Paul Smith designs his own Land Rover Defender

Published: 20 March 2015

► Paul Smith’s own Land Rover Defender
► Built with Special Vehicle Operations
► How would you design your Landie? 

British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith has turned his hand from linen pinstripes to Land Rovers – with his own version of the run-out Defender.

He collaborated with the newly formed Special Vehicle Operations team to build his own 4×4, with a little help from Land Rover design director and chief creative officer Gerry McGovern.

He’s certainly gone to town: this one-off Defender has 27 different colours on the outside, including Smith’s trademark stripes. In fact, there’s a whiff of the VW Polo Harlequin to it, as most body panels have a different paint finish.

Smith says the colour palette referenced various camouflage colours used on military Defenders over the years. ‘I wanted deep rich colours, but at the same time, I wanted them to work together yet be surprising,’ he said.

Inside Paul Smith’s Land Rover Defender

Over to Smith, who keeps a Defender at his Italian home, to walk us around this bespoke one-off.

‘This is a complete one-off; I wanted to give this Defender a feeling of luxury, so I used a mix of leather and fabric for the seats,’ he said. ‘I actually used the fabric that I design for Maharam, the American upholstery company. The vehicle features lots of special Paul Smith touches.

‘Inside, black leather contrasts against blue stitching and there are lots of little hidden details throughout. For example, there is an image of a set of keys printed inside the glove compartment. Then there is a hand-painted bee on the roof, which is another little tongue-in-cheek reference to the countryside and the heritage of the car. Also, the traditional Defender clock has been replaced with a Paul Smith fascia. My designs are known for their attention to detail, so I didn’t want this Defender to be any different.’

Smith’s Defender was unveiled at the designer’s shop at No. 9 Albemarle Street in Mayfair, London this afternoon.

A farewell to Defender… for now

This one-off is part of the celebration final year of production; Land Rover will stop building the Defender in Solihull in December 2015, although it is likely to switch production overseas. CAR understands the line could be shipped to Turkey, where production will continue.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet