Australians love Land Rovers, especially the no-frills, off-road-capable Defender… But with second-hand prices almost as high as new Defender prices in some cases, how’s the average revhead supposed to get their hands on one without deep pockets?
The answer might seem obvious, but it’s one that surprisingly few Aussies are aware of: military surplus auctions. The Australian Defence Force used locally-made Land Rover Defender 110s, known as ‘Perenties’, from the 80s all the way up to the 2010s.
There’s always been a fairly steady flow of Perenties being disposed of by the army making their way to auctions but as of 2013 the Perenties have started being replaced by Mercedes-Benz G-Classes in active service – meaning there’s increasingly more Perenties being made available to the public.
And guess what? They’re an absolute steal. In Pickles’ Ex-Military Auction right now, there’s a bunch of decent-condition Perenties for sale between $13,000 and $45,000. When you consider that the average price of a Defender on Carsales is closer to $70,000, that’s a bargain. In fact, ex-ADF Perenties might be some of the cheapest Defenders on the planet.
Perenties differ from civilian Defenders in a few key areas: not only were they almost exclusively two-door soft-tops, but they had a beefier chassis, incredibly no-frills fit-outs and were powered by Isuzu-made 3.9L four-cylinder diesel engines, either naturally aspirated or turbocharged.
This might make Perenties less ‘pure’ than one powered by a Rover V8, for example, but they’re actually much better than a British-made defender. For one, it’s widely regarded that these locally-made Perenties were built to a much higher standard than their British counterparts – for instance, they were built with galvanised chassis, meaning they’re less susceptible to rust.
Secondly, those Isuzu donks are pretty bulletproof, and more than enough to haul these 4x4s around. Also, many Perenties are actually 6x6s… And six-wheelers are totally awesome. You’d pay upwards of six figures to get a 6×6 Defender or G-Wagen, but actually the 6×6 Perenties don’t command a significant premium over 4×4 variants.
Pickles’ auction ends tonight, but they regularly have Perenties come up for bid… Definitely one to bookmark.