Bringing Daisy home

Daisy is a 1997 Japan Specification Land Rover Defender 90 (#594) that was made for the Japanese market, after a few years in the Tokyo area spent most of its life near Osaka driven and cared for by a Japanese woman, and is largely original still and in reasonable shape for a 27-year-old vehicle. Beginning in 2021 it has entered its next phase of life, coming to Canada, and is very slowly being renewed as-needed and enjoyed along the way. After a couple of years of hunting and several months of emails and phone calls it is good to finally get her to the island, we are grateful for the guys at Winding Road Motorcars doing the heavy lifting to get the vehicle most of the way home.

1997 was the last year Defenders were made for the Japanese and North American markets due to the increasingly stringent and heavy-handed safety regulations being introduced. It was also the only year that an automatic transmission was offered. The NAS and JAS are almost identical, even to the point of being left-hand-drive, powered by the rover 4.0L V8 petrol used in the earlier Range Rovers, the same tubular front bush/bull bar and rear bumper/step/receiver added to the rear cross member, and an external/internal roll cage over the front seats. Two visible differences are the speedometer in km/h rather than mph, and the amber sidelights are farther back and smaller on the Japanese model (though here almost always found replaced with North American size, as in this case).

While Defenders of this era are quite a bit more “modern” than the 30-years-senior Series 2a, they still retain almost identical (aluminum) body proportions and form, the boxy, tall shape, with dash vents and a general utilitarian simplicity. Major visible differences include a wider track (and extended wheel arches to compensate), single piece rather than split windscreen, headlights moved off to the front of the wings (fenders) rather than centered on the grille, windows that roll down rather than slide, and slight changes to the roof construction.

Unlike the Series, Defenders run full time 4WD, have coil springs rather than leaf springs, and tend to have more interior treatments such as carpet, headliners, soft dash, and cloth seats. This 90″ wheelbase variant in Arctic White has classic Rover steel wheels with slightly up-sized tires, two doors with folding steps in the front, seats two up front, has four single jump seats in the back, a hardtop with sunroof, upper alpine windows and sliding side windows, and a safari door in the back.

See all posts related to Daisy’s journey, restoration, and adventures