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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

Does anyone know of any good pre-purchase inspectors in the NYC/Brooklyn area for looking at a 1980s Defender 90? I didn't see a specific forum chat yet and Google seems to just be coming with generic firms. I feel like there must be a specialist group for classic cars or even Defenders specifically. I am out of state and want to make sure someone who knows what they are doing looks at the potential purchase and knows the Defender specific rust issues and knows how to examine for VIN tampering. So far Lemon Protector that services NY looks like my best bet.

Any help/guidance would be appreciated.


John L.
 

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I don’t know of any Land Rover specific pre purchase inspector but their are several repair shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan that know those trucks well and could do an inspection.
I’m in Brooklyn and would be happy to give a thorough going over to any truck you’re interested in for free. If you’re looking at the repainted RHD 90 I would keep looking.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply lcdck! I really appreciate your offer to look it over. I actually already hired Steve Linden (who was on Jay Leno’s show and is in the area also) to take a look on Thursday.

The one I am looking at is currently moss green but a UK car check showed it as gray at one point (not sure if that was just when it was in primer). The British Motor Museum verified it was made in 1985. It was also imported (and passed) with galvanized chassis. I’m still waiting to hear back from CBP that that was legal and they won’t come seize it down the road. I don’t want anything illegal.

Have you taken a look at the vehicle and passed on it yourself? If so, what makes you say to keep looking? I’ve factored the engine rebuild into the price and asked Steve to look closely for corrosion. I currently only see two in this price range in the country which would otherwise force me to learn how to import one I’ve been looking at in the UK.

Thanks in advance for your insights.

Respectfully,

John L.
 

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  • Moss Green was not a color available in 1985. If v5 look up shows it was grey prior that was most likely the original color, Pembroke Grey. Pretty much impossible to do a color change well on one of these without fully disassembling the vehicle. If it has a fully galvanized chassis ( many use a galvanized rear crewmember when making a frame rust repair but the rest of the chassis is not) it's clearly been apart, to what extent is up to your inspector to advise. You have factored in an engine rebuild into your purchase price ? Every engine offered in 1985 left a great deal to be desired, ie usually easier and cheaper to swap in something better. If a member here warned me off of a particular truck,having seen it, I'd heed that advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Uncle Douglas, I am no way attempting to ignore lcdck’s advice and am trying to be very receptive to forum members’ wisdom on this. I just posted my reply to him because it appears he is familiar with the specific vehicle (he is in the same area of NY as the seller) and he didn’t mention what caused him to pass on it specifically (that input could help the inspector and/or give me reason to abandon the due diligence process). I am a financial research analyst by trade so specifics are in my nature. It was basically a curiosity since the inspection is already paid for, scheduled, and a sunk cost at this point.

Thank you for your information on Pembrook Gray. I have so far have not been able to attain a V5C as the importer surrendered it to get the NY title and only current owners of the UK plates can get a V5C. I haven’t FOIA requests with the NY DMV yet. I found the gray remark on mycarcheck.com (recommended by my UK brother-in-law).

Thank you also for the commentary on the current 2.5l diesel engine. Both the importer and current owner have mentioned they once intended putting in a 300Tdi.

The galvanized chassis on import (told by some webpages it had to be stock chassis to pass - even though it did somehow) may cause the CBP to advise against this which will be final nail in the coffin of the due diligence.

Thank you for your time and efforts responding and I promise I am taking everyone’s commentary seriously.

It is sounding more and more like I need to abandon the idea of a Defender purchase for the time being.

Respectfully,

John L.
 

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No need for a V5. Thought that was what you were refering to in your color history comment. Most states require the original foreign registration be surrendered to title a vehicle.
That said, the plate number is all you need to look up MOT inspection history etc.

I like looking them up. A myriad of fail items ea inspection speaks to the level of maint a vehicle has received,as well as mileage between inspections, and gives a good window on what to expect.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Uncle Douglas, thank you very much for the MOT link. It also confirms it was gray at one point. I personally prefer the moss green but understand that lowers the value on any potential resale years down the line.

Assuming the vehicle doesn’t check out as worth it according to Steve Linden (my pre-purchase inspector), I suppose import will be my next best option for an “affordable” minimal rust Defender. Out of curiosity, what is a ballpark average cost of hiring you for the full import service? I understand every case is different. My email is [email protected] if you would rather not disclose prices on the forum. I am a little intimidated by the paperwork and logistics personally on my first Defender.

Thank you again for your time and experience on this forum.

Respectfully,

John L
 

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ROW trucks resale value isnt going to impacted by a repaint, its not a collector vehicle. I'd say buy what you want with the engine you want. buying an all origial 85 is going to suck because the engines suck from that era.

if you want a factory galv frame or bulkhead, the only reliable place to get it is from a south African truck.

There was just a real nice nearly original 80s 90 with a 2.5TD that went on Bring a trailer for ~14k. Add another maybe 5k to put a usable engine in it and then add maybe 20% of the total purchase price to put aside for repairs/deferred maintenance/consumables in the first year if not buying from a trusted source.

Dont get hubg up on an all origial matching truck for a ROW, it literally means nothing...it probably makes it worth LESS
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Naplm00, thanks for your input! It sounds like an engine upgrade is mandatory for this case so I suppose compression issues with the original 2.5l diesel engine isn't all that bad. Except for engine work, thankfully I'm fairly skilled with electrics, bodywork, and painting (albeit with taking apart several 70s VW beetles and 80s BMWs rather than Defenders). My Dad used to paint private airplanes for a living and has a paint booth which will be a plus for whichever Defender I end up buying.

I am mentally factoring in funds for engine upgrade/replacement and major maintenance for all that I'm looking at. Whichever one I purchase will have it's own "rainy day fund".

Thank you for taking the time to write. I really appreciate it.

Respectfully,

John L.
 

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Yep,

There are plenty of people here who totally **** on the TDI engines. I've had mine for about a decade now 200tdi And absolutely love it. As long as you're not trying to win any races it's totally usable.

My truck is an 83/84 110
 

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Hey John. The one you are looking it is not the one I thought it might be. The one I’ve seen doesn’t have a galvanized chassis and will probably need a new chassis soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Lcdck, thank you for the response. Yeah the one I have an inspector looking at this morning appears to have a Richards chassis or something similar. Hopefully the inspector can shed more light on it soon. The current owner volunteered his full car jack (he buys and sells cars for movie studios).

I really appreciate you reaching back out.

Respectfully,

John L.
 

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Anytime. If someone took the time to do a chassis swap and repaint, I would think (hope) that they took care of any rust issues as well. The 2.5 NA Diesel engine is very slow but very reliable and there are more and more engine swap options available every couple years it seems (Cummins 2.8, LS, Chevy 250 or 295) as well as the more recent Land Rover diesels (200/300tdi, even the 2.2 Puma) Sounds like it has the potential to be a good truck. One thing nearly all defender owners realize is that these trucks are projects, even if you get a good one. But starting with a galvanized chassis and a rust free bulkhead will eliminate a lot of work down the road. Good luck!
 

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Don't waste your precious time and money on rusty RHD Defenders, especially with that engine!

There are plenty of sellers who can offer well sorted original rust free 200/300tdi Defender 90s for around $30k titled in the US. Guys like Ken at www.Surfside4x4.com or Michael Riverhouse) often have stock.

A decent 200tdi engine is plenty fast enough for most usage, they cruise at 60mph easily and accelerate well. Thing is a large amount of 25 year old engines are tired, down on compression, require injector pump rebuilds or a new turbo so generally well down on power. However get a decent one and they go really well.
 
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