1991 Land Rover Santana 109


My 1991 Land Rover Santana 109 finally arrived in the states from Barcelona after over a year of waiting. Originally purchased in April 2016, upon further review of the title, the seller misrepresented it as a 1990 when it was a 1991. Due to the 25 year rule, I couldn't import it until last October. Then my contact broke his knee and couldn't work on it for awhile. Eventually, work was completed and shipment was arranged and it arrived last week after almost 2 months of transit.

Overall, she is in very good condition. One of the benefits of the Spanish climate is little to no rust on the vehicle. Also, it is left hand drive. After further research and talking to folks, I learned it has a more robust frame than a Defender and one of the largest rear axles ever out of a rover. The tail end of Santana production (they stopped making them in 1992), most of the truck used Defender parts... doors, dash, transfer case, etc. The front end was updated with new grill and lights as the original Santana used clunky square side lights. Probably the biggest difference is that Santanas are leaf spring, not coiled. It is like a Series 4 in the Rover timeline. If know a local guy who has built some incredible series trucks on 37s with leaf springs that drive excellent on the street and in the rocks.

Now the fun and build begins. The normally aspirated 2.5 L diesel puts out a mind boggling 68 hp! It can barely get out of its own way. The truck driver had to put her in low just to climb the ramp! I have been talking with Cummins about the new 2.8L turbo repower but a 5.9L can fit (heavy). Of course a 200/300tdi will work but not sure I want to put the money into that engine when installing an LS isn't much more cost. Lots to think about.

My ultimate goal for the truck is to be built out as an Overland vehicle with drawers, integrated cooking gear, roll cage, RTT, awning, swing-out on 33s or 35s.


Next big hurdle will be California registration...and yes I have read every thread on DefenderSource. VIN has been verified and we will see what the DMV has in store for me. A buddy just had his UK Defender paperwork flagged and they are holding his paperwork hostage. After 6 weeks, he still doesn't have the paperwork back.

The only negative in my book, besides the weird ergonomics, no A/C, shoddy wiring, etc, is the black color. I do NOT like black cars/trucks even more so a vehicle that is going to get pinstriped and dirty. It will bake in the California sun and show every mark. Of course when it is clean, like now, it actually looks great (other than the street tires).
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Expedition Leader
Congrats! Definitely looks like one of the nicer Santanas I've seen around here.


Regular Dude
I see Santanas all the time over here and they usually look pretty bad. This is one of the nicer ones I've seen.


Climbing Nerd
Vary nice Truck! Good like with the DMV. One of the fue good things about living in Texas is they could care less about the motor on a Deisel just has to pass safety and your in.


New member
Nice example, but I think that if it is 91 what you have is a "Santana" since in 1987 Land Rover finalized its contract with "Metalurgica de Santa Ana" who was the one who made them in Linares. Anyway I have to say that here in Spain even if it only came out with the name "Santana" in 90% of the components are the same as the last Land Rover Santana and as an example, the axles are those used by Santana Anibal.


Regards and have a lot of luck with him.


Congrats on your new Rover and best of luck with our fine state and the coin toss game of whether or not they will allow it to be registered here.....:ugh:


topless adventures
Congrats...my first 'Land Rover' was an ex-Zimbabwe police Santana I picked up when I took a contract in Harare for four years. Was initially disappointed when I found out it wasn't a 'real' Land Rover but soon discovered what a great truck it was. Mine had the 2.5 petrol and the amazing LT85 gearbox. I took that truck on a lot of safaris in Mana Pools and Matusadona and had a great time with it. Sad now that I left it behind when my contract ended.
Santana Chitake sm.jpg

Paddler Ed

COOL TRUCK. I keep trying to find a cool crewcab 109 but haven't been too lucky yet
You're unlikely to find a 109 with a crew cab; the utes were all single cabs with the tub body (ie the same as a hardtop, just with the bulkhead and short cab) or a cab chassis.

IIRC the crew cab started with the 127" and then the 130", both with the high cap tray on the back, whereas the Defender 110 crew cab came about in the early 2000s as the Japanese dual cab market boomed in Europe. Prior to that, they were only single cabs with the ute body.


Yup, I am dealing with the California registration nightmare and was denied at the DMV. Should have stuck to my original plan of importing it and titling out of state and then bringing the clear title to CA. During shipping to CA, my contact no longer does DMV registration and I was denied trying to do it myself. Regrouping now to figure out the next steps. Yes, I have read the threads on defendersource...the kicker is that the measly engine in the truck will be replaced as soon as possible with either newer diesel, LS, or Rover petrol engine so there is no way I will pay money to CARB.


Expedition Leader
Utah, is pretty easy to get titles for almost anything. I can let you use my address if you'd like. Then you can transfer the title over to Komifornia.

You'll just have to have a VIN inspection performed by your local DMV or police office.


Utah, is pretty easy to get titles for almost anything. I can let you use my address if you'd like. Then you can transfer the title over to Komifornia.

You'll just have to have a VIN inspection performed by your local DMV or police office.
I believe once they flag the VIN it stays in the system so he will run into CARB again later. :( Sorry to hear by the way.

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