Land Rover reveals final line of Defenders before sending off into the pages of history

It’s with a sad heart and consideration for the inevitable that the beloved and legendary Land Rover Defender lineup is going to end in its current form. And to make sure the Defender goes off with a bang, Land Rover revealed a new line of special edition models.

It consists of the Defender Heritage Edition, the Defender Adventure Edition, and the Defender Autobiography Edition, all of which receive their own bespoke equipment and kit.

The Heritage Edition gets a classic Grasmere Green paint job, paying homage to the earlier Land Rover models, along with some other design cues such as a grille designed similarly to the first pre-production Land Rovers, also known as the “Huey.” About 400 of those will be made in both 90 and 110 bodies.

The Adventure Edition gets replicated 600 times with exterior modifications geared towards all-terrain ruggedness. This includes the added underbody protection plates to keep the vitals away from sharp and pointy objects. This version is also available in both 90 and 110 forms.

And lastly, the Autobiography, like some of its other model siblings have, is a more luxurious version of the Defender for the urban cruisers. It gets decked with a unique two-tone paint scheme along with an interior lined compeltely with Windsor leather. This one however is limited to only 80 units in the 90-inch wheelbase form.

All versions get power from from a turbodiesel four producing 150hp and 295lb-ft of twist, which is a bump from the standard model’s 122hp and 265lb-ft.

But the best thing of all, they drew a Defender into the beach of the Red Wharf Bay to pay a tribute to all the models that not only influenced the Defender to become what it is today, but was also the bloodline for the famous British off-roader brand as a whole.

Check out the press release below.

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Land Rover Launches A Year Of Defender Celebrations With Giant 1km Sand Drawing And Trio Of Limited Editions

  • World’s most iconic vehicle drawn on huge 1km scale on the same beach used to sketch the original design 68 years ago: http://youtu.be/4roB2KHK3PE
  • Heritage, Adventure and Autobiography Limited Edition Defenders announced
  • Solihull production of current Defender due to end in December 2015

Land Rover has gone back to the place where it all began to start a year-long celebration of the iconic Defender. A unique 1km sand drawing at Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey, UK, marks the launch of three exclusive limited edition models and the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the Defender story.

As UK production of the current Defender enters its final phase, Land Rover will use 2015 to celebrate its global automotive icon.

Land Rover Vehicle Line Director Nick Rogers explains the significance of recreating one of the world’s most iconic vehicles: “Passion and enthusiasm surround everything we do with Defender, and that will never change. With a history stretching back 68 years, this is a Land Rover that has thrived for decades on its unquestionable capability and iconic shape. I now have the honour of being one of the many enthusiasts at Land Rover committed to creating a fitting successor to the legendary Defender.”

To mark the announcement Land Rover has created the largest sand drawing ever produced in the UK. A Defender outline measuring a staggering 1km across was drawn on the beach at Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey using a fleet of six Land Rovers. The unique image is a tribute to the moment in 1947 when the engineering director of Rover, Maurice Wilks, first sketched the shape for the original Land Rover in the sand of Red Wharf Bay and proposed the idea to his brother Spencer, Rover’s managing director.

“My father met his brother on the beach at Red Wharf Bay and made a drawing in the sand of how he thought the Land Rover could be made,” said Stephen Wilks, son of Maurice. “That was the start of it all, the conception of Land Rover.”

The Wilks family owned land on the Welsh island and Maurice wanted a versatile vehicle that could double as a light tractor and off-roader. His forward-thinking design was christened the ‘Land Rover’, the outline of which we now recognise as the Defender.

Creating the giant piece of temporary artwork at Red Wharf Bay required a fleet of six Land Rovers, each towing an agricultural 12-foot harrow to draw the unmistakable outline of the Defender in the sand. The vehicles chosen for the race against the Anglesey tides chart the evolution of the Defender from its introduction in 1948 to the present day.

A Land Rover Series I, II and III were joined on the beach by a Ninety from the Eighties, a Defender 90 Hard Top and a Defender 110 Station Wagon. The immaculate Series II once belonged to the Wilks family and in memory of the moment originally enacted by their fathers, cousins Stephen and Nick Wilks, the sons of Maurice and Spencer Wilks respectively, were on hand to take part. They helped to draw the continuous 4.52km line – the length of 1,118 Defender 90 Station Wagons – into the sand with just minutes to spare before it was erased by the incoming tide.

The event witnessed the debut of the Defender Celebration Series; three exciting new limited edition models which each celebrate a different element of Defender’s unique history. The Heritage, Adventure and Autobiography Editions are all powered by Land Rover’s proven 2.2-litre diesel engine and are available to order now.

Land Rover is also 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 selected fleets and special vehicle applications for sale outside the EU.

Limited Edition Defenders

The three hotly anticipated limited edition Defender models celebrate a different element of the vehicle’s versatile character.

“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,” said Nick Rogers. “Whether our customers want to celebrate Land Rover’s unrivalled off-road heritage, demand the ultimate in terms of design and performance or have a genuine thirst for adventure, there will be a limited edition Defender that will be fit for purpose.”

The exclusive Autobiography Edition promises more performance, luxury and comfort than ever before thanks to its comprehensive equipment list, unique duo-tone paintwork, full Windsor leather upholstery and a power upgrade from 122PS to 150PS. Available in the UK and Europe from April, the Autobiography Edition will be produced exclusively as a 90 Station Wagon and priced from £61,500 (€64,000)*.

The Heritage Edition is inspired by early Land Rover models and mixes nostalgic design cues with modern creature comforts. It will be available in global markets and is identified by distinctive Grasmere Green paintwork and a contrasting white roof. A heritage grille and HUE 166 graphics, recalling the registration plate of the first ever pre-production Land Rover nicknamed ‘Huey’, also identify the Heritage model. It hits showrooms from August priced from £30,900 (€39,900)*.

The exciting new Adventure Edition also arrives in dealerships from August. The Adventure Edition will be available in global markets and is aimed at Land Rover customers who relish the great outdoors and embrace the Defender’s ‘go anywhere, do anything’ attitude. It comes fitted with additional underbody protection and Goodyear MT/R tyres to boost the Defender’s already class-leading all-terrain capability. Unique decals and a leather-trimmed cabin ensure the Adventure Edition stands out from the Defender crowd. The Adventure Edition is priced from £38,400 (€45,900)*.

ENDS

*Indicative pricing

Editors Notes

LIMITED EDITIONS IN DETAIL

Autobiography Edition

The exclusive Autobiography Edition provides more comfort, equipment and performance than any previous model. Its unique combination of interior and exterior features and special paint palette guarantee to make the Autobiography the most desirable Defender ever produced.  The Autobiography will be available exclusively in the iconic 90 Station Wagon bodystyle.

A power upgrade from 122PS to 150PS guarantees performance will live up to the promise of its eye-catching looks and exclusive appearance.  Striking duo-tone paintwork is the most obvious of the Autobiography’s unique features, but the most desirable Defender ever built includes a host of tasteful additions.

Summary

Indicative pricing: from £61,500 (€64,000)

On sale: from April 2015

Bodystyles: 90 Station Wagon

Key features:

  • Increased power output (122PS to 150PS)
  • Increased torque output (360Nm to 400Nm)
  • Choice of seven lower body colours
  • Santorini Black upper body, rear door, grille, headlamp surrounds and wheel arches
  • Seven-inch LED projector headlamps
  • Clear indicator lenses
  • ‘Defender’ bonnet script in machined bright finish
  • Metal/Aluminium exterior door handles
  • Metal fuel filler cap
  • Side steps
  • Underbody protection for engine sump
  • Bright Pack (white tail and indicator LED lamps)
  • 16-inch Gloss Black Sawtooth alloy wheels
  • Goodyear MT/R tyres
  • Autobiography badge (rear)
  • Santorini Black central information panel
  • Full Windsor Leather interior (including Ebony or Ivory rooflining)
  • Semi Aniline premium leather seats with twin needle contrast stitching and embossed Autobiography logo
  • Aluminium door lock button, handle and air vent bezels
  • Bright machined/enamel diff lock instruction plate
  • Unique carpet mats
  • Spun metal discs in cup holder slots

Heritage Edition

The Heritage Edition evokes the history of the Defender as a modern interpretation of the famous HUE 166 Land Rover – the first pre-production Series I vehicle, nicknamed ‘Huey’, which dates back to 1947. Traditionalists will appreciate the Grasmere Green metallic paintwork, Alaska White roof, heritage style grille, headlamp surrounds and heavy-duty steel wheels. Other nostalgic additions include the silver front bumper with black end caps while clear indicator lenses and Indus Silver door hinges also set the Heritage Edition apart. Body-coloured wheel arches and mudflaps bearing the Heritage logo also feature.

Externally, the finishing touch comes in the shape of aluminium heritage style badging to the front grille and rear bodywork, which is inspired by the designs fitted to the Series I and II models. Evocative HUE 166 graphics also adorn the front wing panels.

While the exterior pays homage to the earliest Land Rovers, the Heritage Edition features a host of modern creature comforts and luxurious finishes inside. They include perforated leather outer steering wheel rim and gear lever, Bright Aluminium trim for the air vents, door handles and door locks, and Almond Resolve Cloth seat facings bearing the heritage logo and detailed with HUE 166 tags.

Durable rubber floor mats and a padded cubby box between the front seats ensure the Heritage Edition is as functional as it is distinctive.

Heritage Edition models will be available in both 90 and 110 bodystyles.

Summary

Indicative pricing: from £30,900 (€39,900)

On sale: from August 2015

Bodystyles: 90 Hard Top, 90 Station Wagon, 110 Utility Wagon, 110 Station Wagon

Key features:

  • Unique Grasmere Green metallic paintwork with body colour wheel arches
  • Unique Alaska White roof
  • Silver front bumper with black end caps
  • Heritage style front grille and headlamp surrounds
  • Body coloured heavy duty steel wheels
  • Clear indicator lenses
  • Indus Silver door hinges
  • Heritage style badges
  • Heritage logo mudflaps
  • HUE 166 graphics
  • Bright aluminium finish clock and air vent bezels
  • Aluminium interior door handles and door locks
  • Perforated leather outer steering wheel rim, gear knob and handbrake lever
  • Almond Resolve Cloth upholstery with Ebony Vinyl sides and backs, with HUE tags
  • Padded cubby box with Almond Cloth lid
  • Heritage logo rubber floor mats

Adventure Edition

The Defender has helped to establish Land Rover’s credentials as the expedition vehicle of choice and the Adventure Edition is designed for customers who want to explore.

To enhance the Defender’s already impressive off-road credentials, the Adventure Edition features distinctive new underbody protection for the side sills and engine sump, while Goodyear MT/R tyres promise to make the most of whatever grip is on offer.

The Adventure Edition comes in choice of three striking metallic colour options, which include Corris Grey, Yulong White and Phoenix Orange. All feature contrasting Santorini Black paint for the Adventure grille and its surround, the bonnet, roof and rear door, plus the headlamp surrounds and wheel arches.

Seven-inch LED projector headlamps, clear front indicators and Gloss Black split-spoke diamond-turned alloy wheels also distinguish the expedition-inspired model. The front wings feature 90 and 110 decals.

The focus is firmly on comfort inside, where the Adventure Edition promises to provide high quality shelter from the elements. Premium seats with Windsor Leather upholstery available in four different colourways, perforated leather inserts and contrast stitching all add a touch of luxury. They are complemented by the leather-trimmed steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake lever and Bright Aluminium interior trim.

High quality Windsor Leather also features on the passenger facia and instrument panel while leather trim on the doors and grab handles, Ebony headlining and bespoke carpet mats complete the look.

Summary

Indicative pricing: From £38,400 (€45,900)

On sale: from August 2015

Bodystyles: 90 Hard Top, 90 Station Wagon, 110 Utility Wagon, 110 Station Wagon

Key features:

  • Corris Grey, Yulong White or Phoenix Orange paintwork
  • Santorini Black ‘Adventure’ grille, wheel arches, bonnet, roof, and rear door
  • Seven-inch LED projector headlamps
  • Clear indicator lenses
  • Underbody sill and sump protectors
  • Atlas ‘Defender’ bonnet script
  • Gloss Black split-spoke diamond-turned alloy wheels
  • Goodyear MT/R tyres with white lettering
  • Bright Pack
  • Decals on front wings
  • Windsor Leather upholstery
  • Windsor Leather front passenger facia
  • Leather trimmed door panels
  • Bright Aluminium finish clock and air vent bezels
  • Aluminium interior door handles and door locks
  • Bright finish and rubber pedals
  • Santorini Black centre console
  • Fully wrapped leather steering wheel
  • Perforated leather gear knobs, handbrake lever and grab handles
  • Ebony Alston headlining
  • Heritage logo carpet floor mats

LAND ROVER

Since 1948 Land Rover has been manufacturing authentic 4x4s that represent true ‘breadth of capability’ across the model range. Defender, Freelander, Discovery, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque each define the world’s 4×4 sectors, with 80% of this model range exported to over 170 countries.

SIXTY-SEVEN YEARS OF LAND ROVER

From our earliest days, the desire to create a vehicle that will tackle any terrain has made Land Rover famous around the world. Over the past 67 years, the Land Rover family has grown into the highly respected range of vehicles that are sold in record numbers today and the Defender can trace its roots back to the very first models to roll off the Solihull production line at Lode Lane in Birmingham.

HISTORICAL TIMELINE

1947    Land Rover project approved

1948    The Land Rover is launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show on 30th April

1948    First Station Wagon introduced.

1949    British Army orders its first Land Rovers

1950    Freewheel 4×4 system replaced by selectable two or four-wheel-drive

1953    Long-wheelbase version introduced

1957    Diesel engine introduced

1958    Series II Land Rover unveiled with more refined styling

1959    250,000th vehicle produced

1961    Series IIA with 2.25 diesel

1966    500,000th vehicle produced

1968    Headlights move position to the front wings

1970    Best year of sales with 56,663 vehicles retailed

1971    Land Rover Series III launched; 750,000th Land Rover produced

1976    1,000,000th Land Rover built

1979    V8 engine option introduced in March

1983    Land Rover goes coil sprung with introduction of One Ten

1984    Land Rover Ninety introduced

1990    Land Rovers are re-launched and renamed Defender 90, 110 and 130 with new 2.5-litre turbo-charged direct injection diesel engine

1992    Land Rover North America is founded with a limited edition of 500 Defender 110   vehicles powered by the 3.9 litre V8 engine

1993    Land Rover North America follows up the success of the launch of the Defender 110   with the Defender 90 soft top

2007    Major Defender evolution includes addition of six-speed gearbox

2012    New 2.2-litre diesel engine replaces previous 2.4-litre unit

2013    LXV Special Edition celebrates 65 years of Land Rover

SAND IN YOUR EYE

Sand In Your Eye specialises in making unique drawings and sculptures using sand and ice. From carving the famous Ice Hotel in Finland to etching giant Land Rovers at Red Wharf Bay, Jamie Wardley and his team travel the world creating amazing artwork using sand and water. The artists from Sand In Your Eye carefully plotted the outline of the Defender with the aid of GPS technology before the Land Rovers were deployed to draw the shape using the harrows.

1KM SAND DRAWING – VEHICLE DETAILS

  • 1951 Series I, 80-inch, 2.0-litre petrol, YFO 914
  • 1965 Series II, 2.25-litre petrol. Once the property of Spencer Wilks and used at his holiday retreat on the Isle of Islay in Scotland, GXC 639C
  • 1980 Series III Station Wagon, 109-inch, 2,286cc petrol, MJP 936W
  • 1984 Ninety Truck Cab, 2,286cc petrol, B540 LPD
  • 2011 110 Station Wagon, 2.4-litre diesel, VX61 BVN
  • 2014 90 Hard Top, 2.2-litre diesel, VN14 EYR

 


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Chris Chin

Chris Chin is the Editor-In-Chief of egmCarTech and is a regular contributor to Automobile Magazine.

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