This is the Defender Celebration Series, Land Rover’s official tribute to the iconic model for its final year of UK production – Solihull will build its last Defender in December, although that may not quite be the end for the Defender as we know and love it...
Comprising three limited editions – Heritage, Adventure and Autobiography – of which 1080 examples will be available in the UK, the Celebration Series sums-up the Defender’s diversity and references some of its past glories in the process.
Land Rover’s vehicle line director Nick Rogers says: ‘We wanted to mark the end of Defender production at Solihull with a special edition, but coming up with a single identity was impossible, so we developed three very different interpretations of the Defender to reflect its strength and breadth of character.’
Grasmere Green Defender 90 hard-top/Station Wagon and 110 Station Wagon features a Series I-style grille and retro badging, plus special ‘HUE 166’ graphics recalling the first pre-production Land Rover built in 1947. Priced from £27,800, just 400 will be available in the UK.
Corris Grey, Yulong White or Phoenix Orange 90 and 110 Station Wagons get new wheels, new grille and underbody protection, and more power/torque (148bhp/295lb ft) for the 90. All priced £43,495, just 600 will be available in the UK.
Two-tone 90 Station Wagon sports a choice of unique lower body colours to contrast with the Santorini Black upper body, metal badges and details, plus a full leather-lined interior including the headlining, and more power/torque (148bhp/295lb ft). Just 80 will be available in the UK, priced from £61,845.
Drawing in sand
The Celebration Series made its debut at Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey just before Christmas, where Land Rover paid tribute to the Wilks brothers by drawing a giant Defender in the sand. Red Wharf Bay is, of course, where in 1947 Rover engineering director Maurice first sketched-out his plan for the original Land Rover to Rover’s managing director – his brother Spencer.
Maurice’s son Stephen and Spencer’s son Nick, both took part in the day, which saw six Land Rovers from a Series I 80in to a new Defender 90 TDCi 2.2 pulling 12-foot harrows to draw a 2.8-mile long shape. At more than half a mile across at its widest point, it’s the largest sand drawing made in the UK. Check out the below!
It may not quite be the end for the icon. Land Rover says it is ‘investigating the possibility of maintaining production of the current Defender at an overseas production facility, after the close of UK manufacturing. Any continuation would see low volume production maintained for sale outside the EU.’ Expect a healthy grey import market to start soon after.
Demand for new Defenders is so great that we hear some dealers are currently unable to place additional orders, with the production lines being readied to produce these last-of-the-line limited-editions. And, it could be as soon as this summer when order books close for good. So, if you want one, get in quick!
See the March 2015 issue of Land Rover Owner, on sale January 21 for the full lowdown on the Defender Celebration Series limited-editions.