The final Land Rover Defender rolls off the line
Today marks the end of an era as the last Land Rover Defender rolls off the production line
The last-ever Land Rover Defender has rolled off the company’s production line at Solihull, near Birmingham. After over 68 years’ continuous production, the iconic original Land Rover is no more. The final model to be built was a Land Rover 90 Heritage Edition pickup soft top, which left the factory amid much media fanfare.
Land Rover has used the last 12 months to celebrate its oldest – and most utilitarian – vehicle, with three special-edition models on sale to help send the old girl off: the Autobiography Edition, the Adventure Edition and the aforementioned Heritage Edition.
The Heritage Edition harks back to the old Series 1 Land Rover, with period-style Grasmere Green paint, a contrasting white roof and a retro grille design. The 'HUE 166' graphics, meanwhile, are a nod to the registration plate of the very first pre-production Land Rover. Just 400 examples of the Defender Heritage Edition were produced.
Taking a more rugged approach to the Land Rover experience is the Defender Adventure Edition. It’s designed to be even more capable off-road than the standard car (something that's easier said than done) and is available in three or five-door form. It gets underbody protection to guard against off-road scrapes and chunky Goodyear MT/R off-road tyres. Unique stickers mark the Adventure out from lesser models and it also comes with a leather interior. Land Rover built 600 examples, priced from £43,495.
Sitting high above the other two in the range is the Defender Autobiography five-door, which cost £61,845. Unsurprisingly, given the price, this model represented the piece de resistance of Defender ownership. The significant wad of cash bought a power boost (up from 120 to 148bhp), two-tone paint, Windsor leather upholstery and relative exclusivity – just 80 were made.
Taking a more rugged approach to the Defender experience is the Adventure Edition. It’s designed to be even more capable off-road than the standard Defender (something that's easier said than done) and is available in three or five-door form. It gets underbody protection to guard against off-road scrapes and chunky Goodyear MT/R off-road tyres. Unique stickers mark the Adventure out from lesser models and it also comes with a leather interior. Land Rover will build 600 examples, priced from £43,495.
The final Defender marked the end of a year’s worth of celebrations, which began with Land Rover drawing a kilometre-long outline of the original Series 1 on the beach at Red Wharf Bay. This was a tribute to the moment engineering director Maurice Wilks sketched the shape of the original car in the same place 68 years previously.
Land Rover tells us the next Defender will be better off-road, but more accomplished on-road, too. Expect it to sport a modern twist on the utilitarian looks of the current car, similar to those of the Land Rover DC100 concept.
All this may seem a bit much for a niche off-roader that was seriously flawed in many ways, but something about the Defender’s near 70-year endurance and rugged utilitarianism inspired legions of fans. It’s doubtful anything will survive for so long again – apart from, perhaps, the Caterham Seven.