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The Land Rover Defender: An Obituary

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The Land Rover Defender: An Obituary

The last Land Rover Defender has rolled off the Solihull production line, after 66 years of continuous production. On January 29, 2016, a Heritage 90 softtop 4×4, painted in Aintree Green, was celebrated at the West Midlands factory that had produced 2,016,932 before it.

In a time when the word ‘iconic’ is thrown around with as much liberty as ‘like’, surely the boxy Defender, first drawn out in the sand on an Anglesey beach in 1947, deserves the accolade. The Defender in its many guises has carried the Royal Family, Winston Churchill, James Bond and Angelina Jolie, as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider movies. Many armies and police forces use it around the world too.

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But for us at Sidetracked, it’s the use of the Land Rover Defender on great adventures that we’re here to celebrate. From the Camel Trophy to the many documented on Land Rover’s site: Celebrate Defender. It was also used on Felicity Aston’s incredible 5,000km journey with two companions as recipients of the 2013 Land Rover and Royal Geographical Society Bursary which is awarded each year to enable a journey of geographical interest. Read the story here.

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We also documented Tim Pickering’s Land Rover G4 Challenge that saw the Defender, and other vehicles from their portfolio put through their paces across three continents.

Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, said on the day the last Defender rolled off the line: ‘The Defender and its Series Land Rover predecessors contain a rare quality; they connect with people emotionally. Today is about celebrating some of the wonderful stories and memories that these vehicles have generated over the years, particularly amongst our employees. But this is not the end for Defender – we have a glorious past to champion, and a wonderful future to look forward to.’

As alluded to by Dr Ralf Speth, it is perhaps too early to say goodbye completely to the Defender, Land Rover have promised an updated version of the vehicle due to start production in 2019.

See the story here:


Written by Daniel Neilson // Pole of Cold Photography ©Felicity Aston