Why US Land Rover Defenders Had Cages

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Land Rover Defenders are amongst the most prized collector 4WD vehicles of the 1990s. Entire businesses have cropped up to trade them. With low mileage, they routinely sell for close to $100k. They were only sold in the US between 1993 and 1998, and when they came here, they were fitted with exterior roll cages. Here’s why.

These photos from the Avon and Somerset Constabulary in the UK show an accident on the M5 involving a Defender and a Ford Transit Van. The Land Rover rolled over several times before coming to rest on the highway.


The entire front half of the passenger cabin is crushed beyond recognition. Both passengers were hospitalized, but luckily escaped death in the crash.

All US-bound Land Rover Defenders were specially fitted with Safety Devices six-point, bolt-in roll cages that allowed them to pass USDOT regulations.

US Customs is actively seeking out Land Rover Defenders illegally imported into the United States. When they find them, they’re crushed, and this is part of the reasoning behind that move: After 1998, Land Rover Defenders did not comply with more strict airbag requirements here in the United States.

Watch the US Customs and Border Patrol’s video on the subject:

IMAGE SOURCE: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at BestRide.com.