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Double Cab Survivor: 1987 Land Rover Defender

This 1987 Land Rover Defender Double Cab is a former Welsh police vehicle that is now in retirement and is living the quiet life in Layton, Utah. It is a solid and clean vehicle with enough V8 muscle to take its next owner wherever they would like to go. If you fancy owning a classic off-roader and can cope with right-hand-drive, you will find the Defender listed for sale here on eBay. With bidding now sitting at $20,699, it seems that there are people out there who really fancy attacking the wilds in a British classic.

Looking over the Defender, it is obvious that the vehicle has seen some action in the past. The overall condition is quite good, but there are a few marks and dings on the body. With a vehicle like this, it probably isn’t something to get too distressed over. It means that the next owner can tackle those rough tracks without the stress of worrying about what damage they might do to the appearance of their pristine off-roader. The owner provides plenty of photos of the underside of the vehicle, and the frame looks to be rock solid. The new wheels and tires give the Defender a pretty tough stance, and will certainly help get a grip on Planet Earth when the going gets tough.

The lack of carpet or mats means that life inside the Land Rover is likely to be pretty noisy. It also means that removing the sort of mud and gunk that can find its way into a vehicle like this would be pretty easy to clean up. Personally, I’d probably look at grabbing a set of decent rubber floor mats, because they would lower the noise levels, but still mean that cleaning was pretty easy. Cloth upholstery gives a touch of luxury when compared to vinyl, but the driver’s seat is certainly demonstrating all the signs of wear and tear. The upholstery itself is quite dirty, while the padding has developed a noticeable sag to it. The rest of the interior trim looks like it could do with a really good clean to return it to its best. One really neat trick that I’ve seen with these is to buy aftermarket slipcovers for the seats made from the same material that wet-suits are made from. These protect the seats nicely but are very easy to clean when things have gotten muddy. The Double Cab is also a bonus because that means that the Defender is a true 5-seater, which means that the whole gang can go on your next adventure with you.

Finding the 3.5-liter V8 under the hood of a Land Rover of this vintage is no bad thing. Where the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder produces 83hp, the 3.5 ups the stakes to 131hp. This makes life infinitely easier off-road, but also make the Defender a more effortless cruiser on the highway. This engine also provides a welcome boost in torque, which can make the hard going that bit easier. Backing that V8 is a 5-speed manual transmission, while it also appears that you get power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning. The owner says that the Defender has only traveled 30,000 original miles, which is certainly conceivable for a former police vehicle. He also states that the Defender is a blast to drive, which is something that I don’t find to be at all surprising.

There are plenty of Double Cab 4-wheel-drive pickups kicking around on our roads today, but this Land Rover Defender offers something completely different. They are renowned for their off-road ability, and the V8 engine will make this one a fairly pleasant thing on the highway. It is also something a bit different to tackle the wilds in, and one thing is for certain: When you reach your ultimate destination, there isn’t a lot of chance that you will find an identical vehicle awaiting your arrival.


  1. Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Decisions, decisions..American CJ 8 or British Defender? Inline 6 or V 8? Right side steering or left? Seating for 2 or 5? Hmmmm…The answer is-NEITHER!!
    So saith my CFO who frowned when asked, otherwise they’d both be in my garage.

    C’mon, Powerball/Megamillions/Lottery ticket!!!

    Like 6
  2. Russell

    It is not the steering wheel on the “wrong side” that will drive you batty … but, having to shift with your left hand!

    Like 1
    • CCFisher

      The driver’s seat isn’t the odd place to be in a right-hand-drive vehicle, the front passenger seat is. You find yourself madly stabbing at the floor in search of the brake pedal.

      Like 3
      • morton

        You will find that left hand gear changing combined with left foot clutch operation actually makes sense and is a lot faster.
        Plus it makes sense to be seated on the right as not much hand shaking is done with the left hand. Not to mention pistol shooting.
        Just a thought.

        Like 4
  3. Trevor

    In having owned and 82 Land Rover right hand drive before, when you’re driving it you feel like you’re in the ditch! Drive Throughs are a bit of a pain if you do not have a passenger! And make sure when you drive it you have plenty of time to talk to people wherever you stop

    Like 2
  4. Karl

    The Defender is a pretty good vehicle and the V8 has proven to be reliable and pretty long lived. Defenders take off road back to where it belongs, they are noisy have minimal amenities pertaining to comfort they are vary capable off road and retain their value much better than just about any American built 4×4. Very decent vehicle

    Like 2
  5. Andrew

    Personally CJ8 everytime over a UK Land Rover. I would recommend on any UK Land Rover for an in person inspection, with a local LR guy that has no skin in the game.

    Like 0

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