2015 will sadly be the final year of UK production for the ubiquitous Land Rover Defender, almost 70 years since its unmistakable shape first appeared.
To celebrate Land Rover will be building three limited editions: The ‘Autobiography’, ‘Heritage’ and ‘Adventure’. Purists are most likely to be attracted to the Heritage which harks back to the original Land Rover and even carries on it ‘HUE 166’ graphics as a nod to the original pre-production ‘Landie’. Special Grasmere Green paintwork will be used, but there is no mention of any mechanical upgrades. Prices start at £27,00 for one of the 400 examples.
Those with more of an off-road bent will look towards that Adventure Edition with its additional underbody protection and chunky Goodyear MT/R tyres. Occupants will be treated to a leather-trimmed cabin and will have use of seven inch projector headlamps if they prefer to do their green-lane motoring after hours. 600 Adventures will be available, starting at £43,495.
Only 80 versions will be made of the range-topping Autobiography Edition, however. This will come laden not only with exterior and interior goodies but also a power hike of the 2.2 litre diesel motor from 122PS to 150PS. You’ll be relieved of £61,845 for the privilege but will get ‘Semi Aniline’ premium leather seats, side steps and a full Windsor leather interior for starters. Land Rover claims it ‘provides more comfort, equipment and performance than any previous model’ and looking at the extensive list of key features that sounds entirely plausible.
But can this really be the end of the Land Rover as generations have known-and-loved it? We’d like to speculate that there could still be one or two more run-out specials waiting in the wings, but the more hopeful news for Defender enthusiasts lies in the following statement from the factory:
“We are investigating the possibility of maintaining production of the current Defender at an overseas production facility, after the close of UK manufacturing. Any continuation would see low-volume production maintained for sale outside the EU”.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to see our favourite off-road icon going into production in India for thirty-odd years, and making its centenary…