A Rarely Seen Car: The „American” Land Rover

A Rarely Seen Car: The „American” Land Rover

When it comes to rare vehicles, it’s very difficult to find the edition of the Defender that was made for the US, the North American Spec (NAS).

When it comes to rare vehicles, it’s very difficult to find the edition of the Defender that was made for the US, the North American Spec (NAS).

Although about 16,000 Series Land Rovers were imported into North America from 1949 to 1974, most of them were the short wheel base Series model 88″ and the long wheel base model 109″. The model 109 was imported into the US until 1968, while the model 88 was imported until 1974.

Almost two decades later, in 1992, a special version of the Defender 110 with roof racks, was imported into North America: 500 went to the United States, and 25 to Canada.

Image source: Bonhams.com

The Defender was widely sold in most areas of the world as a utility vehicle, except North America. The regulations and requirements for this style of vehicle were vastly different in North America, and that meant Land Rover had to produce a batch of Defenders that were specifically built to meet these regulations, hence the North American Spec (NAS).

Image source: Bonhams.com

The 110 NAS was a special American-market model, meant to whet the appetite of Land Rover buyers in the US. The fact that all these models had a white exterior finish made them even more interesting.

The NAS vehicles were also the first examples of the Defender model (after the Series Land Rovers) to be modified to US-market specifications from the factory, which until that time had been left to various gray-market importers.

Image source: bringatrailer.com

In 1993, Land Rover North America (LRNA) started to import the North American Spec (NAS) Defender 90 for both the U.S. and Canada with features that included a 3.9-liter V8 Rover block (182 bhp at 4,750 rpm), full external and internal roll cages, brush guards, safety lights, and air conditioner.

Image source: bringatrailer.com

From 1994 to 1995, the majority of the NAS Defenders produced for the U.S. were a soft-top version that later featured a removable fiberglass top instead. The standard colors were Conniston Green, Portifino Red, Arles Blue, Beluga Black, Alpine White, and AA yellow. About 3100 soft top and plastic top models were imported. Towards the end of 1995 LRNA imported and additional 500 Defender 90 Station Wagons with metal hardtop and a rear door.

It’s intersting that there were no 1996 model Defenders imported.

In 1997 altogether 1,499 soft-tops imported for the model’s final year in the North American market, and it is finished in AA Yellow.

Power is provided by a 4.0-liter V8 engine paired with a four-speed automatic transmission and a two-speed transfer case, and the equipment includes auxiliary lighting, brush guards, 16″ wheels, and air conditioning.

Ultimately, around only 7,000 of the NAS Defenders arrived in the US and that’s why they are still extremely rare.

Peter Faidt

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