Automotive

Land Rover ends production of the Defender

Land Rover ends production of ...
Celebrating the last Land Rover Defender
Celebrating the last Land Rover Defender
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Series III Coast Guard fleet
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Series III Coast Guard fleet
Series II 88 Diesel
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Series II 88 Diesel
Series IIA Ice Cream Van from 1968
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Series IIA Ice Cream Van from 1968
Land Rover out in its element
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Land Rover out in its element
Royal Land Rovers
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Royal Land Rovers
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Getting muddy
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Getting muddy
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Series II 109 Ambulance from 1969
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Series II 109 Ambulance from 1969
Series I from 1957
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Series I from 1957
2007 Defender
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2007 Defender
2007 Defender prepares to dip rubber in the water
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2007 Defender prepares to dip rubber in the water
Defender family portrait
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Defender family portrait
A Defender Pick Up on the job
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A Defender Pick Up on the job
The Land Rover Defender plays until the cows come home
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The Land Rover Defender plays until the cows come home
Defender Pick Up hauling cargo
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Defender Pick Up hauling cargo
Land Rover Stage 1 V8
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Land Rover Stage 1 V8
Land Rover 110 police vehicle
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Land Rover 110 police vehicle
Land Rover Stage 1 V8
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Land Rover Stage 1 V8
2007 Defender takes a nature stroll
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2007 Defender takes a nature stroll
Land Rover celebrates its heritage
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Land Rover celebrates its heritage
Land Rover work vehicle
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Land Rover work vehicle
Land Rover fire truck
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Land Rover fire truck
Land Rover's first-ever pre-production model "Huey"
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Land Rover's first-ever pre-production model "Huey"
Classic Land Rover
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Classic Land Rover
Defender 110 competes in the Camel Trophy
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Defender 110 competes in the Camel Trophy
Bob and Joe Ives 1989 Camel Trophy winners
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Bob and Joe Ives 1989 Camel Trophy winners
County Station Wagon
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County Station Wagon
The Defender goes amphibious
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The Defender goes amphibious
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover circa 1979
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Land Rover circa 1979
Land Rover circa 1975
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Land Rover circa 1975
Land Rover circa 1957
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Land Rover circa 1957
1955 Oxford & Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition
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1955 Oxford & Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition
The 1955 Oxford & Cambridge overland expedition from London to Singapore was one of the early expeditions that helped cement the Land Rover's reputation
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The 1955 Oxford & Cambridge overland expedition from London to Singapore was one of the early expeditions that helped cement the Land Rover's reputation
1955 Oxford & Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition, Brahmaputra Jetty
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1955 Oxford & Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition, Brahmaputra Jetty
1950 Station Wagon
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1950 Station Wagon
Land Rovers, 1948 and 1973
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Land Rovers, 1948 and 1973
Overlanding
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Overlanding
Series III 109 fire truck
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Series III 109 fire truck
Series II export
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Series II export
A candidate for gnarliest Land Rover ever: the Series II Cuthbertson
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A candidate for gnarliest Land Rover ever: the Series II Cuthbertson
Defenders en route to the 2016 celebration
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Defenders en route to the 2016 celebration
The last Defender works its way down the line
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The last Defender works its way down the line
A celebration of 68 years
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A celebration of 68 years
The last Defender works its way down the line
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The last Defender works its way down the line
The last Defender works its way down the line
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The last Defender works its way down the line
Defenders gathered for the event
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Defenders gathered for the event
Defenders en route
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Defenders en route
Celebrating the last Land Rover Defender
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Celebrating the last Land Rover Defender
2015 Defender Limited Edition Autobiography
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2015 Defender Limited Edition Autobiography
2015 "James Bond Spectre" Defender
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2015 "James Bond Spectre" Defender
2011 "Tomb Raider" Defender
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2011 "Tomb Raider" Defender
1994 Defender NAS 90 Soft Top
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1994 Defender NAS 90 Soft Top
1979 Series III 109 Station Wagon
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1979 Series III 109 Station Wagon
1967 Series IIA 88 Buick V8
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1967 Series IIA 88 Buick V8
1964 Series IIA
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1964 Series IIA
1956 Series I fire tender
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1956 Series I fire tender
1948 Land Rover # 475
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1948 Land Rover # 475
Original 1948 pre-production Land Rover
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Original 1948 pre-production Land Rover
The last Defender makes its way down the line
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The last Defender makes its way down the line
Land Rover celebrates the end of an era
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Land Rover celebrates the end of an era
Land Rover celebrates the end of an era
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Land Rover celebrates the end of an era
An icon retires
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An icon retires
Land Rover ends production of the Defender
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Land Rover ends production of the Defender
The last Land Rover Defender
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The last Land Rover Defender
The last Defender pays homage to the original
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The last Defender pays homage to the original
Series II 109 Bluebird World Speed Record truck
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Series II 109 Bluebird World Speed Record truck
Land Rover interior
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Land Rover interior
2013 Defender goes for a swim
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2013 Defender goes for a swim
2012 Defender
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2012 Defender
Land Rover Series I Highland Patrol vehicle
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Land Rover Series I Highland Patrol vehicle
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Deep in the mud
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Deep in the mud
Coming up for air
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Coming up for air
Land Rover Defender in its element
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Land Rover Defender in its element
Reveling in the mud
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Reveling in the mud
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Mud, snow, rain or river ...
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Mud, snow, rain or river ...
Water crossing
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Water crossing
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
The Defender battles thick, deep mud
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The Defender battles thick, deep mud
You wouldn't want to do this with your everyday crossover
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You wouldn't want to do this with your everyday crossover
Land Rover does work
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Land Rover does work
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
The Defender battles thick, deep mud
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The Defender battles thick, deep mud
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover + tracks = sheer awesome
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Land Rover + tracks = sheer awesome
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
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Land Rover celebrates 68 years of the Series and Defender
Prepared for the journey
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Prepared for the journey

The end of Land Rover Defender production was initially scheduled for 2015, but the model got a stay of execution – for about a month. Land Rover rolled the very last Defender off production lines on Friday, putting an end to 68 years of Series/Defender production. It's not all bad news for Defender lovers, though; Land Rover's celebration of the event includes a new Defender Heritage program and a very thorough tour of great Defenders of the past. Plus, a Defender replacement is in the works.

As Land Rover recounts the tale, it all started with a sketch in the sand. Rover engineering director Maurice Wilks scratched a simple, utilitarian vehicle in the sands of Wales' Red Wharf Bay in 1947, and the idea of the Land Rover was born. With the backing of Wilks' brother Spencer, Rover's managing director at the time, Rover quickly put the idea in motion as a hard-nosed, go-anywhere agricultural 4x4 inspired by the Willys Jeep.

The Land Rover Series I debuted at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show and began rolling off the lines at Solihull a few months later. The new utility vehicle cost £450 (about US$650 by today's exchange rates) and relied on a 50-hp 1.6-liter engine.

Land Rover's first-ever pre-production model "Huey"
Land Rover's first-ever pre-production model "Huey"

It took the passing of more than 40 years for the original Land Rover to get a proper model name beyond a series number and/or chassis length. That name was "Defender," and it emerged in 1990 to add a bit more identity to the simpler "Ninety and One Ten" naming structure that Land Rover implemented after the Series III. The Defender was tasked with carrying the rugged DNA of the Series I, II and III forward into the future.

Twenty-six years after the Defender name was born, the very last of the Defender/Series models – number 2,016,933 – rolled out of Solihull. The model is a Defender 90 Heritage Soft Top and will become part of the Jaguar Land Rover Collection.

Land Rover celebrates the end of an era
Land Rover celebrates the end of an era

"The world has changed dramatically in the last 68 years, but this vehicle has remained a constant – something no other vehicle can claim," said Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover group engineering director. "The last of the current Defender models embraces the vehicle's simplicity, honesty and charm – it represents its Series Land Rover heritage."

Land Rover invited more than 700 former and current employees to celebrate the occasion at Solihull, where it gathered about two dozen iconic Defenders of the past, including "Huey," the very first 1948 preproduction Series I.

While the celebration was undoubtedly bittersweet, both for the workers in attendance and for Defender lovers around the world, it did offer some positive news. Land Rover announced the Heritage Restoration program, which will operate on the site of the Solihull production line and task a team of 12 experts with restoring and selling Series and Defender models. The program will also offer parts and services.

A Defender replacement is coming, but it's not yet clear exactly when it will arrive or what it will look like. "Creating the Defender of tomorrow, a dream for any engineer or designer, is the next exciting chapter and we are looking forward to taking on that challenge," was all Rogers had to say about it at the celebration, and is about as much official word as we've heard in a while. Reports suggest that the new model will debut around 2018.

Defenders gathered for the event
Defenders gathered for the event

Land Rover released a hefty album of heritage photos in honor of the last Defender, and we've stocked our photo gallery with the best of the bunch. What better way to celebrate the end of an era than by seeing Defenders of every shape, size and spec do work and get dirty?

Source: Jaguar Land Rover

3 comments
Matt Tritt
Oh, this is a sad day indeed! Having owned two Series Rovers in the past - a 68 - 88, and 70 109 Diesel top of the line 5 door with every accessory available, I have both great love and respect for them - as well as great irritation. I hope that the design team tasked with reinventing the best true utility vehicler in the world keeps it in mind to KEEP IT SIMPLE! Please steer clear of gratuituous sheet metal, stylized do-dads and non-utilitarian thingamajigs! If anything, design it for the farmer and the military with muddy boots, dirt, water and sand that must be easily cleaned out. Sliding windows mean no crap in the doors to fail; a fold-down windshield with easy to replace flat glass and easily removable panels for electricals/electronics access and 4 wheel drive with locking diffs. And keep the bloody price down to where normal humans can afford one. :)
kid-jensen
Much as I agree with Matt's comments for a replacement Defender, it's just not going to happen like that. Land Rover never made any significant money from the original models and would have killed them off if they had not gone serioulsy up-market with the Range Rover. Unfortunately for Land Rover fans, the new Defender is lilely to be much motre of a pared-down Range Rover than a ground-up simple design.....the market has spoken, and what it says is "we want luxury and gadgets"....and is prepared to pay for them.. What a shame Rover didn't realise this whilst they were still a British company.
IbiaMorgan
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