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Land Rover Defender production ends after 68 years

The final Land Rover Defender left the JLR plant in Solihull on the 29th January

The last ever classic Land Rover Defender has left the production line in Birmingham.

It’s the end of an era for factory workers in Solihull, marking the last of the vehicles in production for 67 years.

The iconic British 4×4 has been popular from farmers to members of the royal family, as well as celebs like Beatles singer Paul McCartney.

Since 1948, it has sold more than 2 million units.

But now Indian owners Tata want to upgrade the Defender model.

The company took over Jaguar and Land Rover in 2008, while both were making losses, and has already made changes to the upmarket Range Rover line.

At the moment the Defender is mostly built by hand, taking 56 hours. This makes it more expensive than other vehicles which rely more on machines for manufacture.

It was first built after WWII, with rationing still in place. Steel was scarce so lightweight aluminium was used for the body instead.

Neil Watterson, deputy editor of Land Rover Owner International magazine, said its endurance could be explained by its broad appeal.

‘It’s always been a classless vehicle,’ he said. ‘It could be driven by the gamekeeper on the estate or it could be driven by the landowner, or the garage-owner with the breakdown truck and the fire brigade.’

Jaguar Land Rover will create a new model called the Defender, but it will likely look very different to the utilitarian vehicle Britain has come to love.

File photo dated 19/10/06 of Royal Marines using a Land Rover during a live firing demonstration at Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, as one of the most-loved and long-lived road vehicles, and a favourite with the Queen, will cease production when the last Land Rover Defender will be produced by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) at Solihull in the West Midlands on Friday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 26, 2016. See PA story TRANSPORT Defender. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

The Royal Marines also used the vehicle (Picture: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire)

While Land Rover develop the Defender’s replacement, expected in 2019, the classic model will be in high demand and pristine examples will become harder to come by.

Take a look at our current Land Rover Defender stock to own a piece of British history.


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