All things must come to an end eventually. Revered off-road manufacturer Land Rover finally bids farewell to the Defender after being in production for 68 years.
In commemorating the momentous occasion, company executives, along with more than 700 former and current factory workers of the Solihull facility, gathered at the site to see and drive some of the automaker’s important models.
Present during the event was the pre-production ‘Huey’ Series 1, as well as the last Defender to roll off the production line; a Series 90 Heritage Soft Top (pictured above). The last Defender won’t be delivered to a customer as it will soon be kept by the company for the Jaguar Land Rover Collection.
“Today we celebrate what generations of men and women have done since the outline for the Land Rover was originally drawn in the sand. The Series Land Rover, now Defender, is the origin of our legendary capability, a vehicle that makes the world a better place, often in some of the most extreme circumstances. There will always be a special place in our hearts for Defender, among all our employees, but this is not the end. We have a glorious past to champion, and a wonderful future to look forward to,” said Dr. Ralph Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).
Besides celebrating the milestone of the Defender, the company also announced a new Heritage Restoration Program for the outgoing Defender. The program will be based on the existing Soluhill assembly line and will be manned by a team of expert line workers involved in the original Defender according to JLR. The Defenders will be sourced from around the world, while the first vehicles will go on sale in July 2016.
In its 68-year run, JLR claimed that they were able to produce 2,000,000 units of the Defender. The company even made a special model of the Defender last June 2015, which they debuted at the Goodwood Festival of Speed of the same year.
Last November, we reported that Land Rover will cease production of the Defender as its design, features and emissions are not up to standards of current SUVs in the market. It’s not entirely over for the Defender as the company plans to replace it with a new-generation model that will feature modern amenities along with a redesigned exterior. It will be revealed in 2018 apparently though JLR will sell it as a 2019 year model.