Land Rover Defender Heritage: US Launch (NAS Defender 110 –1993)

Land Rover Defender for Sale in USA

For decades the Land Rover, in a variety of series and models, was known in Europe and the U.K. as an off-road vehicle and workhorse of unparallel ability. Humbly built in the shadows of World War II, it was designed with utility in mind, but over time became a leader in performance as well as versatility. A few were taken across the pond, but mostly the legend is only what made its way to the shores of America. That all changed in 1993 when Land Rover launched the Land Rover Defender in the U.S., known as the NAS 110.

The vehicle had been sold on North American soil since the mid-1980s, but the NAS Defender 110 marked the first time in decades that the utility version of the car was solid. NAS stands for North American Specification, and this acronym was apt because the truck had to jump through a variety of regulatory hoops to be allowed on United States roads. The D.O.T. required changes that ranged from lighting to basic safety features, all of which made the NAS Defender 110 that began selling in 1993 to be a highly customized and hybrid vehicle compared to its overseas siblings. This uniqueness, in a way, is now seen as part of the American Defender’s legacy.

The original fleet was only available in white, and 500 were shipped to the United States (with 25 going to Canada). They featured a 3.9-liter V8 petrol engine with a manual transmission, and all had external roll-cages. These original 1993 NAS Defenders were rare and limited, considered to this day to be a treasured and mysterious object to own and behold. Oprah Winfrey and Ralph Lauren (who painted his standout NAS 110’s black), were two notable celebrities with one of the original 500 in their garages.

NAS models were created in subsequent years throughout the 1990s with a range of modifications. In 1994 and 1995, Land Rover sold the Defender 90, which still featured a manual transmission, and often, a soft-top. Automatic transmissions, in fact, were only offered during the final year of production, which occurred for the utility vehicle in 1997. Sales of the NAS Defenders were always small, and due to a series of new late 90’s governmental regulations (basically having to do with side airbags that would have been very cumbersome to sculpt into the Defenders unique frame), Land Rover put an end to NAS Defender production, and focused on different makes and models for the United States.

But the Land Rover Defender in the U.S. lives on. Post-production modifications, along with the rugged reliability of the Defender, made it an instant luxury favorite. Customizations in the U.S. are done best by the experts at East Coast Defender. We can make art out of a luxury truck: contact us today at 407-483-4825 or e-mail us at for more information.

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