Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: This page is just a primer on importing Defenders to the US.  Check around the blog for a more detailed description of the importing process.

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There are a few governing rules when it comes to importing vehicles. They fall into the following categories:

  1. Legal Requirements
  2. Mechanical Requirements
  3. Inventory Availability

Legal Requirements to Import a Land Rover Defender

We will address the legal requirement first.  According to the US Customs and Border Control Website:

“Before you decide to import a vehicle or vehicle parts into the United States, you should ensure that it conforms to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Both the DOT and the EPA advise that although a nonconforming car may be conditionally admitted, the modification required to bring it into compliance may be so extensive and costly for vehicles that were not originally manufactured for the U.S. market. It is highly recommended that these prohibitions and modifications be investigated before a vehicle’s purchased for parts and/or importation.”

Translation: follow the rules or they will make sure it’s a costly mistake. The fortunate part (for you) is that we’ve figured out all the rules, have all the proper paperwork in place, and have people that can help use get your dream vehicle to its new home. The short version of the story is that the vehicle must be 25 years old and have proper documentation, with matching VIN numbers, and original spec motors.

Vehicles Available for Import

In 2017, the newest Land Rover Defender available for import would be a 1992. Even more specifically, it must be 25 years old from the date of manufacture by the time it hits the US port. This can be difficult to track down, as most UK V5 titles list only the first registration date. Most VIN numbers only give you a range of when they were manufactured.

UPDATE: January 2021

The overall market for vintage Land Rover Defenders imported to the US has gone up considerably over the past three years. Part of this is due to supply and demand, but there are also several other factors in play.  Rising fuel costs, shipping costs, labor costs, and market supply are the major players.  We have updated our pricing below to reflect current market conditions and will do our best to stay on top of the trends over the summer.

Covid-19 Note:  Prices have been all over the board for parts and donor trucks.  We’re widening our price ranges to reflect that.  Additionally, we are seeing a lot of cheap Defenders being dumped in the US that had failed MOT tests in their home country and are showing up here rusted out and with dogs of engines. Beware of anyone selling something that looks too dressed up, but doesn’t have any history or documentation of mechanical work.  We can spot the photos from people who have just created something to look good for photos to sell to the US market.

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Our goal is to provide the highest quality Defenders in the United States at the most reasonable cost. We would be surprised if you found a comparable Defender at the prices we offer. We can do this because we keep our overhead down as much as possible.  We keep things simple with the single goal of helping good people get good cars.

We track the global Land Rover Defender market on a daily and weekly basis to make sure our pricing is fair. We have developed a tiered approach to pricing, which helps us establish a baseline pricing, helping us decide which vehicles are viable options for people here in the states. Our goal is to be at least 10-20% less than similar vehicles around the country.

These prices are for base Defenders, not custom builds. LHD should anticipate a 25-35% price increase due to demand and availability.  Accessories and customization generally add to these base numbers.

One thing that factors into pricing (if you’re looking on eBay or similar online marketplace) is the cost of shipping.  We will cover this in detail in other areas, but will list some simple pricing here:

East Coast to Minnesota Shipping – $750-$1,200

Minnesota to California/Seattle/Portland – $900 -$1,500

Anything inside 500 miles is usually $1-1.25 a mile.

We do have the ability to help negotiate rates directly with drivers, if you would like.


1-Jerry Can Defenders ($14k-16k Defender 90 / $18-20k Defender 110) – RHD
1-Jerry Can Defenders ($20k-22k Defender 90 / $18-25k Defender 110) – LHD

These vehicles resemble Land Rover Defenders. They have 4 wheels, at least 2 doors, a motor, and likely a bit of rust (everywhere). If we’ve imported it, then it runs. At least enough to get on to the boat and on to a trailer. We avoid these at all costs, but if someone sells us a lemon, we will do this: offer it for sale for exactly what we paid for it.  If this is where you want to be at for your budget, you will end up paying thousands more to make it a reliable vehicle.


2-Jerry Can Defenders ($22k-26k Defender 90 / $28-32k Defender 110) – RHD
2-Jerry Can Defenders ($25k-29k Defender 90 / $35-45k Defender 110) – LHD

These are projects. They run and drive, but are probably not suitable for long trips or going anyplace where it’s important to arrive on time. Often times these vehicles are mechanically fine, but may come with hidden rust issues. We do a pretty extensive inspection when we source our Defenders, but sometimes sellers can conceal some of these elements, or make cosmetic repairs that make it look fine, but once we dig deeper into our restorations they come to light. As running and driving projects, we would only recommend someone with good mechanical skills take on one of these projects.


3-Jerry Can Defenders ($25k-30k Defender 90 / $32-40k Defender 110) – RHD
3-Jerry Can Defenders ($30k-38k Defender 90 / $40-50k Defender 110) – LHD

These are running and driving Defenders who have had adventurous lives. They are mechanically solid and have been properly sorted. There may still be a few dings here and there, but overall they present well. If you brought a 3-Jerry Can Defender home without telling your better half, you may get a head shake, but you wouldn’t have to sleep in the garage (even if you wanted to … at least the first night). To be honest, my daily Defender driver is a good solid 3.  And I love her. She’s a driving restoration.


4-Jerry Can Defenders ($32k-45k Defender 90 / $40-55k Defender 110) – RHD
4-Jerry Can Defenders ($45k-55k Defender 90 / $59-65k Defender 110) – LHD

Our goal is to make sure every Defender we offer falls into the 4 to 4.5 range. This is the place where a good Defender should live. They start, stop, open, close, and all the panels are properly attached. There may be a tiny ding or faded paint on a panel, but if we’ve left it that way, it’s because it had character. On a 4, all the seals will have been replaced, valves adjusted, injectors swapped, and electrical elements should all be properly sorted. These are the kind of vehicles you can jump into and turn the key. But they’re also the kind of Defenders that you won’t be afraid to drive in the city or down a country road. They’re still 25 year old Land Rovers, so they’re not going to be perfect. If you wanted that you probably would have stopped reading a few Jerry cans ago.


5-Jerry Can Defenders ($45k-55k+ Defender 90 / $60-85k+ Defender 110)
5-Jerry Can Defenders ($55k-75k+ Defender 90 / $65-95k+ Defender 110)

Every once in a while we come across a Defender that stands above the rest. They’re 100% sorted, they are nearly mechanically perfect, and they’re ready for anything you throw at them. The fives are rare, but they do exist. It may be that we’ve added extras to her to make her special: roof rack, air-con, lift kit, fresh paint, etc.

Category: Pricing

Bishop+Rook started as a film production project focused on documenting the history and culture of Land Rovers across England. It wasn’t long before we realized there was a great need and desire from people in the US to experience these wonderful vehicles. After nearly a year of hard work and research our first batch of vehicles were shipped in and we begun the process of restoration in order to make them available to the public.

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