Land Rover Launches “A Year of Defender” to Celebrate SUV’s Final Phase
Three Special Editions, Gigantic Sand Art Commemorate Outgoing Legend
To recognize the final phase of the England-built Land Rover Defender, the company announced three special editions of the rugged SUV, each prioritizing one of the company’s core values.
The Autobiography is the most exclusive of the three, featuring two-tone paintwork, Windsor leather interior appointments, LED headlamps, aluminum and metal accents inside and out, and a special list of paint and interior options. It also includes a 23 percent power increase to 150 hp, with more torque from its 2.2L diesel I-4 as well. Only 80 will be produced at the equivalent of about $93,000 for our friends in the United Kingdom.
The Heritage is pure throwback, featuring the company’s signature Grasmere Green metallic paint and contrasting white roof. The first Land Rover Series I, nicknamed Huey, inspired the Heritage. Old-school grille and headlight accents, heavy-duty steel wheels, and silver-painted interior and exterior details make the Heritage a very attractive vehicle for classic Land Rover fans, as does the sub-$42k base price for the 600-unit production run.
Finally, off-road loyalists can option the Adventure, a Defender built for exploration. The three exclusive metallic paint options belie the ruggedness under the skin, as each Adventure model comes with a safari roof rack, air intake snorkel, access ladder, underbody protection, LED headlights, and tough Goodyear MT/R tires. Additionally, Defender 110 station wagon models come with seven seats and the increased power output of the Autobiography. This vehicle starts at about the equivalent of $65,600 for UK buyers, and 600 will be made.
In addition to the special editions, the company showed off its latest art project, a 1-km-long drawing of the Land Rover Defender, harrowed into the sand of Red Wharf Bay. That location was not an unintentional choice by Land Rover, as it was the place that company founders (and brothers) Maurice and Spencer Wilks first conceived the idea of a rugged passenger vehicle that could act as an off-roader and tractor.
The sand art was created thanks to the help of the Defender’s genealogical line: The 1951 Series I, 1965 Series II, 1980 Series III, 1984 Ninety, 2011 Defender 110, and 2014 Defender 90 each towed a 12-foot-wide furrow through the sand, finishing the drawing just in time for an aerial photo before being erased by the incoming tide. Check out the video of the event below.
Production of the Land Rover Defender in the United Kingdom will end in December of this year. The rugged SUV hasn’t had a significant redesign since the 1980s, and even that model has a direct bloodline to the original 1947 Land Rover. That aged (but beloved) architecture is finally being phased out due to increasingly strict emissions and safety laws in the European Union. Land Rover promises the next Defender will preserve the old model's fantastic capability, using both a ladder frame and unibody construction for extra strength.
However, fans of the classic Defender have one glimmer of hope: Land Rover announced today that it would consider overseas production of the SUV for markets outside Europe. According to Autocar, the semi-hand-built nature of the Defender means that setting up a new production line elsewhere would be cheap since limited robotics would be required. India, the home of Jaguar Land Rover parent Tata, seems to be a good option for neo-Defender production. Our fingers are crossed.
Source: Land Rover, Autocar