Today, the long and storied career of the venerable Land Rover Defender comes to an end.
After 68 years of production, the last ever Defender will roll off the production line on Friday 28 January 2016, which means no more new, old Defenders. You’ll agree, it’s quite sad.
“Today we celebrate what generations of men and women have done since the outline for the original Land Rover was drawn in the sand,” explains Land Rover CEO Dr Ralf Speth.
“The Series Land Rover, now Defender, is the origin of our legendary capability, a vehicle that makes the world a better place, often in some of the most extreme circumstances. There will always be a special place in our hearts for the Defender,” he added.
The story began of course, all those years ago, when Rover engineer Maurice Wilks did indeed trace the Defender’s outline into the sands at Red Wharf Bay near Anglesey. It was unveiled at the Amsterdam motor show in 1948, and went into full series production in Solihull soon after.
It wasn’t until 1990 however, that the name ‘Defender’ even appeared on the car – until then it was badged according to its wheelbase length and Series number.
The original brief of course, was to emulate the Jeep Wilks used to run on his farm. But neither Wilks – nor anyone at Land Rover – could have imagined the success of this hardy little off-roader. Sales began to sky-rocket.
Soon after, a number of bodystyles began appearing, and to date, Land Rover has shifted 2,000,000 Defenders across the world. Not surprising, given its go-anywhere ability and utilitarian cool. From the military to the silver screen via a certain James Bond, it seems everyone is fond of the ol’ girl. Her Majesty the Queen is a big fan, too.
Oh, and that two-millionth model don’t forget, sold last year for £400,000. The first LR sold in 1948 for, um, £450.
But, this is all getting a bit sad. We’ve had some fun in the Defender over the years, and here are our top five adventures. We’ve also included some pictures of the very last, green Defender that has rolled off the production line.