A Great British Icon

29th January, 2016

The very last Defender has rolled through the Solihull factory doors for the final time this morning (cue sobs and whimpers). After a glorious 68 years of production Jaguar Land Rover are calling it a day on the iconic Land Rover flagship.

Most have experienced a Land Rover, everyone has seen one, it brings a wonderful familiarity and warmth. Unfortunately due to regulations the Defender just cannot meet, the globally recognisable vehicle’s production is being ceased.

A Brief History

The original Land Rover has had an epic and iconic journey spanning over 68 years, from the birth of the Series I, to the final defender leaving the factory today.

Greatest Moments

Tomb Raider – Three special Defender TD5 110’s were made for the motion picture starring Angelina Jolie, fitted with a 3.5 V8 and lots of accessories it was the perfect expedition vehicle for Lara Croft. The Tomb Raider Special edition is the best selling special edition ever made by Land Rover.

Military vehicles – Since 1949 the British forces have been using Land Rovers, it was cheaper, lighter and consumers less fuel than the vehicles used before it. The Series II ambulance was a classic from the Cold War era, even today they use a slightly more comfortable 130 based ambulance that looks very similar. There have also been numerous other special Land Rovers made for the military with track, gun mounts and even amphibious capabilities.

Winston Churchill – Our great Defender specially made for another, in 2012 Winston Churchill’s 1954 Series I was sold at auction for £129,000. It was fitted with a wider passenger seat and a heated footwell so that he could be chauffeured around his Chartwell estate.

James Bond – Spectre the 007 blockbuster always bound to feature a car chase or two, Jaguar Land Rover struck a deal to be a part of it. 10 Defender pickups were specially made and got the go ahead to be in the forefront of the mountain chase for the villains, chased by Bond in a light aircraft. It also held a role at the beginning of Skyfall too.

What’s Next?

Well it’s hardly going to disappear as a massive 70% of Land Rovers are still in working order. EU safety standards and emission levels the reason behind its death, it’s just too dangerous for pedestrians apparently and it hasn’t been acceptable in the US since 1998.

They have made three special editions to celebrate what was best about the Defender, they’re making a Heritage Edition inspired by the early Land Rover models, an Autobiography Edition which will have more luxury and performance than any previous Defender and finally an Adventure Edition which heralds it’s ‘go anywhere, do anything’ motto.

A replacement of the Defender is under development and is due to be launched in December 2016. This however will struggle to fill the void that will be left after the death of the Defender.