Land Rover Defender: Making a splash at 65
Moreover, I’d have to say the Jeep Wrangler is a way more accomplished car. It can do nearly all the things a Defender can off the road, and it’s a way more refined and capable car on the road. People who work for Land Rover believe that if the Defender did not exist, the Jeep would have been the world’s best off-roader. Now, I will never know because the Defender will never come to India for me to compare with the Jeep. Nor will the Defender go to the US, since it doesn’t meet American safety norms. Which means the Wrangler will have to go to Solihull or Packington to see if it can survive the torture that a Defender calmly brushes aside.
However, in an era when everything from a coffee table to a passenger plane has to be designed taking into account the lowest common denominator, the Defender has steadfastly stuck to being this very rudimentary, built-to-task machine that can plough through the toughest of terrain. The irony is, when the terrain becomes effortless, the Defender is like a crocodile on land. It can gallop and hold its own. But it’s never as unbeatable as it is under water.
So, to the car that’s the only one of its kind, happy birthday. For it sure knows how to throw a party.
(Words: Sriram Narayanan, Photos: Peter Robain/Land Rover)