Getting anything into the country is easy. Registering it is next to impossible. What VIN do you give the DMV for a license? VIN numbers tell the DMV exactly what the vehicle is.
What some people have done for D90's and D110's is to take a VIN plate off of an old model from the 90's or earlier and put it on a new one - if you get caught doing that, you're in some big trouble.
There are several companies in the US that specialize in turning old Defenders into new ones - it's legal to import the new parts. But then you're back in $100 grand territory.
Bill Gates wanted to drive his Porsche 959 on the road in the early 90's, but couldn't because it wasn't street legal in the US. He's a pretty rich guy so he had a law passed called the "Show and Display" law that allows a car to be driven a limited number of miles per year. People import Zondas and other forbidden exotics using this law today, but it's so expensive that normal people don't do it for things like Defenders.
The "good" news is that it's legal to import a vehicle as long as it's 17 years old. So wait a few years, save your pennies and get an early 2000's D90 or 110.
This post was edited on 1/17 at 10:58 am