A perfectly restored classic 4x4 is a beautiful, beautiful thing... until you realize it's too perfect to actually take off-road, lest you destroy its restored value. A really, really nice, unrestored classic is the way to go if you want a good, solid vehicle that's still got your back after the pavement turns to dirt.
Whether you're into classic Broncos, timeless Defenders, or virtually indestructible Land Cruisers, you don't need to break the bank: Every one of these well-aged beauties below is for sale right now, for less than the average price of new car, without the guarantee of depreciation. Get thee to eBay.
This is the most expensive vehicle on this list, but with good reason. It's almost 100% original, with just 32,000 miles on it, and it's only had one owner its entire life. Sadly, that owner passed away recently, but his wife just wants to find "someone else to cherish it." This one's a winner.
This one's another low-mileage wonder -- 47,000 miles on the clock -- and with denim seats and a spray-in liner you don't have to worry about ruining the interior. Scramblers like this will most likely keep going up in price for the foreseeable future, so if you don't want to pay the kind of astronomical prices that preclude the enjoyment of such a treasure in its natural habitat, now's a pretty good time to buy.
It's not surprising if you're unfamiliar with the Scout. If it helps, think of it as a Bronco convertible, with a truck bed... in this case, one with a rubberized liner already installed so you can toss all your gear in it without a worry. This Scout comes with the original hard top and it's the top-of-the-line V8 4x4 version. The engine and transmission are both freshly rebuilt, and the paint is fairly new, too -- it's a great driver without the historical cost some of its Scout brethren are already garnering.
If you're looking for the most basic, utilitarian, true-to-the-original experience you can get in a Land Rover, the 90 series (i.e., with the short, 90in wheelbase) is the one you want. Importantly for any Land Rover, this one has a complete maintenance history since the day it was imported (by the seller). A soft convertible top (and of course, the fold-down windshield) and a couple of spare sets of wheels for when you're having fun seal the deal here.
Perfectly restored Broncos tend to sell for north of $50,000 today, which is why an unrestored one like this is such a beautiful option. Call it patina if you must, but the fact that it's in good condition without being perfect means you can have all the fun of the original Bronco, safe in the knowledge that the price is steadily climbing, even as you're going from trail to trail in the wilderness.
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