After 68 years of history, Land Rover has just terminated the production of its iconic Defender, a moment celebrated by a special event at Solihull production facility on Friday.
Originally build as a commercial and agricultural vehicle, the 4×4 Defender became an iconic British model, making history for Land Rover. The world has changed dramatically in the last 68 years, but this offroader has remained true to itself, something no other model can claim. However, the Defender’s era has just been ended with the last model rolling off the Solihull, UK, production line on January 29. To mark the occasion, Land Rover invited more than 700 current and former plant employees involved in the output of Series Land Rover and Defender vehicles to see and drive some of the most important vehicles from its history, including the first pre-production ‘Huey’ Series I as well as the last vehicle off the production line, a Defender 90 Heritage Soft Top.
It all began in 1948, when the Series I went into full production at Solihull. Post-war Britain was struggling with a shortage of steel, though aluminium was in plentiful supply for the bodyshells and the country had vast manufacturing capacity. Inspiration came from Spencer and Maurice Wilks, two brothers who had helped return the Rover Company back into profitability during the 1930s. They had designed the Land Rover as a vehicle primarily for farming and agricultural use, but they could not have predicted the global impact their creation had. More than two million Series Land Rovers and Defenders have been built in Solihull since 1948. In 2015, a unique milestone Defender – the ‘Defender 2,000,000? sold for a record 400,000 pounds (around 600,000 dollars), a far cry from the original 450 pounds first Land Rover sold at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show. The next model reported to head into production as a 2019 model year sometimes during the course of 2018.