Auction: One of the newest defenders of the original Land Rover

When I interviewed entrepreneur and adventurer Jeff Wellner in December about his plan to drive two vintage Land Rover Defender 110s from London East London to New York City, he bemoaned the cost of his favorite adventure vehicle. “It’s very valuable now,” he said. “You can’t get 110 for less than $100,000 in the US or Canada. I think the price of Defenders has gone up 50% since COVID started just because people are putting their money in cars.”

Asking outrageously priced original Defenders—that is, those made before Land Rover restyled the car—is not a new concept, and we agree that unless you’ve never had it, it’s best to buy something else (like new). But sometimes a Defender comes along and it’s definitely worth a hefty price.

Today, one of these vehicles has appeared: the 2016 Defender 110 Adventure, the last of its kind, and one of the last original Defender ever to hit the production line, which is currently up for auction through the Collecting Cars website.

“To celebrate the end of its 67-year production run, the Land Rover Defender celebrates three special editions: Autobiography, Heritage and Adventure,” the listing notes. On January 29, 2016, the two-door Heritage 90 was the last Defender to roll off the production line at the company’s famous Solihull plant in England after the original production line was discontinued. But earlier that month, the four-door Defender 110 Adventure up for auction was the last of its kind to be driven away, numbered 600 out of 600. The Adventure version includes upgrades like a breathing tube, roof racks, rear ladder and better protection For the lower body, among others.

As part of the listing, Collecting Cars provided a video of the event, in which factory workers lined up to celebrate the occasion. In addition, under the front passenger floor mat is the signature of the Land Rover Production Director at the time, another sign of the importance of this car.

Besides the iconic figure, this Defender has the distinction of having only driven 52 miles in his six-year life. “The car stays in original condition like new all the time,” the listing says, to no one’s surprise.

So how much will this lot be sold in the UK? At the time of writing, there were six days left at the auction and the highest bid was £35,250 (about $47,940). Collecting Cars expects that price to eventually reach £80,000 (about $108,500, for Willner’s money).

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