Six of the vehicles have been returned to their owners after lawyer and Land Rover enthusiast Will Hedrick (aka ‘Defender of Defenders’) offered to represent owners free of charge.
It appears the authorities were premature in dating various Land Rovers and had worked on information based on the last six digits of the VIN, which identify the chassis. However, it’s common practice among all vehicle manufacturers to recycle the same vehicle identifier numbers, the differences being in the prefix alphanumeric code.
Once the VINs were fully decoded it was confirmed that the vehicles were in fact 1983/1984 One Tens, and not the post-2000 models as previously reported.
One of the first owners to have a visit from DHS back in July was Danny Harrington from upstate New York. Ten DHS officers arrived early one July morning demanding the seizure of his 1983 One Ten. The officers claimed the vehicle was 2000 model-year vintage and towed it away. Just a few weeks earlier Danny had replaced the clutch himself in a 10-hour marathon. As a friend of Danny’s said: ‘All the dude ever wanted was his hunk of junk truck back!’
The Rover gods answered Danny’s prayers and his ‘hunk of junk’ was returned to him 16 days later by the same tow truck. ‘Nobody has gone out of their way for me like lawyer Will Hedrick,’ he said. ‘I am seriously astonished. I just hope everyone else can get their trucks back too.’
Update on 3/9/2014: We've heard of another eight 'Defenders' being released, bringing the total now to 14.