In early 2016 Jaguar Land Rover produced the last ever Land Rover Defender at its plant in the West Midlands. Sadly this means 4×4 lovers will now be without one of the most iconic off road vehicles ever made. In order to say goodbye to this legendary piece of British engineering we thought we would take a trip down memory lane and look at what made this vehicle renowned across the globe… quick piece of trivia, did you know the Queen of England owned a Defender? Well, you do now!
This may shock you, but the Defender was actually created as a temporary solution to keep Rover afloat after the Second World War. Little did they know it would become so popular that production would continue for an incredible 68 years. In order to save money and resources after WW2, Rover used rationed metal and fuel to build the first Defender prototype. Ever wondered where the iconic green colour came from? Well, it’s simple; there was an abundance of that colour left over from the war. That said, it’s obvious that the Defender had a very humble start in life.
At this point you may be wondering why the car was so successful. For example, was it the first car to drive around the world? No. Was it the first car to have a 4 cylinder diesel engine? No. The key to the Defender’s growing success was simple, it did what it said it would do and it did it well.
As the vehicle went from strength to strength (both in terms of engineering and sales) Rover decided to aptly name the car the “Land Rover Defender”. The car showed no signs of slowing as it racked up the sales.l
After selling over two million vehicles Jaguar Land Rover decided to retire the Defender. The sheer scope of the car’s success is realised when you consider the first ever Defender was sold shortly after WW2 for £450.00 (in 2016 you would easily be looking at 30k+). Some 68 years later (and with over two million units sold) we’d like to wish farewell to one of the most iconic British engineering feats of all time.
- The Queen loved it! We’ve already mentioned this, but hey, it’s worth mentioning twice
- Sir Winston Churchill owned one
- The Defender featured in several films, including James Bond
- One of the early prototypes had a steering wheel located in the centre… yuck!
- There was an amphibious version built in the 80s
- A single defender used to take 56 hours to build and it consisted of over 7000 parts