The last Land Rover Defender has rolled off the production line in Solihull marking the end of 67 years of production. Since 1948 more than two million of the 4x4s have been produced, making it the longest continuous production of a vehicle in the world, surpassing the VW Beetle.
The iconic vehicle was originally conceived as a hardy and reliable “go anywhere” option, “for the farmer, the countryman and general industrial use”. The Defender truly lives up to this marketing tag line, with Land Rover estimating that up to 70% of all Defenders still around on the roads today.
Quintessentially British, the defender has changed very little since its birth in 1948. Used by the Churchill, James Bond and the Queen who has been frequently photographed driving one, it is a bastion of days gone by, conjuring up nostalgic memories.
The Defender has faithfully served so many, being used by British troops in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, making it through snowdrifts when no one else could, by explorers across Africa and the Americas and by the wealthy London families.
In recent years though the popularity of the faithful Defender has waned, with EU legislation and technology putting a strain on the old design. In 2007 the backwards-facing seats were banned and increasingly tighter environmental legislation and safety standards have forced Land Rover to cease production.
Jaguar Land Rover however, has announced a new Defender, although when or where it will be made have yet to be confirmed. Predictions of this new vehicle also vary, with many believing the new model won’t be the utilitarian workhorse but more likely more of a passenger vehicle.
Whilst it is the end of production for the Land Rover Defender, it certainly isn’t the complete end for the Defender. With the production and supply of parts for 15 years and the Defenders unrelenting ability to keep going we are sure to be seeing this British icon on our roads for decades to come.