, leather trim, air conditioning, metallic paint and—finally—carpets.

Jackie Bryant Jackie is the Lifestyle Editor at Her freelance work has appeared at, Harper's Bazaar, The Infatuation, and Locale Magazine. Her favorite vices are peaty alcohol, rich textiles, far-flung hotels, and all food from any part of the world that can be found in a dumpling-like format. She can usually be found hanging out in her current homes of San ...(Read More)

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