I used to go offroading in a modified 86" Landie with better engine, brakes and axles - well its nearly all Landies in the UK obviously. The 86" had less bodywork hanging down to worry about and being a bit shorter is always good. I used to know an old man who said if you got a 127", 110" or 88" Landie stuck, you should pull it out with a 1950 80". Not quite true as the Unimog I owned could pull houses down. You can't beat diff locks! I have had G-Wagens for 10 years now and they are amazing - they have diff locks as standard. Heavy yes and long but amazing. For the rough stuff, older, shorter ones seem to be better. Lighter, less bodywork and more nimble. I knew a man with a Lada Niva and it was amazingly nimble!
For me, for heavy offroad stuff, the older Willys/Fords like your group has are better than the new ones and the older Landies are better than the new ones also. I guess your early Willys are fairly light? I have never actually tried one offroad seriously as they are very rare in the UK and mostly kept as preserved army vehciles for shows.
No offense to the owners of the white Defenders, but for me they have way too much bodywork for the rough stuff - sorry. They look perfect for the tracks they are on. Certainly the chassis on Landies have always been a problem and I got really good at welding them back together!
By the way are the CL registrations Chitral or Sindh 4x4 numbers?