Land Rover has shown a hat-trick of Defender special editions, as it prepares to wind down production of the seminal 4x4 at its Solihull factory in December 2015.
The new Autobiography, Heritage and Adventure Editions will be released this year to mark the end of 67 years of continuous Defender-type production.
Okay, so the actual Defender nameplate isn't quite that old, but there's no denying the lineage of the rugged off-roader back to the earliest Series I models. Read on to find out how they're marking the demise of the Defender.
The Land Rover Defender dies in 2015… or does it?
It’s been known for some time that Land Rover cannot economically continue building its erstwhile mud-plugger forever, in the face of ever-tightening emissions and crash regulations. And it was thought that December would mark the end of the Defender, period.
But today the company let slip that the Defender could live on, built at an overseas plant for sale outside of Europe. The news will please traditionalists, many of whom are mourning the passing of a great British icon.
Today's statement said: ‘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 sale outside the EU.’
What will replace the Defender?
A new product is being prepared, expected for production in 2016-17. Will it be called Defender? We suspect so. The news today includes various mentions making us suspect the badge will continue:
'... the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the Defender story...' and 'Solihull production of current Defender due to end in December 2015.' This smacks to us of a plan to keep the name alive...
What’s what on the Land Rover Defender special editions?
The £61,845 Autobiography Edition (below) is the luxo choice for this trio of Defenders, packing unique twin-tone paintwork, full leather upholstery and a power upgrade from 120bhp to 148bhp in to a 90 Station Wagon body shell. And if you’re reeling from that punchy price, be assured that only 80 Defender Autobiography Editions will be sold in the UK, from April 2015.
At the more affordable end of the scale lies the Heritage Edition (below), said to hark back to the earliest Land Rovers. Hence the Grasmere Green paintwork and contrasting white roof, picked out with a heritage grille and special graphics marking the HUE 166 number plate of the first preproduction Land Rover Series I. Just 400 will be sold in the UK from August 2015, priced from a much more reasonable £27,800 and available in 90 or 110 guises.
And Land Rover couldn’t launch a special series without doing a tough go-anywhere version. Cue the Defender Adventure Edition (below), complete with extra underbody protection and Goodyear MT/R tyres, leather trim and bespoke decals. This will be the most plentiful of the trio, with 600 coming to Britain, priced at £43,495 in either 90 or 110 lengths.