1996 Land Rover Defender 300 TDI. How To OEM Plus.

1996 Land Rover Defender 300TDI Cyprus

Before I dive into what makes this particular Defender special, I just wanted to share a few interesting facts about how the Land Rover Defender came to be. Since its inception in the 1940s, the Landrover was simply designed to rove the land, in other words, to move whatever the terrain. 

1996 Land Rover Defender 300TDI

From the 1940s to the late 1990s, the Land Rover went through three different generations, all of which varied in different ways, from engine size to suspension redesign. But the overall shape and name of each model stayed very close to the original.

1996 Land Rover Defender 300TDI wallpaper phone

Until 1990, the descendants of the original Land Rover were simply referred to by their “series” number and the length of their wheelbase in inches. In its debut in 1990, the original Land Rover gained its own name for the first time: Defender. As a nod to its service to the armed forces, the vehicle has kept the name ever since.

1996 Land Rover Defender 300TDI

There are very few cars on this planet that are as recognizable as the Land Rover. Having kept its original look pretty much to this date, the Land Rover cemented its shape in the automotive hall of fame and consequently created an Icon.

As Land rover puts it : 

”The Land Rover Defender is to the countryside what the black cab is to London. The Queen has one, Sir Winston Churchill had one and Sir David Attenborough uses one for his adventures. It’s the ultimate iconic British vehicle.”


An excellent example.

1996 Land Rover Defender 300TDI

As any Monday morning, I drove to work, parked my car. On my way to the office, I stumbled on this excellent example of a defender. – I just had to find the owner and learn more about this British icon. As you can see, I was successful.

1996 Land Rover Defender 300TDI lock screen

To my surprise, this Defender is owned by a university student that undertook this project in February 2021. Which at the time he made his childhood dream a reality and as you will see part of his business.

The iconic look

Despite the vehicle being in decent shape when he first acquired it, Alexandros being a car detailer by trade worked his magic to bring the factory-yes factory- paint in a better than new condition. Photographs make little justice to how smooth this 25-year-old paint is. The decals were remade to order and perfectly suit the vehicle since they follow a period-correct colour scheme and pattern. 

1996 Land Rover Defender 300TDI LED HEADLIGHTS

As you probably noticed by now, Led lights were used all around this build. Which definitely bring the Defender to the 21st Century. – Hell, it barely defers from a 2010 model. What you probably did not notice is that the front fog lights are not a standard item. Alexandros carefully slotted the front bar to fit them. To be honest, they seem right at home.

Other exterior additions include terrafirma wraparound bumperettes and a spare wheel carrier that takes away the stress of the spare wheel from the rear door. Other notable additions are the re-painted factory side steps and aftermarket air intake grills, along with a tow-hook borrowed from a Discovery. It’s also noteworthy that this is a factory AC car which explains the thicker grill and shut front window vents. 

Go anywhere in style


Personally, I believe what really gives this Defender that OEM plus feel is the choice of wheels. These aftermarket steelies measure in at 15×8 all around and wrap around 31×10,5 BF Goodrich all terrains give the Defender a purposeful look without sacrificing road use. 


Regarding the powertrain, the engine was given a complete overhaul making sure all the 110hp from the factory are available but most importantly all of the 265 nm of torque.

The cherry on the Top.

1996 Land Rover Defender 300TDI interior

What really stole my heart on this build though, was the interior. Usually, this is the least looked after place on any build but not this one. The headliner was wrapped in Alcantra and the seats along with a custom handmade cupholder setup were wrapped in a lovely tan leather.

1996 Land Rover Defender 300TDI rear deck

on the rear custom made folding bench seats were also given the same treatment along with the tailgate. Finally, the rear deck was covered with wood along with a custom toolbox. Despite the level of detail on the rear cargo area, Alexandros loads this thing with his car-detailing equipment every day since he does detailing on the spot.

1996 Land Rover Defender 300TDI

As hard as it is to believe the Defender is used not only as an off-roader but also serves as a daily workhorse.

For me, the previous statement is what made this Defender worthy of a feature. Not a garage queen, not used once per month on an off-road trip But a proper workhorse that can also rove the land if necessary.


Words and Photography : Odisseas Sophocleous 

Owner : Alexandros Nicolaou @autopsiris

1996 Land Rover Defender 300 TDI. How To OEM Plus.

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