The Land Rover Defender - Farewell to an Icon...
This week the very last ever land Rover Defender rolled off the production line at the Solihul, UK plant. A phenomenal 2,016,993 Defenders were produced since its launch in 1948. Each Defender is said to have its own unique character, which I believe is probably largely due to the fact that each one takes 58 hours to make. That is a long time for such a basic vehicle and one of the contributing factors to the end of the mark’s production life!
The very last ever Defender to roll off the production Line – a soft top Heritage Defender 90 (Car)
An early Land Rover Advert
We have always been very vocal about our love for a motoring icon that has been on the road for over 65 years – the Land Rover Defender. Launched in 1948 as the Land Rover Series, the work-horse off-road vehicle has been used by armed forces, farmers, adventurers and families all over the world for generations. The original incarnation went through three evolutions through Series I-III before the moniker Defender was introduced in 1983. The Defender has two main sizes, the short wheel base 90 and the larger 110.
The original working lifestyle vehicle – Land Rover Series
Perfect for shooting parties
Urban Survival (Toby Melville)
Last year Team Bulang was reminded of how cool these machines are, when we were ferried to the middle of the Swiss forest for the Tudor launch party in a fleet of a dozen Defender 110 at Baselworld 2015. A key aspect of the Defender is the owners ability to customise their ‘Landy’ with relative ease and so it is fascinating to see the minor differences between these machines.
Whilst it is very sad to see these historic machines disappear from the production lines, it is certain that they will be on our roads for the remainder of our lifetimes and well beyond, due an international following of enthusiasts who will continue with their Defender Passion and celebration of this archetypal slice of utilitarian motoring history.
A ‘barn find’ Series Land Rover – the Defender’s older brother
Land Rover recently celebrated the history of the Defender with a range of limited edition versions. The Heritage Defender is our favourite with lines that celebrate the Series 1 and special paint colour ‘Grasmere Green’.
The other limited Edition from Land Rover that we love is the Autobiography Edition. Autobiography was introduced in 1993 as a customisation and high-end luxury service for Range Rover customers. The Autobiography Defender takes the utilitarian base model and gives it a touch of luxury with Windsor leather interior, black wheels and unique paint options.
Certain menswear designers have an aesthetic that fits in perfectly with the Defender lifestyle and below is a shot of a Ralph Lauren ‘Double RL’ shop installation. ‘Double RL’ is Lauren’s label that celebrates workwear and military-inspired clothing. This Series 1 is the perfect vehicle for such a setting!
British designer Paul Smith recently created a unique Defender 90 in collaboration with Land Rover. The 90 features over 27 colours, including military tones to celebrate the Defender’s role in military life and some neon flashes to reference its history as an emergency vehicle. The PS Defender is unique which is another nod to the fact that no two Defenders are ever the same!