Million-Kilometer Land Rover Defender 110 Still Running Thanks to Rural Engineering

The diesel tank is a plastic jug, and the ignition is just a bunch of loose wires. But then there’s the exhaust…

byLewin DayJul 29, 2022 9:09 AM
Million-Kilometer Land Rover Defender 110 Still Running Thanks to Rural Engineering
YouTube/Passy
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Have you ever wondered just how rough a Land Rover Defender can get while still being able to run and drive? Wonder no more, because a perfectly-dilapidated example was recently found in the Congo, and was featured on the Passy YouTube channel.

The vehicle in question is a 1994 Land Rover Defender 110. A quick glance at the gauge cluster shows just over 100,000 km (62,000 mi) on the clock. The video asserts that the Land Rover has done over 1,000,000 km (620,000 mi), suggesting the six-digit odometer has rolled over and started from the beginning again.

Right away, you get the sense that this is a vehicle that has seen some things. There are hints that it was once white, maybe, but the body is battered and worn and all over. Inside, there are wires akimbo under the dash while the torn-up seats have seen more butts than Seymour Butts.

Starting the car is a simple process. First, you hit a switch labeled for heated seats that's dangling under the dash, and a loose-hanging bulb lights up. The switch has been repurposed to energize the car's electrical system, akin to turning the key to the "On" position in a normal vehicle. There's no working starter motor, though. The Defender must be push-started instead.

The engine bay is tidier than you might expect. Diesel cars of this age didn't bother with lots of wires or emissions controls, after all. The venerable 2.5-liter turbodiesel seen here is known as the Land Rover 300Tdi. That engine debuted in the 1994 model year and stayed in production until 2006. It was good for 111 hp and 195 pound-feet of torque when new.

Look closer though, and you'll find plenty to chuckle at. Exhaust is freely flowing out of a random hose dangling in the right front wheel well. There's no radiator cap, either. This is commonly done when driving a vehicle with a blown head gasket. It lets the coolant system run in a less-efficient unpressurized manner that reduces the amount of fluid lost through the leak.

One can even see daylight through the body where the shock towers have come through. That's not as bad as it looks though, as the suspension is mounted to the Defender's ladder frame, not the fenders.

As a bonus, we get to see the refueling process for this janky four-wheeler. In place of a proper fuel tank, there's just a yellow jug that lives in the engine bay with a pickup hose dangling inside. It's topped up with fresh diesel from a jerry can while the engine clatters along just inches away.

The Land Rover Defender is one of those simple vehicles that just keeps going, no matter what. It may be battered and bruised, but it shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com