This Defender 90 Wolf was developed directly for use by the Royal Marines as a vehicle that was capable of exiting a landing ship, traveling through up to 1.5-metre-deep water to reach and surpass the sandy shores with ease, and then continue to its destination in up to -46°c. Lest we forget, the vehicle must also get you backhome once all has been said and done. Let me tell you, that is no easy task, and there are plenty of important features in this rover to ensure its success.
The wading depth is helped to be attained through the use of a 300 TDi engine, as opposed to the TD5 which was being used in most factory Defenders / Discoveries at this time. The 300 TDi is said to be a more robust, well proven, and electronically simplified engine than the more modern TD5, and as such, is more attuned to being exposed to a higher water depth before being disabled. This, matched with the well-equipped snorkel, means the truck can wade deeper than the average civilian enthusiast 4x4 driver would even dare to take it.
Additionally, it was equipped with under seat and rear bench seat heaters, which was surely appreciated by the crew in any -46 degree weather. There’s a Webasto fuel heater to make sure it doesn’t have any fuelling issues in the cold. The rear cab is equipped with a hard top, which seems more practical for combatting the cold in such weather than the soft top option, which we’ve seen once before on Car & Classic.
Other upgrades over the civilian Defender would have been a full roll cage, heavy duty tow mounts and bumper, dash-integrated map light, extra-rigid roof rack mounts, side-mounted full-size spare wheel and tyre, and various other exterior mounting points for additional equipment.
The History and Paperwork
• Up to date V5
• Purchased directly from the MOD, barely driven since
• MOT valid until 20 April 2023
• Certified as owned by the MOD and used in service
The current owner had purchased the Defender with intentions to use it offroad with his son but has since decided that the vehicle was too rare and pristine to be used in this capacity. While it is perfectly capable and more than willing to live up to the owner’s needs, they’ve since purchased a different 4x4 for that activity and want this piece of military history to be enjoyed by someone else.
This Defender has not seen much action since it left the MOD’s possession, and as such has not incurred many miles since then, leaving it still extremely mechanically sound. It goes without saying, that these Defenders were meticulously maintained by the MOD throughout its service life, as the Royal Marines depended on them as a matter of life and death. In addition to maintenance, they were also kept clean and tidy to prevent corrosion and unnecessary wear leading to any failures on the field. Not only is it one of the rarest Defender models ever produced, but it’s also in significantly better condition than the majority of offroad trucks of this age.
• Rugged and utilitarian, no-frills military-spec interior
• All electrical equipment said to be in working order
• Little signs of wear and use inside
The Interior. Well, let us first start by saying this is not a vehicle for you to bring your nan to Sunday service in. However, it is made specifically and invariably for a different kind of service; the kind of service which involves dismounting a landing craft at sea. With that being said, as enthusiasts of offroad vehicles will tell you, it is a visage of pure utilitarian beauty. You’ll find nothing in this interior that has not been placed with absolute essential purpose. There is not anything left over from the civilian version of the vehicle which was not met with the thought and consideration of pure necessity.
Now that that is out of the way, hopefully it is understandable that the condition of this vehicle’s interior itself, based on the above notions, is more reminiscent of patina than wear. That’s not to say that this Defender is in bad shape, it is in absolutely great and above average condition. It is a stunning example of how well maintained these vehicles are kept by the MOD. The current owner states that all electronics and instrumentation is in working order.
There are some things to mention. Firstly, the waterproofed Bowman radio system has been retained by the MOD, as is standard for most, if not all, vehicles being removed from service and placed in the hands of their civilian keepers. Secondly, the vehicle did not come with a dashboard from the MOD, and as such, a genuine replacement dash has been sourced and fitted which had the now current reading of 44,396km at the time we’re writing this. The actual mileage is something right above the 52,322 unwarranted kms stated in the MOD sales description. Third, there are still some signs of wear and use, but they’re not by any means obtrusive or off-putting in their severity. There’s a small 5cm split in the passenger’s seat. There are also some signs of wear on the interior soft-top cover which resides underneath the hard top. These signs of wear are all documented in the photos provided in this listing. This example also has a multi-battery compartment in the rear, and as such does not have the bench seats as would normally be seen.
• Straight body and hardtop
• Extremely clean underbody
• Original NATO green paintwork in great shape
Stepping back to take an overall look at this Defender, it clearly was not designed with the expectation of winning the local Show & Shine. The vehicle does not invoke the spirit of a proper gleaming detailer’s delight and is more or less akin to that feeling you got when inspecting your American cousin’s eclectic gun collection; a touch of bewildered excitement. It is a thing of beauty but in its own particular way, the only way, and the best way, because it said so and that’s why. It’s a military vehicle.
This Defender is in great shape. There are some unobtrusive imperfections: notably a small ding and crack in the paint on the bonnet, and some medium to heavy scuff marks on the rear driver’s side bit of the hard top. The labelling on the exterior mounted spare tire has been baked by the sun. All of these issues are, in the mind of an enthusiast and collector, signs of its actual use, and this patina adds historical significance to the vehicle as opposed to it detracting from the overall appearance.
You may have noticed that there are some empty exterior mounting apparatuses on the top of the bonnet and sides. Not all of the original tools are present in the sale, as they were not provided when the vehicle was auctioned off from the MOD. However, this provides you with your own opportunity to build your bespoke toolkit.
The window glass, rear window, and front windshield are all in good condition, rather tidy and with the usual marks expected from normal use, but nothing larger than a small stone impact.
The heavy duty bumpers and towing equipment are all in great shape, but with some signs of exterior corrosion from its active duty days.
The headlight and taillight lenses are clear and the indicator lenses are surprisingly shiny, and show no hint of any fading from the sun so often associated with a car of this age.
The original wheels are perfectly fine for use as they are but could benefit from a refurbish if so desired as there are some signs of exterior corrosion. Two tyres were recently replaced, and all four are still in great shape. They’re all a matching set of Goodyears.
• 300 TDi motor is rugged and unstoppable
• Meticulously maintained by MOD
• Everything in excellent working order
The vehicle’s mechanics are in excellent working order. The MOD has maintained this vehicle to its absolute maximum, as the reliability of this Defender would have been a matter of personal safety for the Royal Marines lucky enough to drive this machine.
As stated earlier, the vehicle is powered by the tried and true 300 TDi engine which was fitted in various other Land Rovers and had been the engine of choice for Land Rover in their off roaders for over a decade. That being said, parts are cheap and plentiful when the truck needs to be routinely serviced.
The current owner reports the car to be in excellent mechanical condition with steering, brakes, engine, drivetrain and running gear performing as well as it should. Upon our short offroad venture to the photo destination, I was honestly surprised at how smooth this vehicle performed off the beaten path.
This vehicle has seen over 50k kms in active military duty and is a truly special piece of both British Military, and Land Rover history that both purist collectors and hardcore offroad enthusiasts can enjoy to the fullest extent of their needs. It is said to be one of less than 50 examples of the Winter and Water specification. It is as rare as they come when speaking about Land Rovers.
The absolute most important thing we must not forget, is that if you strip away all of the military history, the fact that it’s a ultra-rare Land Rover, and especially its clean outer appearance; at its heart it is a machine designed to get you anywhere, and then also get you back home. It is an absolute monster off road. It feels at home there. It craves adventure and has what feels like an ancestral drive to be used hard and without hesitation in any situation it finds itself in.
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Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.
As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.
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1999 Land Rover Defender TUL Wolf Winter Water Hardtop
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