- Land Rover Defender production to end in 2015.
I could call it iconic, but that unimaginative adjective is parroted everywhere in describing the Defender.
It's so much more. It’s cool. The Defender featured in the sub-zero section of the Cool Wall on the UK's Top Gear, and was even voted the greatest car of all time by its viewers.
James Bond’s side-kick has trashed one (quite a few in reality) chasing a train. Portia DeRossi was given one for her birthday. Angelina Jolie co-starred with a V8 custom in Tomb Raider.
In the US, a 20 year-old example could easily cost you more than a hundred grand, and the black market for imported Defenders is so rife that Customs crushes them - and will even post the video on Youtube.
And here in Australia, owners have the sense to pass good ones down through the family rather than allow them to be sold.
It has breeding, a pedigree that goes back to the post-war Series 1 - the prototype of which was based on a Willys Jeep chassis.
Above all else, it is the ultimate expedition vehicle for the wistful adventurer. More than a few of whom have beards.
You can keep your Cruisers and Patrols. In comparison they are about as exciting as a fridge - except a fridge with an icemaker; they aren’t that exciting.
Sadly the current L316 Defender is in the process of taking its final bow. Well, sort of.
Land Rover Australia has confirmed that production will end late in 2015.
“There is not a published cut-off date for L316 Defender as yet, but due to legislation we are expecting it to be late in 2015,” James Scrimshaw, Public Affairs and Online for Land Rover Australia, told TMR today.
If you want one of the last L316 Defenders, then we think you’ll need to get a wriggle on. Defenders are still hand build in Solihull (UK) and usually built to order.
Word on the street suggests that the order book has already closed for the less common models, like the 130 range and 110 hardtop and ute variants.
The more popular 110 station wagon and 90 hardtop will possibly be available to order until some time in early 2015, but we recommend checking that with your local dealer rather than relying on our uneducated guess.
“Until the final production month has been announced I am unable to confirm the Australian cut-off date, but it will be as late in 2015 as possible," Mr Scrimshaw said.
Speculation is rife regarding a ‘second life’ for the L316 Defender with one UK magazine reporting that the Defender tooling and production line will be shipped to India where production will continue for emerging markets.
The 'third world' Defender may be fitted with the 300TDI engine that saw service in Australian delivered Defenders from 1994 through to 1999.
Still being manufactured, it would be cheaper to make and will drink anything slightly volatile that you can tip in the tank (within reason). Most issues can be fixed with a spanner, two bits of wire and a decent-sized hammer.
Of course, a Defender replacement for Western markets is still a little way off and timing has yet to be officially confirmed.
“There is no news on the replacement Defender as yet, regarding where it will be built or when it will become available," Mr Scrimshaw told TMR.
"There will be a gap in production between the outgoing Defender and the new Defender.”
The new Defender will have little in common with the old Defender. Like the FJ Cruiser has little in common with a 40 Series Landcruiser.
It will be shiny, safe, modern, eminently capable and appealing to a different type of buyer - and no-doubt many more of them.
Land Rover is getting real good at that.
I'll take my June 2015 build Defender 90 in Keswick Green with a Polar White roof thanks.
['word on the street' source: aulro]