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-   -   End of an Era (http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?t=20310)

DaveInDenver 10-04-2013 09:13 AM

End of an Era
Even though we're Toyota enthusiasts, we can appreciate the Defender.

Land Rover: the end of a legend
The world's longest-serving vehicle is to roll off the production line for the last time after a continuous run of 67 years.

The Land Rover, the world's longest-serving vehicle, is to cease production after an unequalled run of 67 years. "Production of the iconic and globally recognised Land Rover Defender will cease in December 2015, " Jaguar Land Rover told Telegraph Luxury.

So two years from now you will no longer be able to buy yourself a brand new Land Rover, a proper Land Rover, latterly known as the Defender. The last time there were no Land Rovers, George VI was in the Palace, Attlee in Downing Street, Independent India was just a year old and Harry Truman was about to approve the Marshall Plan.

The Land Rover was created in the shadow of World War II. Inspired by the American Jeeps that had flooded Europe during the war, it was made from aluminium, which was abundant thanks to the British public answering the Ministry of Information’s call to hand over their pots and pans. The Series I, launched in April 1948, came in various shades of military green.

But designer Maurice Wilkes never intended it to be driven exclusively by men in uniform. And so it proved to be. In 65 years it has become as synonymous with farming, adventure, life-guarding, life-saving, rescuing, exploring and endeavour as it has with combat. As British icons go, it’s up there with Paul McCartney, who predates it and the NHS, which doesn’t. There should probably have been a Land Rover in Danny Boyle’s Olympic show.

No vehicle has enjoyed a life as long or as full as the Land Rover. The CitroŽn 2CV, born out of a similar imperative in the same year, ceased production in 1990. The Volkswagen Beetle predated them both, but didn’t really hit its stride until 1945 and ended its production – on an entirely different continent from where it started – in 2003. Land Rovers have always been built in the same Solihull factory.

It has evolved of course. It now, for example, has air-conditioning where it once had two big flaps below the windscreen. A windscreen that used to fold, but which now no longer does, still has two big billets holding it in place where the hinges once sat. It is, to these eyes at least, quite perfect: a symbiosis of proportion and stance; of rubber, steel, aluminium and glass; the very definition of form following function.

With sales a consistent 18,000 a year, reports in the past of its death have been exaggerated, but this time it is for real; the last Landy will roll off the line on December 20 2015. It’s not through lack of demand, nor that Land Rover’s engineers have tired of adapting it to meet 21st-century safety or emissions legislation. In a world of connected, hybrid cars in whatever shape or size you want them, the Defender just no longer fits.

There will be another car and it will wear the Defender name, a name it was obliged to take in 1990 only when the proliferation of models it inspired (Range Rover, Discovery…) rendered the name Land Rover something of a communications minefield. Call it a "Landy", however, and folks still know what you mean.

Landys have a habit of going on forever. It’s said that 75 per cent of the two million built so far are still on the road. So chances are there will still be Land Rovers in 2070 when the rest of us are driving hovercars or Teslas. Its real legacy is Land Rover the company, now flagship for a resurgent UK manufacturing sector and selling over 300,000 cars a year. Though you will find precisely nothing in common between a Defender and Range Rover, there would never have been the latter without the former and its overwhelming sense that your car can be something just that little bit more magical than merely a form of a transport.

rover67 10-04-2013 09:40 AM

Wow bummer. Even though they have their problems they have always been neat vehicles... and I'll always have a special place in my heart for them. My first 4wd was a '67 series IIA. I did a lot of things 2 or 3 times on that truck.

smslavin 10-04-2013 09:45 AM


Originally Posted by rover67 (Post 240009)
Wow bummer.

ditto. such an icon. i've always wanted a 110 and it's going to stay on my project list until i figure out a way to check it off.

DaveInDenver 10-04-2013 10:19 AM

I wonder if the UK Ministry of Defense will still be buying them. Will they change (or have they already changed) to something else? Pretty sure Land Rover also sold them to other countries, too. Maybe AM General made the UK an offer it could not refuse and they are converting to Humvees.

SteveH 10-04-2013 02:57 PM

After I bought my '40 and owned it a year or two, I test-drove a '74 Series III (?) that a guy was selling locally. It was clean and had a rebuilt engine and transmission. The seats were (true to form) basically boat cushions on a platform. I was struck by a few other things - it leaked oil everywhere, it was softly sprung (13 narrow leaves in the leaf springs, with limiting straps), it was extremely hard to find the gears in the transmission, and it was incredibly gutless. I couldn't get it over 35 mph.

When I hopped back into my FJ40, it was like getting into a Cadillac, as far as a luxurious feeling. And that is saying something! As cool as the old Land Rover is, it didn't hold a candle to the FJ40. I was re-smitten by my '40 - which is always a good thing. I still like the Rover shape/design/approach - always cool to see on the trail.

DaveInDenver 10-04-2013 03:22 PM

1 Attachment(s)
So you found the Rover didn't measure up to the Toyota's Big 6?

But just try and cook your game meat on that FJ40 grill during a safari.

OilHammer 10-04-2013 03:23 PM

I guess that means Ward will have a new model of the ICON soon...
If you could have a redo of the 110 coachwork on a 80 series platform, you might have a fun truck!

Whoa..."Studhorse". Lol. I think I just found a new forum name for someone. Wes, you have an old corrugated side 40..lol

DaveInDenver 10-04-2013 03:28 PM


Arthur Godfrey knew what's up.


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