Few vehicles are built with the ruggedness in mind of the Land Rover Defender. For decades, a Land Rover might have been the only vehicle that some people ever saw. That’s because for decades the Land Rover Series I and Series II were the only vehicles that dared to access the interiors of certain countries whose roads are little more than trails. Over the years not much has changed in the design of the Land Rover. Its mission is simple: devour any terrain thrown at it and keep the occupants reliably safe. The biggest change for the 1997 model was the introduction of the name Defender. Under the chassis, two live axles and full-time four-wheel drive give the Defender rock-crawling, river-fording, and mountain climbing abilities that are unmatched. For 1997, the last year the Defender was available in the U.S., you will find a potent V8 under the hood, accompanied by a four-speed automatic transmission. On the streets the Defender is no sprinter, but toss this Rover in the weeds and it will always come out on top.