I initially started out with grand ideas of tracking down how many Land Rover Defenders are remaining in existence, but digging deeper I realised that it may not be as straight forward as that....
I have settled on trying to calculate how many "UK" Defenders are still on the road, as the UK has open data and more Defenders than any other country; approximately 35% of all Defenders ever built have been registered in the UK. I say "have been", because vehicles are being imported to the UK all the time, as well as being exported regularly or entering private hands from military cast vehicles. Defining how many "UK" Defenders there are (or were) is therefore a moving target. Some vehicles were sold through a foreign dealership, in a foreign specification, to a UK citizen who first registered it in the UK - is this a "UK" Defender? Therefore, what measure would you use, and which point in history? So asking "how many are left?" means you need to know how many there were to start with - I take the starting point as being "the number of Defenders that have EVER been registered in the UK".
Also, defining the meaning of "on the road", or "how many are left" depends on how the data is collected and what it is telling us - these two concepts are not analogous. "How many are left" might mean those vehicles that are still in generally complete condition, albeit scattered to the winds of the British Isles. This will never be known, as whilst there are records of a vehicle having existed at some point, unless verified as being scrapped, or recently put through an MOT, an absence of data does not mean it is gone forever.
How many are "on the road" is an easier concept to decipher, and that is the metric that this page uses. That in itself is a rather nebulous term, because whether a vehicle is on or off the road depends on the intention of the owner. So we must reverse engineer the owner's intention from the data we have. There is an assumption that if a vehicle has a valid MOT and is taxed, then it is "on the road". The moment it fails an MOT, is it "off the road"? Well, we might say that if the owner wants to keep it on the road, they will try to pass the MOT via a free retest within 14 days (10 working days). If the vehicle goes beyond this then we can assume there are bigger problems and the vehicle is not "on the road". That isn't to say it won't ever come back on the road, but as the data collected here changes weekly, it would be valid to call it "off the road" and put it back "on the road" if it passes an MOT in future.
The data below on Defenders can be considered more or less complete, as a census of the population. The Ninety/One Ten "Stage Two" vehicle data is more sparse, as they are older and are less likely to have graced a computer system with their data. As such, the data here is based on known vehicles, but the real number of these registered in the 80s will be a lot higher.
(Since there is a high confidence that all UK-registered Defenders have been identified)
How many left from those 163,222 Defenders in November 2023?607 Unknown 45 Scrapped 9,911 Exported 63,835 Off the road 88,824 On the road
How many left from those 41,530 Ninety/One Tens in November 2023?155 Unknown 8 Scrapped 5,408 Exported 26,551 Off the road 9,408 On the road
Data updated weekly