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