Find of the Week: 1997 Land Rover Defender 6x6

Want a 6x6 without the mid-six-figure price tag of the Mercedes G 63 or a Hennessey monster creation? With a whole lot more stiff-upper-lip British character? Then this might be exactly what you're looking for. This autoTRADER.ca Find of the Week says six wheels are better than four. It's a 1997 Land Rover Defender 110. Plus 40 or so.

The Land Rover Defender is the vehicle that continued the line of work-ready, off-road Landies that started with the original Land Rover Series vehicles in 1948. The Series line was replaced in 1983 with the Land Rover One Ten, referring to the wheelbase of the revised model in inches. When Land Rover introduced the Discovery in 1989, the One Ten (by then joined by the actually 93-inch Land Rover Ninety) needed a new name to help differentiate the old one from the Disco.

Enter the Defender brand. The Defender 90 and 110 still carried the wheelbase in the name, but made themselves more distinct from the Discovery. In case you couldn't tell by looking at them.

Production of the legendary off-roader ended in 2016, 67 years after its introduction.

During the life of the Defender, it was used to, well, defend. By armed forces around the world including the UK and Australia. And countless other countries and governments including even the US.

They were also used by police departments, as ambulances, and as rescue vehicles that could get places other vehicles could not. They were converted to mobile workshops, generators, pumps, just about everything you could do with a vehicle.

They were even converted to fire engines. Which is how this one started life.

To help handle the heavier loads of things like water pumps and tanks, adding a third axle at the back was a good choice. More wheels and tires helped with weight and stability.

One of the companies who did these types of conversions was Carmichael. They built a wide range of fire and rescue vehicles, including Defenders and even built on 6x6 Range Rovers before closing their doors last year.

The seller says that this one was originally sent to Africa, though didn't specify which country. It was originally a fire engine, complete with pump and tank on the back, but those bits have been removed in place of more conventional bodywork. Which makes it a little easier to justify having around. Not everybody wants their own fire engine, after all.

Many of the six-wheeled commercial versions, this one included, originally came with the ubiquitous Rover V8. The 3.5L and later 3.9L V8s offered more power than the diesels could provide. Which might seem like an advantage with a heavy load on the back when it's going to be sitting at the fire hall most of the time. But if you want to actually drive it, you'll want the diesel.

This one, then, has already been converted – to the 300Tdi engine that was introduced in 1994. Actually 2.5L, the all-new engine got the 300 name to set it apart from the previous 200Tdi that was also 2.5L. The turbodiesel put out 122 hp and delivered 210 lb-ft of torque from 1,800 rpm.

Since it's a Defender, it is, of course, four-wheel drive. But it's not six-wheel drive. That rear axle isn't powered, though there are kits available to make it powered.

Usually, our Find of the Week finds are mostly or completely restored and ready to go. This one, the seller says, needs the project to be completed. We're making a bit of an exception here because this is very much a one-of-a-kind vehicle. Really, when are you ever going to see another six-wheel Land Rover that used to be a fire truck? Exactly.

Use all that extra space for the ultimate overlanding camper. Make it a really cool work truck with sliding doors to help you access your gear. Or, we can't help but see this thing as the coolest sandwich truck ever to grace a rest stop on an Autoroute in Quebec. Whatever you think this Landie, for sale in Montreal, would be best suited for, it's undeniably cool.

Six beats four 8/7/2019 9:20:00 AM