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2003 LAND ROVER Defender 90 County Pick-up

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2003 LAND ROVER Defender 90 County Pick-up


It’s really not an exaggeration to say that the Land Rover has done almost as much as Captain Cook or David Livingstone to open up the world. It’s been taking explorers with double-barreled names and extravagant moustaches to far-flung places since 1948.

It’s delivered engineers to where they were wanted and missionaries to where they weren’t.

It was once said that a Land Rover was the first motor vehicle seen by 60% of people living in developing nations.

With its permanent four-wheel-drive system, lockable centre differential, live axles at both ends, and long-travel coil suspension, the Defender is as capable off the beaten track as it is incapable on it. But no-one really cares, because it has levers sprouting out of the floor, a big, bluff front, and only gets better with age.

In 1998, the Defender (so called only from 1990 onwards) was fitted with a 2.5-litre, five-cylinder in-line turbodiesel engine called the Td5.

In 2002 the engine was made more efficient, the ‘XS’ was introduced as the top-spec model and the ‘County’ level of enhanced trim became available across the range.

Perhaps uniquely, the Land Rover Defender is both classy and classless. It can be deployed to haul loads of braying wannabees (and their selfie sticks) up and down the Kings Road, or it can haul half a dozen Herdwick sheep and a load of manure over rough terrain on a Lake District hill farm.

You can use it as a picnic table while you’re stuffing yourself with quail eggs in the car park at Twickenham/Ascot/Guards Polo Club. Or you can make the most of its bullet-proof bush bashing capabilities and get yourself from Timbuktu to Ouagadougou quicker than an angry camel.

Available from the factory as a pick-up, van or station wagon, there is a seemingly endless list of companies out there who will turn yours into a motorhome, campervan, mobile crane, tray-back off-roader, recovery truck, pop-up bar and grill, bijou B&B, celebrity dog kennel, etc.

For almost as long as there have been Land Rovers there have been businesses dedicated to customising, nudging, enhancing, fettling, refining, altering and boosting them into something rather different and, just occasionally, better.

We can say, with a high degree of confidence, that no Land Rover Defender 90 County pick-up on Earth looks quite like this one.

The Vehicle

In any light, from any angle, this car hits you right between the eyes and compels you to form some sort of opinion, whether you want to or not.

The paint job is the work of a latter-day Jack the Dripper called Joshua Mascolo (his collective of artists lives under the banner of the MascoloMascolo brand). He is a young man who commands a growing amount of social media bandwidth as an abstract artist of some repute.

An accompanying canvas in the same style by the same artist is included with the auction lot.

But the car’s appeal is far from superficial. Underneath the art is a very fine and solid thing that’s been lavished with the best materials, technology and craftsmanship to create something that’s very special in its own right.

This thing is a passion project and was built up to an ambition, a dream, not down to a budget. The vendor, a man who has 15 or so Land Rovers and aims to create an ‘artist’s edition’ like this one every year, tells us that his worst fear is a future owner who looks at even the smallest part of it and says, “Well, that could have been done better”.

No corners have been cut and no expense spared. Everything is top class, high quality and very well put together by people who clearly know what they’re doing.

This, then, could be the ideal vehicle for a hairy-handed Yorkshire hill farmer. Or a pale and interesting aesthete whose interests include the abstract art of the early Jungian conceptualists.

Or just someone who doesn’t know his elbow from his Pollocks.

As well as the very funky livery, the vendor has invested in a range of upgrades that extend from the tinted rear glass and a mahoosive sound system to a luxurious leather and Alcantara interior and feature wheels and tyres. The engine has been gently re-mapped to achieve a bit more performance and a lot more guttural, burbling noise. It sounds like a V8, not a Td5.

This very unusual vehicle is in fine condition inside, outside and underneath. It has covered around 20 miles since being painted, and we’re assured that it has always been regularly serviced and was very well cared for by its previous owner, a farmer who didn’t use it for farming (it was a bit too bling for that even when it was new).

We’ll wager that very few of its odometer miles were hard won in jungles, deserts or under enemy fire.

In fact, this particular Land Rover looks as if it’s spent most of its life striking poses in a nightclub, not smashing its way across the blighted, rock-strewn hinterland of somewhere dangerous and dodgy.

The ride is relatively (it’s still a Land Rover) smooth and controlled, the interior noise levels are agreeably civilised and low, and the handling is surprisingly light, responsive and predictable – particularly given that the car rides on very big, very expensive wheels shod with very chunky rubber.

We think it’s really rather special.

On the Outside

What we have here is a hand-painted car. But fear not. These aren’t poster paints or water colours. It won’t wash off in the rain. This is a proper job.

The entire car was sanded and etch primed ‘correctly’ – in other words, it was prepared just as it would have been for a ‘normal’ paint job.

Once the artist had folded away his easel, at least 5 layers of high quality 2K clear coat were added. Due to time constraints, the car has never been professionally buffed. Anyone minded to do this could potentially end up with a very deep and lustrous shine.

The panels are free from any dinks, dents, ripples, creases, lumps, bumps or scuffs of any note. The shut lines and door gaps are as deep and crisp and even as anything Good King Wenceslas might have looked out upon. It’s all thoroughly impressive.

The dark privacy glass on the rear window is new, the tinted glass at the sides is at it left the factory.

The wheels are in excellent condition, and the tyres have plenty of life left in them.

Frankly, we’re not sure how you’d wear the tyres out even if you wanted to.

The lights are genuine LEDs, not the ‘pretend’ versions.

Both doors were new prior to the paint work.

On the Inside

The good news continues unabated on the inside, where everything original is in excellent condition and everything new is of the highest quality.

The quilted leather seats are comfortable, supportive and luxurious. The bespoke steering wheel and solid billet gear knob are very classy and impart a satisfyingly weighty, tactile heft when used.

The dashboard is original and is in fine fettle. The Alcantara door cards and headlining are very good.

Lifting up the carpets or mats anywhere in this car reveals acres of Dynamat sound deadening material.

Centre-stage is the unmissable touch-screen control console. Among other things, this unit gives you control over the vehicle’s truly awesome sound system (the vendor is fairly certain that this is the loudest Defender 90 pick-up you’ll find anywhere).

The car’s sound system consists of:

JL Audio RD900/5 900W 5 Channel Class D System Amplifier

JL Audio C5-653 6.5 (165 mm) 3-Way Component Speaker System

JL Audio CP208LG-W3V3 Micro Sub Dual 8W3v3-4-Ported

Apple Car play enabled touchscreen.

Now then. We’re not entirely sure what any of that means, but our younger colleagues tell us that it is an impressive list of noisy/clever things.

Either way, it all conspires to produce a high-quality sound – one that doesn’t make a noise like someone rattling stones in an old bean can when you turn up the volume.

Taller readers may want to investigate the extra 2” of legroom that would be made available if the sub-woofer behind the driver’s seat was relocated elsewhere.

All in all, the interior is as impressive as the exterior and, although we still wouldn’t choose to make intercontinental journeys in any sort of Land Rover Defender, this is a much more comfortable and better-appointed option than most others – and, of course, it retains the no-nonsense, tough-as-old-boots functionality of all Defenders.


Everything on display in the engine bay is clean, tidy and appears to be in its right and proper place.

There is some superficial rust on pipes and suspension components on the undersides and in the engine bay, but no more than should be expected of a car of this age. It appears to be just normal wear, tear and age and is only visible because it hasn’t been slathered in lashings of underseal or bitumen.

The chassis, bulkhead and footwells are solid and strong and the car’s mechanicals seem to have a good deal of integrity. We think this is an honest, trustworthy example.

History Highlights

Well, we know it was owned by a farmer who didn’t use it for anything as mucky as farming. We’re told it has a long and solid service history and the vendor tells us that he’s been in charge of servicing the vehicle since it’s been in his possession.

We’re also told that the car eases through emissions tests and that there is no oil in the ECU loom (which is new anyway). It is, the vendor assures us, “an incredibly reliable truck”.

There is a sticker under the bonnet with a QR code. Scan it with your phone and you’ll gain access to a series of videos about the car, about the builder/vendor, and about the artist. You’ll also be able to access instructions on how to use the sound system and various other bits of high-tech kit that come with the car.

It has a MoT certificate valid until 20.6.22.

If this isn't enough for you, take a look at videos created by the vendor, they're very well done and really showcase the vehicle (cut and paste the URL into a web browser):

What We Think

The Defender is undeniably an iconic vehicle. And the 90 pick-up is arguably the cutest looking option in the range.

This one, however, is utterly, undeniably, irrefutably unique.

You’ll never find yourself parked next to an identical one in the car park at Waitrose.


And, perhaps more importantly, beneath all the paint and pimping, it’s a very solid, good example that should be good for many years and miles yet.

And even if you’re more inclined towards a Rembrandt self-portrait or something from Hockney’s ‘swimming pool’ series than you are to Mr Mascolo’s abstract stylings, it could all be reversed and undone until what you’re left with is the Solihull mud-plugger underneath.

What’s not to like? 

It's hard to tell, but we think it will sell for between £20,000 - £38,000, maybe more...

Viewing is always encouraged and as stated this car is located at THE MARKET headquarters near Abingdon; we are open Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm and to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of suppliers we work with regularly including: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance, Classic Concierge for storing your car plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Odometer Reading: 163195
  • Chassis Number: SALLDVA573A665319
  • Engine: 2.5
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: RHD
  • Colour: Green
  • Interior: Black Leather and Alcantara
  • Estimated Price: £19,900 - £38,000

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