In October 2013 Land Rover announced that production would end in December 2015, after a continuous run of 67 years.
The model was introduced in 1983 as the "Land Rover Ninety" and the "Land Rover One Ten", with the numbers representing the wheelbase in inches. The number was spelled in full in advertising and in handbooks and manuals, and the vehicles also carried badges above the radiator grille which read "Land Rover 90" or "Land Rover 110", with the number rendered numerically. The Ninety and One Ten replaced the earlier Land Rover Series, and at the time of launch, the only other Land Rover model in production was the Range Rover.
Production of the model now known as the Defender began in 1983 as the Land Rover 110, a name which reflected the 110-inch (2,800 mm) length of the wheelbase. The Land Rover 90, with 93-inch (2,362 mm) wheelbase, and Land Rover 127, with 127-inch (3,226 mm) wheelbase, soon followed.
This period saw Land Rover market the utility Land Rover as a private recreational vehicle. While the basic pick-up, station wagon and van versions were still working vehicles, the County station wagons were sold as multi-purpose family vehicles, featuring improved interior trim and more comfortable seats. This change was reflected in Land Rover starting what had long been common practice in the car industry — detail changes and improvements to the County model from year to year in order to attract new buyers and to encourage existing owners to trade in for a new vehicle. These changes included different exterior styling graphics and colour options, and the introduction of new options, such as radio-cassette players, styled wheels, headlamp wash and wipe systems, as well as accessories such as surfboard carriers and bike racks. The switch from leaf spring to coil spring suspension was a key part of the new model's success. It offered improved off-road ability, load capacity, handling, and ride comfort.
Engines: 2.25 L 75 hp (56 kW) I4 petrol (1983–1985); 2.25 L 62 hp (46 kW) I4 diesel (1983); 2.5 L 68 hp (51 kW) I4 diesel (1984–1993); 2.5 L 83 hp (62 kW) I4 petrol (1985–1993); 2.5 L 85 hp (63 kW) I4 Turbodiesel (1986–1990); 3.5 L 113 hp (84 kW) V8 (1983–1986); 3.5 L 134 hp (100 kW) V8 (1986–1993)
Transmission: LT95 4-speed manual (110 early V8 engines only); LT77 5-speed manual; LT85 5-speed manual (90 and 110 V8)
Wheelbase: 92.9 in (2,360 mm) (90) / 110 in (2,794 mm) (110) / 127 in (3,226 mm) (127)
Length: 160.5 in (4,077 mm) (90) 181.1 in (4,600 mm) (110)
Width: 70.5 in (1,791 mm)
Height: 80.2 in (2,037 mm) (90) / 84 in (2,134 mm) (110)