For someone who places the slightest interest in the automotive market, it is clear that automakers are struggling to provide a better, sharp-edged and more refined design on each new vehicle model. From the alien-like edges of Lamborghini Veneno and the tear-like shape of Tesla S, every big brand chooses a new shape for every year’s addition.
However, there is one exception to confirm the rule. Coming from England’s Solihull plant, Land Rover Defender dashed through almost 65 years of history by enforcing a clean, timeless design.
The original Land Rover series was launched back in 1948. Land Rover 110 (One Ten), 90 and Land Rover Discovery were the first three models produced by the English automaker.
Other versions including the famous Land Rover Discovery were added to the line-up in the years to come.
Most recent version of the Defender started back in 1990 and features no less than 7 engine choices (including one BMW and two Ford units) and 4 different transmissions (5 and 6-speed manuals along with a 4-speed automatic).
There are two main elements that distinguish Land Rover Defender from other all-terrain vehicles currently on the market: efficient design and structural toughness.
How many times have you gotten around a Defender and asked yourself: “is this a new edition or is it vintage”?
For the untrained eye, finding the differences between a modern Defender and an older version is somewhat difficult, as Land Rover kept most of the original design throughout decades.
Land Rover has made a name for itself by providing some of the toughest chassis out there in the 4×4 world.
For those willing to get a feeling of a presidential limousine, various companies have transformed the Defender into a bulletproof vehicle.
Such an example is the 2.5-liter turbo diesel Defender that has been coated by Alpine Armoring with a 4mm ballistic steel cover, 40mm ballistic transparent polycarbonate, and run-flat tires.
Defenders have been also used in military operations, both by the UK and US governments.
Along with the extensive series, Land Rover provided special edition Defenders to celebrate various occasions such as movie premieres or anniversaries.
The first special edition Defenders got the SV (special vehicle) naming back in 1992.
From there on, other limited units were provided:
- Heritage (a tribute to the early 40’s Land Rover)
- Tomb Raider (commemorating the role the vehicle had in the movie)
- SVX (60th generation anniversary)
Each special edition featured luxury options as well as various coating nuances which were chosen beforehand by the buyer. Other elements like bigger alloy wheels or extra projector sets were also included in some special editions.
The last special edition of the Defender, also commemorating the end of the multi-decade generation, a single unit was designed by fashion artist Paul Smith.
It features no less than 27 coating colors, each one paying tribute to the Navy, Army, and Air Force as well as the countryside colors where Defenders are such a regular view.
The new design
Land Rover officially announced that production of the Defender will end in 2015.
A replacement prototype has been uncovered in 2011 at Frankfurt Motor Show. Named DC100, the Defender replacement will come in a three-door version powered by a diesel engine.
A leisure-oriented DC100 Sports model will also be released, featuring a more powerful unit. On the outside, DC100 looks fresh but without failing to remind the driver about its legacy, no matter what angle you are watching it from.