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Last Defender
<p><strong>Last Defender.</strong></p>

It’s Land Rover Defender’s Last Stand as Long Production Run Ends

What began as simply a line drawing in the sand went on to become one of the world&rsquo;s most iconic 4x4s, earning the accolade of being the most versatile vehicle on the planet.

Land Rover has ended production of its legendary Defender model after 68 years of building what it calls one of the most important vehicles in its history,

Some, 2,016,933 Series Land Rovers and Defenders have been built in Solihull, 110 miles (176 km) northwest of London since 1948.

What began as simply a line drawing in the sand went on to become one of the world’s most iconic SUVs, earning the accolade of being the most versatile vehicle on the planet, capable of taking owners to places other vehicles couldn’t reach.

In 1948, the Series I went into full production at Solihull. Post-war Britain was struggling with a shortage of steel, though aluminum 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 to profitability during the 1930s. They had devised the Land Rover as a vehicle primarily for farming and agricultural use. They could not have predicted the global impact their vehicle would have.

Last year, a unique milestone Defender – the “Defender 2,000,000” – sold for a record £400,000 ($568,493), a far cry from the original £450 ($639) price of the first Land Rover sold at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show. That original Series I Land Rover was powered by a 1.6L 4-cyl. with just 50 hp.

Land Rover has announced a new heritage restoration program based on the site of the existing Solihull production line.

A team of experts, including some long-serving Defender employees, will oversee the restoration of a number of Series Land Rovers sourced from across the globe. The first vehicles will go on sale in July.

A team of 12 experts, 10 of whom will transfer over from the existing production line, will lead the project, which initially will begin with the restoration and sale of early Series Land Rovers.

The team has 172 years of combined experience working on Defender or Land Rover production. One employee who will transfer over to the program, Tony Martin, has worked at Solihull all of his life, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather; meaning he will be restoring some of the vehicles his grandfather helped to build.

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth says the Series Land Rover, now Defender, is the origin of JLR’s legendary capability.

“There will always be a special place in our hearts for Defender, among all our employees, but this is not the end,” he says in a statement. “We have a glorious past to champion, and a wonderful future to look forward to.”

JLR Group Engineering Director Nick Rogers says the Defender is a true motoring icon.

“The world has changed dramatically in the last 68 years, but this vehicle has remained a constant – something no other vehicle can claim,” he says.

A Defender celebration in Solihull saw more than 25 unique vehicles from Land Rover’s history come together in a procession around the plant, featuring the final current Defender vehicle off the line.

That last Defender has an original part that has been used on Soft Top specifications since 1948 – the hood cleat. The vehicle will be housed in the Jaguar Land Rover Collection.

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