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Long Live the Defender

Long Live the Defender

23 April 2014

Last October the iconic British Land Rover Defender joined the halls of classic car fame. Production of Land Rover’s landmark model will cease in December 2015 making it a celebrated part of our motoring history.

It can trace its ancestry back to 1948 when the Land Rover Series was launched but the Defender, or Land Rover Ninety/Land Rover One Ten as it was first known, began its life in the early 1980s.

Since those early days when the robust model was made for farmers, it has made friends in high places and seen some of the world’s most wonderful places whilst continuing to serve.

The original name of Land Rover Ninety and Land Rover One Ten was in reference to the wheelbase in inches. It was specifically written as opposed to using numerical symbols. It wasn’t until 1991 when the name Defender was attached; a good eight years after their release.

Land Rover Defender

The light weight defender, seen here helping Daniel Craig’s James Bond track bad guys.

Since then, numerous military adaptations of the Defender have been released and there was even a shift in purpose in the 1990s to suit a higher society demographic. This saw limited-edition vehicles, such as the SV90 in 1992 and the 50th Anniversary 90 released in 1992 and 1998 respectively.

So, with the Defender set to become a classic car of great importance and desire, what eras of the Defender are you most enamoured to?

The Defender is often associated with the Queen and royalty and if that doesn’t serve to reinforce its quintessential British-ness then its role in supporting British armed forces at home and abroad should do. That isn’t to say that it is exclusive to us Brits as Australia and the U.S have also enjoyed the many perks that the Defender has consistently offered.

Land Rover Defender 2

The 50th anniversary Land Rover Defender.

But, now that its production has been put on ice (as of December 2015) it is likely to enjoy a new lease of life in its retirement.

Such is the Defender’s status as a British motoring icon, it will now grow in popularity with classic car enthusiasts, and especially those with an interest in classic military vehicles.

You’d be hard-pressed to find another vehicle that has essentially been built from the same platform consistently for over 30 years. Yet, numerous revisions and tweaks of it will make it an appealing project for fans of the Defender.

If you’ve enjoyed reading about the history of the Defender, you might be interested in checking out Channel 4’s For the Love of Cars show which takes a look at the Land Rover Series.

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