News : Land Rover Defender reaches the end of the line

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Land Rover

The Land Rover Defender – one of the few genuinely classic cars you can still buy new – is to go out of production in 2015. The iconic off-roader, which has been on sale since 1948 in one form or another, gets the chop in the face of escalating safety regulations and a changing market place. Land Rover has confirmed that it will be replaced.

The Land Rover Defender is identified with the UK in much the same way as the K6 telephone box, black London taxis and the Mini are – and it’s now the last bastion of original 1940s automotive hardware. The Defender’s also loved by HRH The Queen and was used as Sir Winston Churchill’s runabout. It even starred in the latest Bond film, Skyfall. Okay, so the number of parts shared between the Land Rover of 1948 and the Defender of today are miniscule – rather like Trigger’s broom.

However, it’s still fundamentally the same vehicle, with the same DNA flowing through it. The biggest evolutionary points following the Land Rover’s life were the addition of long-wheelbase versions, the brilliant Series III facelift by David Bache and the arrival of the V8 Stage 1 –  and, to show you just how much it hasn’t changed since 1948, here’s a gallery of each major model through the years.

1948 Land Rover Series I (1948-1958) The original Land Rover was the brainchild of Rover’s chief engineer, Maurice Wilks. He owned a ‘demobbed’ Jeep, was impressed with its abilities and wanted to create his own version to build in the Rover factory in Solihull. The idea to actually build one came in 1947 as his Jeep was worn out and as there was no British replacement on the market...
1948 Land Rover Series I (1948-1958)
The original Land Rover was the brainchild of Rover’s chief engineer, Maurice Wilks. He owned a ‘demobbed’ Jeep, was impressed with its abilities and wanted to create his own version to build in the Rover factory in Solihull. The idea to actually build one came in 1947 as his Jeep was worn out and as there was no British replacement on the market…
Land Rover Series I Royal Car (1953-'54) This 1954 Land Rover was the newly-crowned Queen's Royal first ceremonial vehicle, and featured a new rear section so the Queen and Prince Philip could stand in it and wave to crowds. It was finished in the official royal claret, and was used by the Queen and Prince Phillip on their Commonwealth tour of New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, Aden, and Africa.
Land Rover Series I Royal Car (1953-’54)
This 1954 Land Rover was the newly-crowned Queen’s Royal first ceremonial vehicle, and featured a new rear section so the Queen and Prince Philip could stand in it and wave to crowds. It was finished in the official royal claret, and was used by the Queen and Prince Phillip on their Commonwealth tour of New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, Aden, and Africa.
 Land Rover Series I 86in (1954) The Land Rover Series I had been improved with a lengthened wheelbase (up to 86 from 80 inches). And one of the most famous examples of all was owned by Winston Churchill. It was modified to feature a extra-wide passenger seat and heated footwell, and was sold by Cheffins in 2012 for £129,000.
Land Rover Series I 86in (1954)
The Land Rover Series I had been improved with a lengthened wheelbase (up to 86 from 80 inches). And one of the most famous examples of all was owned by Winston Churchill. It was modified to feature a extra-wide passenger seat and heated footwell, and was sold by Cheffins in 2012 for £129,000.
Land Rover Series IIA 109in (1961) The Land Rover Series II was a huge leap over the original. It featured revised styling but it was also re-engined, now powered by a new 2.25-litre petrol engine. The Series IIA that followed 18 months later was further improved to include a 2.6-litre petrol engine in the LWB version (above), and a new 2.25-litre diesel, significantly enhancing the Land Rover’s appeal in export markets.
Land Rover Series IIA 109in (1961)
The Land Rover Series II was a huge leap over the original. It featured revised styling but it was also re-engined, now powered by a new 2.25-litre petrol engine. The Series IIA that followed 18 months later was further improved to include a 2.6-litre petrol engine in the LWB version (above), and a new 2.25-litre diesel, significantly enhancing the Land Rover’s appeal in export markets.
Land Rover Series III 109in (1971) The Land Rover Series III was a masterful facelift overseen by Range Rover designer David Bache. The headlamps being moved to the front wings and updated stylised plastic radiator grille. The updated – more safety conscious – interior and all synchromesh gearbox improved the driving experience, and the arrival of overdrive catered for those who needed their Land Rovers for serious on-road work.
Land Rover Series III 109in (1971)
The Land Rover Series III was a masterful facelift overseen by Range Rover designer David Bache. The headlamps being moved to the front wings and updated stylised plastic radiator grille. The updated – more safety conscious – interior and all synchromesh gearbox improved the driving experience, and the arrival of overdrive catered for those who needed their Land Rovers for serious on-road work.
Land Rover Series III V8 (1979) The Land Rover finally received a detuned low-compression version of the Range Rover's V8 engine. After market tuners had been doing this for a while, and then Land Rover offered it as a option for export-market models in the mid-1970s. Power was down to less than 100bhp, but torque was still as healthy as ever, and most importantly, all of that additional grunt really helped cement the Land Rover's position as the world's best off-roader vehicle.
Land Rover Series III V8 (1979)
The Land Rover finally received a detuned low-compression version of the Range Rover’s V8 engine. After market tuners had been doing this for a while, and then Land Rover offered it as a option for export-market models in the mid-1970s. Power was down to less than 100bhp, but torque was still as healthy as ever, and most importantly, all of that additional grunt really helped cement the Land Rover’s position as the world’s best off-roader vehicle.
Land Rover 90 and 110 (1983) The Ninety and One Ten were facelifted versions of the Series III, designed primarily to make the Land Rover more habitable for 4x4 owners who might be considering jumping ship and buying one of its more modern Japanese rivals. The facelifted front end was a big giveaway, as were the new more plushly trimmed County models - but under the skin, more improvements, such as coil springs, permanent four-wheel drive from the Range Rover and an updated dashboard kept things modern...ish.
Land Rover 90 and 110 (1983)
The Ninety and One Ten were facelifted versions of the Series III, designed primarily to make the Land Rover more habitable for 4×4 owners who might be considering jumping ship and buying one of its more modern Japanese rivals. The facelifted front end was a big giveaway, as were the new more plushly trimmed County models – but under the skin, more improvements, such as coil springs, permanent four-wheel drive from the Range Rover and an updated dashboard kept things modern…ish.
Land Rover Defender (1990-2015) The Defender came about as Land Rover expanded its model portfolio to include the Discovery. With more than one model at all, it was no longer suitable to sell the car as the 'Land Rover'. The Defender was effectively a lightly facelifted 90/110 that also received the Discovery's turbodiesel engine to create the popular 200Tdi model. The V8 version continued as before, but with the new turbodiesel on board, its sales were seriously overshadowed.
Land Rover Defender (1990-2015)
The Defender came about as Land Rover expanded its model portfolio to include the Discovery. With more than one model at all, it was no longer suitable to sell the car as the ‘Land Rover’. The Defender was effectively a lightly facelifted 90/110 that also received the Discovery’s turbodiesel engine to create the popular 200Tdi model. The V8 version continued as before, but with the new turbodiesel on board, its sales were seriously overshadowed.
Land Rover Defender Tomb Raider Edition (2001) In 2001, Land Rover launched its movie tie-in special edition. Called the Tomb Raider, it cashed in on the Angelina Jolie movie, which saw the film's heroine bounding through the jungle in her tricked up Defender. The car was specially modified by Land Rover Special Vehicles and extras included an expedition tool kit, wing-mounted shovel and axe, winches at the front, rear and sides, a dash-mounted notebook computer, a GPS navigation system, a GSM telephone and emergency kill buttons. Traditional Land Rover fans hated it...
Land Rover Defender Tomb Raider Edition (2001)
In 2001, Land Rover launched its movie tie-in special edition. Called the Tomb Raider, it cashed in on the Angelina Jolie movie, which saw the film’s heroine bounding through the jungle in her tricked up Defender. The car was specially modified by Land Rover Special Vehicles and extras included an expedition tool kit, wing-mounted shovel and axe, winches at the front, rear and sides, a dash-mounted notebook computer, a GPS navigation system, a GSM telephone and emergency kill buttons. Traditional Land Rover fans hated it…
Land Rover Defender LXV (2013) To celebrate the Land Rover's 65th birthday (LXV in Roman numerals), this special edition was wheeled out. Just 65 were buit, and the 2.2-litre turbodiesel was finished in Santorini Black paint with a Corris Grey roof, grille and headlight surrounds. A set of 16-inch Sawtooth alloy wheels and exclusive LXV badging were also standard, along with black leather seats and contrasting orange stitching. At a little under £30,000, it sold out, proving that people were prepared to spend serious money on their Defenders, and that they didn't mind the compromises of driving a car so firmly rooted in 1948 - something Land Rover will no doubt take into account with its replacement in 2015.
Land Rover Defender LXV (2013)
To celebrate the Land Rover’s 65th birthday (LXV in Roman numerals), this special edition was wheeled out. Just 65 were buit, and the 2.2-litre turbodiesel was finished in Santorini Black paint with a Corris Grey roof, grille and headlight surrounds. A set of 16-inch Sawtooth alloy wheels and exclusive LXV badging were also standard, along with black leather seats and contrasting orange stitching. At a little under £30,000, it sold out, proving that people were prepared to spend serious money on their Defenders, and that they didn’t mind the compromises of driving a car so firmly rooted in 1948 – something Land Rover will no doubt take into account with its replacement in 2015.
Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

64 Comments

  1. That LXV looks very cool. For the last few years, companies like Twisted Performance have been making a *very* healthy profit selling luxed-up Defenders to city-dewlling hipsters.

    Will JLR dealers start stockpiling the old model, before the new one is launched?

    Very hard task to replace this car – need to tread a tricky path of matching the efficiency and reliability of modern Japanese 4WD pickups, without sacrificing the heritage of the car and offending the beardy Land Rover purists.

  2. It will be a task to replace this car.

    Especially for special implementations for which other vehicles aren’t really suited.

    eg. Army, PSNI armoured vehicles, Search & Rescue.
    Couldn’t imagine those in a plastic bumpered Land Cruiser…

  3. Hooray!

    The army tried dropping them years ago. In any market where your life can depend on the car – they buy anything except a Land Rover.

  4. @3 Yes, the army now has to pay 20 times as much per vehicle for something heavier than many WW II tanks.

    Truth is that BL became complacent in the seventies, using the Series 3 as a cash cow, rather than developing a proper replacement.

  5. This is bonkers, especially leaving a gap. There were perfectly good replacements/updates designed decades ago.

    Land Rover will have to ensure 100% parts availability for many years so it may as well shift production/assembly to a country less fussy over head impact legislation, eg a CKD plant in somewhere like India, Pakistan, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, etc.

    It has the facilities already in place to do this and some day the UK MOD will eventually realise it still needs a lightweight 4×4 and how old its current Land Rovers are…

    Alternatively, somebody like JCB could take over a manufacturing licence for it, especially if Land Rover are abandoning its modular concept in any replacement. Otherwise Mercedes Benz (G wagen and Unimog) will be laughing all the way to the bank.

  6. The trouble with the Defender is that it’s very costly to produce and the military have moved on. The MOD market would probably be better served by a specialist like JCB who can design and build a military vehicle rather than take a road vehicle and convert it for military use. It would then have less need to comply with the regs on road cars which is what is killing off the Defender.

    Any new Defender will be different and many will dislike it but JLR is in the business of making and sellling roads cars primarily and therefore its product lineup should reflect that.

    I like the Defender but as a road vehicle it is terribly compromised and actually even off road it’s not as good as even some other LR products, albeit it is much simpler. The last Defender I drove was a new 13 plate one and it just wasn’t that good. Noisy, slow, awful steering,awful handling and with the Transit engine up front the electronic anti-stall etc actually made it pretty poor at a crawl speed.

    Let’s put the thing out of its misery and move onto new things.

  7. In the US, we only got the Defender for a year or two before our safety regs killed it. Still, I am very sad to see it go because it represents the end of an era of simple, rugged honest vehicles that did what they had to without a myriad of computers. I only wish it had been sold here new in greater numbers so I would have the chance to own one.

  8. @7, Military vehicles have to comply with regs like any other vehicle in terms of the Defender or any other road going vehicle including the HET tank transporter.

    As for previous posts regarding Japenese reliability of off roaders- dot make me laugh, we had L200’s and Shogun Vans on the Olympics building project and two contractors sent them back goosed and said fetch Defenders or forget it.

  9. Chris C @ 6

    ” it may as well shift production/assembly to a country less fussy over head impact legislation, eg a CKD plant in somewhere like India, Pakistan, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, etc.”

    Yes, surely there will still be huge sales potential for the ‘Defender’ in certain parts of the World

  10. Well it had to happen and considering JLR’s burgeoning prosperity, it is surely within the realms of possibility to create a new basic, utilitarian, robust, off-roading workhorse that is also (this is the clincher!) refined??? I’m not talking about an over-gadgeted 3 tonne limo like the rest of their range, but something with world beating off road ability, composed road manners, indestructable build quality and with a jet washable interior!

  11. Production will probably move to India were they currently make them in kit form. Makes me wonder if the “replacement”,the dc100, which they are now calling a “duel purpose vehicle, will actually be called Defender because it is apparently going to have a far more civilised appeal and have great off road working ability too.

  12. I hope the new vehicle will be as versatile as Defender but more civilized to drive.
    If I was tasked with replacing it- I’d go down the road of similar chassis, fitted with a two-seat passenger cabin isolated from the chassis on rubber mounts, the rear and top of which would be open and common to all models, an integral Targa bar roll-over safety cage would be employed to make the vehicle super safe.

    Different body styles could be added to suit application but the std cabin would remain, allowing subsequent uses to alter the body style if required.

    Front wings/slam panel would be separate and bolt on.

    Price would be paramount, I would aim for no more than 10% increase on present Defender prices.

    Landrover already have enough premium priced vehicles in their range- they do not need any more!

  13. Sad day.
    I am confused by references to putting it out of it’s misery. What misery?
    It lead the way in 4×4 travel, it’s sold all over the world, it’s an icon in its own time. In the face of plasticky Japcrap wannabes of course sales are down – and the bean counters are at work. As for the safety angle we can kill anything with that ticket!
    I might as well give up – many on this site will just want to kick the crap out of it. Carry on.
    Given the task of leaving to cross Africa tonight I know what I’d rather be driving…….

  14. Feels odd to see Land Rover actually leave the ‘Land Rover’ market!

    Our W-reg defender has worked hard for close 15 years- still looks brand new in a ‘varnished-mahogany’ shade of metallic paint over basic alloy wheels. I suppose skinflints like us don’t offer LR much in the way sales like an Evoque buyer might.

    That said, we’ve got through a shed-load of Discos over the last 20 years. They were all crap…

  15. Even E reg sheds are big money, i have earned excellent money replacing rear cross memmbers and the like and had a holiday out of a pair of front wings.

    The thing is, these Defenders can be fixed, you can get parts anywhere and the 300 TDi is completely and utterly bombproof, heads can be skimmed like a Shoguns Derv head cant.

    Throw a Disco transfer case in a defender,put ATF in the gearbox and 75/80 fully synth in the transfer ‘box and the vehicle is so much a sweeter drive.

    I did prefer the TD5 over the Ford sourced 2.4 Puma, but thats regs for you. It would be interesting with the 2.0 ecoboost Focus ST engine thats going into the forthcoming RR Evoque.

  16. The Defender is a wonderful machine and its testament is that it is still in production today who can argue with that. Still, as I own one and drive it regularly – I love it its rawness I love its nuts and bolts technology and its cabin water leaks, But I agree I think it is time to move on and welcome in he DC range, I think the DC range are a pretty reasonable replacement. alex

  17. 300TDi utterly bombproof? rubbish! dad’s destroyed 3 inside a year, one even snapped it’s crank. And whats with a cam belt on a pushrod engine??????

  18. “Given the task of leaving to cross Africa tonight I know what I’d rather be driving…….”

    In any market where your life can depend on your 4×4’s reliability, Defenders were abandoned years ago. Whether you look at Australia, East Africa, North Africa – anywhere, the vehicles in use are Toyotas, Nissans, and Kias.

  19. Its also pure marketing drivel to say the land rover has been in production scicne 1948. It hasn’t what we know now as the Defender has only been in production since 1984 (when the 90/110 replaced the SIII), possibly an orewellian typo?

  20. It needs to change because CO2 emissions are quite shocking and it’s quite frightening to see that there are no safety features whatsoever;you can’t even specify safety features or airbags on the current outgoing version, in a crash with the current version your face chest and body would be mashed crushed and seriously injured, you’d be seriously injured at best and even killed at worst. A 4×4 with no safety features/options is just not good enough in today’s climate.

  21. Okay, I may be a Land Rover enthusiast through and through, but I do have issues with both the Defender and Land Rover themselves.

    The simplicity of its build, high level of functionality and ability to embrace three different wheelbases and numerous bodystyles are its main appeal. From a stylist’s point of view it looks appealing whether featuring solid paint and steel wheels, or decked out in micatallic paint, alloy wheels, side graphics and half leather interiors.

    The problem with replacing it is simple: judging by Land Rover’s attitudes towards its recent models, there is a genuine concern that the Defender’s replacement will be more about frivalous form designed to appeal to the Chelsea set, than producing something that will claw back some of the utilitarian market that it has lost out to highly competant Japanese alternatives such as the L200, HiLux and Nivaro, to name but a few. There is even a large functional Volkswagen pick-up too. I really do feel saddened every time I see one of the aforementioned offerings being driven and thinking that perhaps the owner might have considered a Land Rover product instead, if a modern and competitive contender had been offered. The same sentiments were probably still valid around 20 years ago.

    Land Rover already has an impressive array of premium priced SUVs with high levels of refinement, luxury and features akin to those of a family or executive car. Not trying to claw back lost market which its most iconic offering once commanded the market share of does not seem logical. As has already been pointed out, the Defender still has a large following which is reflected in its strong residual values. However, this perhaps does not consider the even stronger residuals that exist for Defenders sold in North America up until 1997. There clearly is a desire for Land Rover to continue to offer this type of concept in a number of lucrative markets.

    Despite numerous updates over the past twenty two years under the Defender sub-brand, the offering has reached the limits of its natural development. It is uncomfortable to drive based on the numerous shortcomings of its original design and cannot be sold in a number of important export markets due to the current design lacking in key safety features. It also can no longer meet the needs of the military (even though this is tiny market) and it is an extremely labour intensive model to build, which means it does not enjoy healthy profit margins on each one sold.

    The slightly frivalous form and packaging of the DC100 concept is probably more suited as a new entry level Land Rover to sit below the Freelander than a replacement for the Defender. Clearly high levels of build quality, reliability, functionality from basic trim to high equipment interiors, ease of maintenance, versatility of chassis size and bodystyles, competitive pricing and a recognised design silhouette are more critical to the design criteria for a Defender replacement than simply delivering another premium priced offering with plush interior and premium pricing.

    I wish Land Rover well in bringing out a new generation Defender that meets these pertinent needs, leaving the original Defender Classic to be built by subcontractors in third world countries where premium pricing and image is not as important.

  22. Kev@23
    I did say “I know what I’d rather be driving” not what everyone else is driving!
    I did serious off-roading in Series Landies for 20 years so I know just how dependable they are! Each to their own eh?

  23. @ Stewart 24 the Defender name was applied by Land Rover in 1990 when the Discovery arrived. Land Rover themselves however refer to the Defender as the Coil sprung vehicles from 1984 or there abouts onwards. The springs and suspension changes sand some preceeding engine improvements (late series III) are really all that separate the early defenders from the Series III and 109V8. Many of the body panels including the doors can easily be made to fit from the Series II right through to the Defender models. I think most would agree that the Defender and its predecessors are a logical development of the same thing, ie, The Land Rover. Some others would say, that The Whole Land Rover(defender) is the sum of its parts.

  24. Re 27: I remember discussing vehicle reliability with a REME WO2, in the late 80’s at Ashchurch. I had complemented him and his blokes on a quick turnaround of a dead Landy. His reply was that they were quick because they got lots of practice. They hated the things.

  25. Kev@29
    I’m always prepared to learn – what was available and more reliable and easier to fix at Landy prices than a Landy in the late 80’s? You would have to rule out anything with plastic bits tacked on of course and I think the Merc G Wagon was almost exactly twice the purchase price?

  26. Perhaps some knowledgeable chap could enlighten us as to how many parts are still used in 2013 from the original 1948 design.
    The Discovery started life as a production-engineered Range Rover; what we need now is a production-engineered Defender; but please, no plastic bumpers. A Defender needs to be able to push a gate open.
    BTW a schoofriend of mine runs a smallholding in the Lake District. He drives a scruffy Series 3 with a V8 engine. Always good for putting boy racers in their place.

  27. I was born in 1953 and the Land Rover Defender was already on the market. I was 25 before I was able to buy my own, used Land Rover Defender which fitted my lifestyle at the time perfectly. I came to believe the brand would outlive me, but unless I am very unfortunate over the next year and a half or two, that will not be the case. Sad, but I suppose it had to happen eventually.

  28. @28,
    Rubish. Parts changed from the SIII to the 90/110 are far more than ‘just springs’

    The chassis changed, the gearbox changed, the axles changed, the brakes changed, the dash changed, the seats changed, the wind screen changed, every body panel is differnt, the lights changed. About the only things carried over were the engine and front bumper. There are more common parts between the W114 and W123 Mercedes than there are between the SIII landrover and the 90/110. If you drive an SIII then jump staight into a 90 there is no way you could call them the same car. The 90 is in fact a Range Rover with a land rover body ontop

  29. @31
    Absoluty none at all, in fact the SII shared little with the S1. But ‘in prodcution since 1948’ sounds more impressive than ‘in production since 1984’

  30. The Land Rover Defender has been an icon since before I was born so, literally, I grew up seeing them on the road. But then so was the original VW Beetle design and it was suspended too. I guess nothing remains as it was forever.

  31. I live in a rural village, and these days its a rare treat to see a Defender pull up outside the village shop. Farmers, Forestry workers and builders have moved over to Japanese pickups years ago due to them being cheaper to buy and run, much nicer to drive and more practical. Even the big fleets like the Water companies and national grid etc. have moved over to pickups and 4×4 Transits.

    The Defender did make massive leaps forward once it got the 2.4 Transit engine by having a new dash and a working heater, but the bulkhead/dash was moved back, making the cabin even more cramped.

    If I had to chose a 4×4 for daily work, it wouldn’t be a Defender.

  32. @ stewart 32 the 90 has stronger(taller) chassis rails. but yes the suspension theory and technology is the same. The gear box options on the early 90/110 was the same as the last of the series III 109v8 the there was a period of transition. perhaps market dependant and was was stil hanging around in ckd kit assembly areas…alex

  33. @Alex, in what way is the suspension on a 90 even remotley the same as the SIII? It’s completly differnt! I know the early 90 had the old Range rover 4 speed box, They were just using what they had left over, the 5 speed was always the intended box for the 90/110

  34. I meant the suspension is the same as the range rover as you pointed out. I am well aware of the differences, having owned 1 109 series IIA 4cyl, a 109 stage 1 V8 and a 110v8 (I still have the 110v8) I have had a Disco 1 V8(based on the RR platform you mention)for 8 years and now also have the Disco II V8. there a differences in time but they are closely related. I don’t feel I need to justify it anymore. you have it your way if you wish. I don’t care. alex

  35. @ will M : I had to google triggers broom too here’s the answer. its the hovel and handle theory of the same tool one has had for a million years.

  36. Yea I knew what triggers broom was, was suggesting that the LR Series – 90/110 – Defender line was such an example 🙂

    Remember doing a philosophy class on it, matters of property and identity.
    If a wooden ship replaces timber planks one at a time, when does it stop being the same ship?
    If someone gathers the old timber and builds a ship, is this the same ship as the original?
    If not, what gives the ship it’s identity if it isn’t the components that make it up?
    So, a relevant example thought experiment might be as follows:

    – As Land Rover replaces each component on the Series – 90/110 – Defender line over the years, another company buys the tooling to make the replaced component.
    Over the years they’ve amassed enough to build an entire vehicle, so which would be the real Land Rover? 😉

  37. @ Will M I think triggers broom is a good analogy as is the other saying “the whole land rover is the sum of its parts” (ie there are plenty of old land rovers with new chassis, panels, interior etc) 🙂 in one of the LR magazines recently they did a chassis swap on a Disco II, who would have thought it would be worthwhile but I guess chassis rust quicker in the UK than they do in NZL. over here the cars get written off more because there is something major wrong with the technology on it, and it is uneconomic to fault find and repair it when for example you can buy a good disco II for NZ$10K. at that price you can almost afford to buy a second one for spares or buy one a year or two on for spares. and then you get people mating IIA and III bodys onto shortened range rover chassis. again not economic but people do it because, with a land rover – they can. alex

  38. @ Will again.. about your final comment of course its a real land rover. you can still buy a mini moke body if you want or a BMH mini classic body or an MGB body or a TR7 body…. and have it anyway you want. alex

  39. The design has reached the end of the road.

    However surprised they cannot find a market for a modular range of 4×4 and 6×4 LCVs using the excellent oily bits of the current range.

  40. The only people who love Defenders tend to be enthusiasts that buy them second-hand – this is why they hold their value so well, the used demand for them actually outstrips the new demand for them. They are unjustifiably cramped (where do you put your right elbow?) death-traps in a crash and are very easy to roll making point two even more important.

    There’s simply no demand for a straight Defender replacement, the replacement model may actually sell in large numbers if it covers the proper off-roader and lifestyle vehicle boundaries – Landie beardies trashed the DC100 – but in reality that is the type of car that makes sense if you want to carry on selling ’em. Other than that why don’t the Landie beardies club together and buy the tooling for Defenders? This is one thing the treacherous asset-strippers at BMW got right – positioning MINI as a lifestyle pastiche of the original rather than trying to produce a new ground-breaking packaging miracle which the public would have dismissed and mistrusted was the right thing to do. The original Mini sold well because it became trendy – not becasue it was clever. Creating a widely sell-able lifestyle pastiche of the Defender but with excellent off-road capabilities and modern safety features is the right thing to do now – the DC100 is that vehicle. But create a stripped-out version without the frills to attract the commercial customer. Listening to hard-core Defender/Series owners is madness – they are not going to buy enough cars to keep the model afloat. The only problem with the DC100 was it wasn’t customisable enough, LR should produce a ladder-framed car to enable many body and wheelbase options (minibus, pickup etc) but with the standard body being a big simple SUV type body – which the yummie mummies will buy in droves for the school run – and for goodness sake – RUST PROOF IT!

  41. @46

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Fewer people who need a 4×4 for actual work are choosing the Defender unless they have a discount (Farmers through the NFU). Why put up with the discomfort when you can buy a Ford Ranger with a more comfortable interior, space for the family and which does 95% of the work for 80% of the price.

  42. The DC100 is an utter fail as a defender repalcement. The plastic bumpers and stupid faired in headlights make it so. Whaterver replaces the defeneder has to have steel bumpers capable of taking on a tree. and be simple enough for a land rover ‘specilist’ to repair.

    The original does not ‘roll over’ and I have never found it ‘cramped’ although I have heard moans about no space for the elbow I have never noticed this. As for death traps in a crash, yep I’ve crashed one, I’m not dead, in fact I walked away 2 hours later the Landy in question was fixed. Any way who cares, it’s one of the least likley cars top be involved in a crash according to the data used by the insurance companies, hence is one of the few cars an 18yo can insure without taking out a mortgage these days.

    Land rover already have a ‘lifestyle’ 4×4 that is selling well in the Evoque, they don’t need another one. Whatever replaces the defender should be a real off road farm/utility veihcle that can take a few knocks without needing £200 (or more) of plactic bumper trim repalcing every time it knocks a tree, gate post or any other object that farmers have an inate ability to find in the way

  43. Fact is you can’t fit steel bumpers and still pass pedestrian safety regs (which is why it’s being canned)

    And as for being cramped it obviously depends on the size and shape of the individual, but compared to its competitors the defender is cramped. ever noticed how every defender on any display stand always has electric windows? (Even if otherwise its poverty spec? ) it’s so you can’t feel the window winder hitting your knee

  44. My defender has manual windows, and I agree Rhyds the winder is a problem, not so much from hitting the knee but a bit of a stretch to use it with the door closed!

    Why, oh why, didn’t LR widen the cabin years ago when the 90/110 came out?
    Longer outriggers, wider bulkhead, etc etc.

  45. Ive got electric windows in the front 🙂 out of all the bits I had to buy including new doors it was hardly noticeable in the cost. electric winders re GBP 48 each now but were 38GBP when I bought them. alex

  46. @ 46 Rhys I think the Defender is actually more comfortable than the Toyota Hilux and the Defender handles better too (AWD). I think the Hilux is particular disappointing for a modern ute, we have a fleet of them at work and most of my colleagues are complaining about them a couple of them have said they would rather drive a Defender. The Ranger though I agree is a very good all round vehicle.

  47. I will admit to not having been in a new HiLux, but I have had a go in my old man’s new Ranger and it is a tremendously good machine. He had a 300 TDI Defender with work for 10 years, which was replaced by a Ranger. The main difference was that while the defender’s heater might just about stop your wet legs freezing (he works for a water company), a Ranger one would actually dry them off…

  48. @49, The Defender is one of only three cars in the world that fails the German version of the “Elk test” – it does roll.

  49. Car company’s new owners make improvements to a much-loved icon to keep it ticking over while teasing the public with exciting new concepts for a replacement. Eventually a date is set to finally kill the classic off after decades of good service.

    Said replacement is launched and sells well to certain types but marque traditionalists HATE it and deride it for being a cartoon parody of the original, lacking both the simplicity and innovative design of the original. Oh, and it’s a lot more expensive.

    Will history be repeating itself? 😉

  50. @56
    So what? a far more relevant indicator of safety are the statistics used by insurance companies, which says the defender is one of the least likely cars to have an accident, which results in it being one of few cars a 17 yo can insure without a mortgage

  51. defender is like the mother of landys with out it landrover is gone .we already have fancy range ,discovery,freelander,rr sport for fancy cutomers thats it. some customers who love the versatile defender will be out.so change interior but not offroad exterior & chassis.less gagdets that is the best 4x4xfar

  52. give c100 a new name like you did for evoque,rrsport and give our defender with it box shape,steel bumper genes because thats what makes it stand out of crowdy world competive market thats full of fancy spaceship looks that rr,evoque,discovery,freelander provides,so why hustle to change defender

  53. All due respect to Land Rover, and indeed to David Bache, but the Series 3 wasn’t really a ‘masterful facelift’.

    The headlights moved to the wings in 1968, when the Series 2 was still in production, because new lighting regs in various export markets (and eventually the UK) outlawed the older ‘lights in the grille’ set-up. It wasn’t a styling decision to do it, and it was done before the Series 3 entered production.

    Likewise, the car-type dashboard, which arrived with the Series 3 and replaced the Series 2’s all-metal interior, was required by new crash legislation.

    Even the Series 3’s flat door hinges and inboard windscreen hinges were added because the older versions stuck out too far and were considered hazardous under new regs.

    I’m sure Land Rover would have updated the vehicle off their own bat eventually, but they were more or less bounced into making the changes they did at the time they did by looming legislation in the various markets where the Land Rover was sold.

    In fact, I’ve heard it said that the only reason Land Rover decided to relaunch what was only a very slightly modified vehicle as a whole new model was to make a virtue out of necessity. Just about the only thing on a Series 3 that was a purely styling decision was the grille!

    Incidentally, apparently there is one component from the 1948 Land Rover that is still fitted, unchanged, to the current Defender. It’s the threaded oil drain/filler plug on the steering swivels. Here’s a photo of one from my 1967 Series 2a –

    http://www.nemesis.to/imagesissue9/lr3.jpg

    .

  54. I own a 110 van used to own a 110 station wagon. Wife owned a 110 station wagon, then a Disco 2, Son owns a 90.
    We like Land rovers. Safety! I cant think of a safer vehicle to be in. A ford went in the back of my station wagon but I diddent even feel it, just saw all the bits of ford flying past my mirrors , lady had to be cut out, unscathed I will add.
    Wife got hit head on by a beamer and hardly felt it. Beamer just disintegrated. Son got hit head on by another ninety on ice and both drivers were un injured. So where does the safety bit come in ?
    So land rovers puff a bit of smoke. Environmentally friendly ,Cant think of another vehicle that’s 100% recyclable can you. How many do you see in a scrap yard. They usually get snapped up for rebuilding.
    They say that 75% of land rovers ever built are still on the road.
    Nah I recon they are dropping them because they last to long. Most of todays vehicles are dead before they get to 10.
    Its all about greed and making more dosh by selling more things that wont last so you have to buy another one .

    The bottom line from me is …… The defender is badly built, uncomfortable, basic, loud, Smokey and ugly but it definatly does what it says on the box.

  55. @62, Absolutely agree, we had a ’08 110 station wagon in recently with the front bent over 8 inches over to the o/s, had to take engine out to repair on the Josam jig (not myself, those skills are beyond me in terms of jig work) whilst I was working on it I had a look round and could not believe how well the doors shut with Germanic quality! I know the frames are one piece and the bulkhead are a little lighter on Puma engined defenders but all the same I was shocked at how solid it was.

  56. It’s a real shame this vehicle will be no more at the end of this year, but horrendous emissions with skyhigh tax bills and lacklustre safety provision is the reasons it is going. Also it suffers from a bouncy ride on-road but is better when it does what it does off road, and when many other off-roaders are offering a host of safety features such as anti-whiplash head restraints/airbags/crumple zones/side-impact protection/seatbelt pretensioners/collapsible pedals/and anti-deformable footwells etc and are getting a full 5 star Euroncap crash safety rating on top, the Defender just isn’t ahead in the safety game to compete with these better machines.

    LR Defenders were designed purely as workhorses and utilitarian off road go anywhere machines for farms NOT comfortable safe and enjoyable off road vehicles;if you want better safer and more comfortable vehicles then go for a Freelander II/Discovery III or 4/Discovery Sport/Evoque or a Range Rover/Range Rover Sport.

    A basic solid body just isn’t enough to satisfy car safety requirements these days and if you suffered a frontal impact crash in the current Defender, you would crack your head on the unforgiving steering wheel boss (no airbag), suffer chest injuries on the steering wheel rim, and your legs pelvis and torso would probably be trapped and bleeding in the deformed driver/passenger scuttle which you probably would have no chance of walking away from.

    This sort of poor safety provision doesn’t do the Defender any favours, and the emissions on it would NEVER satisfy today’s European Euro requirements for diesel engines along with that skyhigh tax bill. It simply has to go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.