End of an era, Defender production shuts down
Land Rover celebrated 68 years of history today after the final batch of Defenders rolled off the production line at the renowned Solihull production facility.
To celebrate this impressive achievement, over 700 current and former Solihull employees who were involved in the production of Series Land Rover and Defender vehicles were invited by Land Rover to view and drive different variants of one of their most influential vehicles at the Solihull facility. Some of the headline models include the first pre-production ‘Huey’ Series I, as well as the last vehicle off the production line, a Defender 90 Heritage Soft Top.
The event attracted more excitement following the announcement of a new Heritage Restoration Programme which will bring new life to the Solihull facility where a team of dedicated Land Rover specialists will oversee the restoration of a number of Series Land Rovers sourced from across the globe. The first restored vehicles will go on sale in July 2016.
“Today we celebrate what generations of men and women have done since the outline for the Land Rover was originally drawn in the sand,” said Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover. “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 Land Rover 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.”
“This is a special day of fond celebration for Jaguar Land Rover. We all have personal memories of Defender. It’s a true motoring icon and is much loved around the world,” said Nick Rogers, Group Engineering Director at Jaguar Land Rover. “The world has changed dramatically in the last 68 years, but this vehicle has remained a constant – something no other vehicle can claim. The last of the current Defender models embraces the vehicle’s simplicity, honesty and charm – it represents its Series Land Rover heritage. Creating the Defender of tomorrow, a dream for any engineer or designer, is the next exciting chapter and we are looking forward to taking on that challenge.”
The Land Rover Defender Celebration event witnessed over 25 unique Land Rover’s come together for a patriotic parade around the Solihull plant. The precession was led by the final Defender off the production line; a Soft Top model which embraced an original part that has been used since 1948 – a hood cleat. The final Defender will be housed in the Jaguar Land Rover Collection for enthusiasts to view.