The 1,000,000-km Land Rover Defender Is Amazing But Looks Like Hell

I love Land Rover Defenders. They are objectively cool. However, I love poking fun at the trend of buying six-figure Landies, because as objectively cool as they are, they might also be equally as objectively no more than tractors. For as much as I like to dunk on the rich for grossly overspending on the Hamptons Wrangler, this 1,000,000-km Land Rover Defender makes me eat my own words a little – but only a little. 

1,000,000 km Land Rover Defender profile
1,000,000 km Land Rover Defender | Passy via YouTube

How many miles will a Land Rover Defender last? 

After reading about this one, the answer might be: however long you care to drive one. The car in question is a 1994 Land Rover Defender 110. According to the video reposted by The Drive, the owner claims that his Defender 110 has done 1,000,000 kilometers (620,000 miles), and it looks like it. 

In the video, he shows the odometer reading only 100,000 km (62,000 miles), but this is not the first time the odometer had shown this mileage before it rolled over and started again. 

How does this Defender 110 still run? 

You really don’t need to see the odometer to know this truck has been through it a few times. The body is so worn out that the best we can tell is that at some point, it may have been white(?); it’s really anyone’s guess. 

I can’t decide if the interior looks more like the truck you found and hotwired in the zombie apocalypse, crashed through a crowd of Zs, and abandoned at the LZ at the quarry; or the interior of a ramshackle spaceship that the hero of the film looks at in the beginning of the movie and says something like, “There she is. Don’t worry. She’s better than she looks.” Meanwhile, the crew is rolling their eyes. Whichever it is, this thing looks like Hell from the outside and even worse inside. 

For reference, starting the Defender goes as follows: first, you flick a switch labeled as “heated seats” that dangles under the dash, and a loose-hanging bulb lights up. The switch has been repurposed to engage the car’s electrical system, akin to turning the key to the “On” position in a normal vehicle. There’s no working starter motor, so the Defender must be push-started. 

Are diesel Land Rovers worth it?

Land Rover 300 Tdi engine
1,000,000 km Land Rover Defender | Passy via YouTube

The 2.5-liter turbodiesel, or Land Rover 300 Tdi, is running despite having 620,000 miles on the clock, so I’d say it’s pretty damn worth it. Not to mention, these tend to be the more affordable configuration, as opposed to the gas-powered Defenders. 

This 300 Tdi debuted in 1994, the same year as this truck. According to The Drive, It remained in production until 2006. In case you were wondering, dear reader, this diesel makes a thundering 111 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque – well, at least it did when it was new. Something tells me those days are gone gone. 

This one has a pile of funny modifications that were clearly done for necessity, abandoning any other pretense. The exhaust comes out of a dangling hose, there’s no radiator cap, there are holes from where the shock towers pushed through, and the list goes on. 

Lastly, in lieu of a proper fuel tank (we can assume it rotted away a decade ago), there is a yellow jug that lives in the surprisingly tidy engine compartment. 

We said all this to say; that the Land Rover Defender is one of those rare items that is so perfectly crude, rough, and messy that it allows such a wide margin for error that it just kind of works.

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