The Story Told by the Defender VIN Number

Land Rover Defender for sale USA

Land Rover Defenders are unique trucks due to their capabilities and design specifications, but another reason that they are extraordinary is a combination of how rare the vehicles actually are along with their lengthy history that dates back to World War II. Not only that, but Land Rover Defenders are now out of production, so to get your hands on one is truly a rare opportunity.

The Defender has a well-established community of admirers, and for them, any level of stock specification deserves categorization and recognition. By owning one, you become a part of this history, and knowing the background of your vehicle is particularly important when it is being built from the ground up. It could even impact future value, as enthusiasts have kept close track of the rarest variations of the Land Rover Defender over the years. To do so, you can better understand your Defender by simply understanding the particulars of its VIN number. We can help decode.

Start with very first three letters in the VIN, which are a straight-forward SAL (S for Europe, A for United Kingdom, L for Land Rover), and confirm that the truck is indeed made by Land Rover. The fourth and fifth digits of the VIN indicate the initial stock model code for the Defender. They are:

  • LB: Series III editions
  • LD: For a 90, 110, and 130 edition Defender (this LD will be found on every East Coast Defender build, as this is the exclusive category we create from).
  • LH: Generic Range Rover
  • LN: For a Freelander

Next, take note of the sixth digit, which signifies your wheelbase type. This runs from A to V for a variety of different series types, but A, S, and V will signify a 90 Defender (the S is for a 24-volt, the V an L/R wheelbase). B, H, and R signify the 110 (B equals a heavy duty model, R a 24-volt in this case), and C or K attribute themselves to a Defender 130.

The seventh and eighth number in the VIN stands for body type and original engine type. At East Coast Defender, we’ll be placing either a fully-rebuilt or new Chevrolet engine in your build, but the original stock types span the spectrum of a 2.25L, inline four-cylinder, petrol to a 4.0L GEMS V-8 engine. Researching the original engine type can be illuminating for the enthusiast.

Finally, one of the most crucial parts of the VIN comes in the identification of the model year and build location. Model year is pretty simple; look to the 10th digit, and if marked with an A, you have a 1979-84, and B indicates a 1984-86 model. From C to the number 9, simply add a year for each based on the next available letter or number (so C, equals 1986-87, K equals a 1992-93 build, 2 a 2001-2002 build, and so forth). For build location, use the following guide for the 11th digit.

  • A: Built at the factory in Solihull, England
  • F: Built worldwide
  • V: Built in South Africa

Just like that, the story of your fully customized and rebuilt Land Rover Defender comes more clearly into focus. For more information on how to start your own journey, contact East Coast Defender today at 407-483-4825 or e-mail us at

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