Pour one out for the Land Rover Defender. Surrounded by more than 700 current and former employees from the Solihull plant, the last one ever rolled off the assembly line today.
The Land Rover Series: 1948-2016.
We have no reason to be sad. That last date actually puts a smile on my face, because Land Rover intended to finish production at the end of 2015. But you lovely people ordered so many Defenders in the last minute that they had to push the deadline to January. To the very end of it, today.
On one hand, this does suck on some level. While Land Rover is already working on the new Defender, we know for a fact that the successor will be a radically different animal than the utilitarian workhorse we got to love so much.
On the other hand, let’s not forget that they built more than 2 million of these off-roaders, and Land Rover just launched a new program to keep as many of the most ancient ones alive as possible:
Land Rover’s Heritage Restoration program will see the Series Land Rover and Defender’s name continue at Solihull. A team of twelve experts, ten of whom will transfer over from the existing production line, will lead the project, which will initially begin with the restoration and sale of early Series Land Rovers. One employee who will transfer onto the program, Tony Martin, has worked at Solihull all of his life, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather; in effect, he will be restoring some of the vehicles his grandfather helped to build.
Defenders can go anywhere, and if that’s still not good enough for you, there are companies like Twisted or Icon who can turn your Land Rover into something more luxurious than an AMG G-Wagen without compromising its off-roading capabilities. The possibilities are endless, and Defenders will continue to take us to the end of the world, and back.
There’s no reason to be sad.
Photo credit: Land Rover
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