We have recently completed restoration on this 1985 Land Rover Defender 110 and it is now up for sale! This is NAO-005, our fifth NAO Expedition Package Land Rover. Please view the photos below and feel free to ask questions.
About the Land Rover
Offered for sale is a 1985 Land Rover Defender 110, 2 door hardtop with 300tdi turbo diesel and left-hand-drive. It is badged NAO-005 the fifth NAO Expedition Package vehicle we have built. I own a Land Rover restoration shop called North America Overland. We restored this Land Rover to have in our inventory as a solution for customers who do not have a 110 suitable for restoration or do not want to wait about 2 years for us to get their vehicle in and restore it. The Land Rover has under 200 miles on it since restoration, mainly to break in the engine, it has passed out test drive check-list and is now ready for the next owner to drive and enjoy. The goal of this project was not only to restore the vehicle but to improve it by picking and choosing the best parts used across the Defender's 33 years of production. This means we used the later body panels like the stronger, galvanized steel rear door, we used side panels with siding windows and smooth roof. We used the Land Rover 300tdi turbo diesel, the last of Land Rover's mechanically injected diesels with the reliable Bosch injection system. We had an R380 transmission rebuilt with a higher ratio 5th gear to lower the RPMs and reduce engine noise above 65mph. We rebuilt a later 24 spline front differential and purchased a new "Puma" rear axle. The frame is the original unit with the original VIN stamped in it but it has been galvanized for rust resistance. The interior has been updated with front and rear, genuine Land Rover, 2007 and up style seats and the latest style genuine Land Rover headliner. The brakes have been upgraded to the latest version calipers, rotors, brake booster and master cylinder. All the parts used were either genuine Land Rover or a respected brand-name part, it is important to mention this because a genuine Land Rover part can cost more than double the cost of an aftermarket part, and as we know from experience, any aftermarket part made of rubber or having multiple moving parts will likely fail within a few years. Like all of our restorations, this Land Rover is built with the highest attention to detail, with parts that have been tested and proven in our restorations over the last 10 years that we have been in business. Series and Defender restoration is all we do.
All the body panels have been stripped to bare aluminum and assessed for damage. On this particular vehicle we found that the rear tub, front outer fenders, seat box, and doors had dents and corrosion and were therefore replaced with new genuine Land Rover parts. The bulkhead was sandblasted and had new floor panels welded in. The roof was replaced with a smooth roof so that an optional external roll cage can be fitted if so desired. The roof also has a factory sunroof and alpine windows. The body parts were then painted inside and out in NAO Expedition Matte Tan, a paint color that is unique to our NAO Expedition Package vehicles. The body was then assembled using all new hardware and the correct rivets. The sunroof was replaced with a new genuine Land Rover unit, the alpine windows have been installed in new rubber seals. The side panels were replaced with the newer style units with sliding side windows which have all been replaced with new genuine Land Rover units. Along with the side windows, the windshield and gasket have been replaced with new genuine Land Rover parts. The new rear tub has been modified with a bulkhead removal bar to allow the seats to travel further back, making the seating position more comfortable for drivers six feet tall or taller. The door weatherstripping, hardtop seals, bulkhead to windshield seal and vent flap seals have been replaced new genuine Land Rover seals. The steel underbody components, inner fenders, underseat boxes and door sills have been galvanized for rust resistance. The front and rear door hinges have been replaced with genuine Land Rover rust resistant door hinges. For convenience we have keyed all the doors to open with the ignition key. To finish off the body we have installed genuine Land Rover fender flares, grille, grille badge and headlight bezels. The rear of the Land Rover has a badge with NAO-005 stamped in it as this is the 5th NAO Expedition Package Land Rover we have built.
The engine is a 300tdi sourced from a late 90s Defender. The main advantage of the 300tdi is its simplicity, it only requires one wire to the fuel solenoid, to run. The lack of electrical sensors and computer is an advantage as well; reliable electrical systems were never Land Rover's strength. The motor in stock form makes about 115 hp and 195 ft lbs of torque, we have added an Allipsort Turbo to this vehicle so we expect a modest improvement over these numbers. The 300tdi has enough horsepower to propel the 110 down the highway but may be a bit sluggish on long hills depending on how heavily loaded it is. I have seen about 21mpg from my personal NAO Expedition Package 110. Another benefit of the 300tdi is that almost every part is still available from Land Rover, this cannot be said about the Rover V8 and the older diesel engines. The motor has been completely rebuilt. We had the short block and head rebuilt by our preferred machine shop. We then assembled the engine. Piston protrusion was measured to select the correct head gasket thickness and a new genuine Land Rover timing belt was installed with the proper tension. All ancillaries were replaced including the water pump, vacuum pump, alternator, power steering pump and belt tensioner and driven by a new serpentine belt. The cooling system was also completely replaced, we installed a new radiator, radiator hoses, fan clutch, thermostat, oil cooler lines, heater hoses, and the new style coolant expansion tank that is not prone to cracking. The glow plugs, air cleaner, air cleaner hose, intercooler and intercooler hoses have been replaced as well. We welded the tdi motor mounts to the frame in their factory position, this means that if any servicing is needed in the future all factory parts can be used. The motor was bolted to the frame using genuine Land Rover motor mounts, although four times the cost of aftermarket units, the rubber compound of genuine mounts absorbs the vibration of the diesel engine much better. Consistent with our goal of rust resistance, we have installed a stainless steel exhaust system. The engine sounds and runs great!
Transmission and Transfer Case
The transmission is the Land Rover R380, the factory transmission for the 300tdi. It was rebuilt by Ashcroft Transmissions LTD in the UK, one of the premier rebuilders of Land Rover transmissions. The transmission was rebuilt with a high ratio fifth gear from at the v8 version of the R380. A 300tdi with a stock transmission has a cruising speed of about 65mph. The addition of the high ratio fifth gear and Allisport turbo allows the Land Rover to cruise at 70 and still have reserve power for passing. I also specified that Ashcroft add the larger bearings used the TD5, 5 cylinder turbo diesel R380s. The transfer case was also rebuilt by Ashcroft, I specified they add their one-piece, high-strength cross shaft and cross drilled input gear to improve the strength and longevity of the unit. The transmission crossmember has been galvanized and new genuine Land Rover transmission mounts used. The driveshafts were replaced with new GKN units. The flywheel was resurfaced and a new AP clutch installed with an NSK throwout bearing and heavy duty clutch fork. The clutch hydraulic system was completely replaced with a new slave cylinder, push rod, hose, steel line and master cylinder- all genuine Land Rover. Even the shift knobs are new genuine Land Rover units. The transmission shifts smoothly, the Land Rover is a pleasure to drive.
Axles and Suspension
The original 10 spline front differential was replaced with a rebuilt 24 spline unit. The swivel assemblies were rebuilt with new bearings and seals and were shimmed to the correct preload. The wheel bearings and hub seals were replaced and new drive-flanges and Land Rover logo drive-flange caps used. The front axle housing has a galvanized steel differential guard. The rear axle is a brand new 110 "Puma" unit, the type that superseded the heavy and low-hanging Salisbury axle. All suspension bushings have been replaced. The springs are genuine Land Rover heavy duty units damped with Koni Heavy Track adjustable shocks. Discovery II rubber spring isolators are used in the front to reduce vibration and harshness. A new rear sway bar has been added to improve handling at highway speeds. The spring seats and shock towers were galvanized as well. It rides smooth, yet still maintains its impressive load carrying ability.
The frame was in above average condition. We replaced the rear crossmember and made some minor repairs to the outriggers it was then galvanized. The original VIN is still visible, stamped in the frame.
The interior was completely restored but kept as simple and original as possible. The front seats are brand new genuine Land Rover "Puma" seats in Mondus cloth. The rear seats are "puma" Mondus cloth fold-and-tumble seats. These seats fold up onto the wheel wells when not in use leaving a full 6' load bay. When in use, a small walkway between the seats makes for easy ingress and egress. Both front and rear seats have new Defender shoulder harnesses. The front floor has thick rubber acoustic matting and there is a thick rubber mat in the rear as well. A used left-hand-drive dash was sourced from an NAS Defender. The dash has been restored with a new gauge cluster cowl, gauge binnacle, upper dash, defroster bezels, windshield side trim, and door check strap covers. A Tuffy locking center console provides lockable storage, and has a cup holders large enough for a thermos, it is also the perfect height to use as an arm rest and still grip the wheel. The center console is wired for a radio but no unit is installed, the customer can have us install a head unit and speakers of their choice or do without and simply listen to the sound of the turbo diesel. The interior is topped off with a beautiful, genuine Land Rover headliner, a rare item as they are no longer available. A new heater assembly, control levels, heater switch and cables have been installed to ensure that the heater and defroster work efficiently and keeps the interior warm. A vintage Land Rover key fob provides the finishing touch.
The steering system has been completely rebuilt. The tie rod, drag link and tie rod ends are new. The tie rod is a heavy-duty, high-clearance unit. The steering box has been rebuilt, the drop arm is new as well as all the hoses, reservoir and pump. The Land Rover has been aligned and the steering stops adjusted. It steers effortlessly.
The entire braking system has been replaced. Unlike most modern cars, early Land Rovers used front brake rotors that are solid, without the vented space in the center. They also came with rear drums brakes that were not self-adjusting and need to be manually adjusted as the shoes wear. On top of that, the original, small brake booster did not provide much power assistance. We have upgraded the brake system to the later style Defender system. This means we use vented rotors up front with AP calipers. The new rear "Puma" axle came with Land Rover's latest style disc brakes. All new brake lines were installed made from Polyarmor, rust-resistant tubing and new braided stainless brake hoses were installed. A late 90s brake pedal box was sourced to allow use of a new, larger brake booster and late model master cylinder. The result is a safe and efficient brake system.
The entire electrical system was replaced. A new wiring harness was sourced from Autosparks in the UK. The early wiring is a clean, simple design, devoid of any computers or unnecessary complexity. However auto sparks did install a modern fuse box to their new harness, an improvement over the original glass fuses. All electrical components were replaced with new Lucas parts, this includes the turn signal switch, wiper switch, headlight switch, brake light switch and interior light switch. Two new-style interior lights were added to the headliner, one in the front and one in the back. The gauges were replaced with new VDO units that are much more accurate and reliable than the original gauges, they have better back lighting too. The speedometer was also replaced with a new VDO electric speedometer that has been gps calibrated. The odometer began at 0 when the restoration was completed. The headlights were upgraded to Truck Lite LED headlights, a huge improvement over the original sealed beam lights. The turn signals, parking lights, brake lights, and reverse lights have all been upgraded to LED lights as well, the turn signals have had the correct resistors installed so they flash at the correct speed. There is a Hella work light mounted to the back of the vehicle. The battery is a Sears Die Hard Platinum absorbed-glass-mat battery and all battery cables have been replaced with 2 gauge cable. Lighting was a big downfall of early Land Rovers, although LED lights are a departure from the original look but have been proven to have far better longevity and reliability.
The Land Rover's fuel system has been completely restored. The fuel tank has been replaced and is protected by a heavy-duty aluminum skidplate. The lift pump, fuel filter, fuel lines, and injector lines have been replaced. The Bosch injection pump and injectors have been rebuilt and the injection pump timing fine tuned.
Tires and Wheels
Goodyear Duratrac tires were selected in the stock tire size: 235 85 16 and are mounted to black Wolf wheels.
NAO Expedition Package Parts
The Land Rover was built with the NAO Expedition Package, a package of parts that enhance the vehicle's off road use. The most obvious addition is the winch and brash guard. Winch bumpers can add a lot of weight to the front of the Land Rover which adversely effects handling, with this in mind we installed a simple, light weight winch bumper and Warn 9000 lb winch. The Warn winch is made in the USA unlike many other name brand winches that are now made in China. The Brown Church brush guard is made in the UK and is the same model used on the Camel Trophy Expeditions of the 1980s and 90s, giving the Land Rover a proper expedition look without being too over-the-top, it can also be easily removed if a cleaner look is desired. The Land Rover has frame mounted Jate Ring recovery points front and back. Heavy-duty, galvanized and powder-coated rock sliders were installed to protect the side of the body and bumperettes installed to protect the rear of the quarter panels.
There are several options available for this vehicle, these parts are currently in our inventory at NAO and can be added at an extra cost. One option is an external roll cage. Land Rovers bodies have almost no roll over protection, adding a roll cage adds a level of security while driving the Land Rover on the highway or off road. Other options include a raised air intake and limited slip differentials. Body color (Expedition Matte Tan) Wolf wheels are also in stock and can be installed if so desired.
This is a good opportunity to own a fully restored Defender 110 with the NAO Expedition Package. For us to build a Land Rover like this would likely cost much more than our asking price because many of the genuine Land Rover parts used have since gone unavailable or have increased drastically in price. For example the new seat box when purchased in 2016 was about $380, the same unit now costs $2359. We also have a one year wait and a restoration takes about one year to complete. This is the only restored Defender we have for sale and it is ready for immediate sale. The Land Rover was built with long term ownership in mind and with correct care and maintenance it will virtually last a lifetime and provide many wonderful memories and experiences.
This Land Rover is very similar to my personal vehicle which I have driven all over the US and Canada and has been well tested in a variety of off-road environments. It is not simply a random assemblage of parts but a proven and carefully chosen package that works well in a wide variety of situations.
Specs for 1985 Land Rover 110
Transmission and Transfer Case
Tires and wheels