IT’S MORE than the end of an era … it’s going to be life, Jim, but not as we know it!

The last Land Rover Defender eased its way off the production line today. The last ever produced in Solihull, where so many have gone before. But, it’s not the end of the line … Land Rover promises a replacement, built elsewhere. It won’t be the same.

Some 68 years of continuous production came to an end today and it was a sad moment for the farming industry. No vehicle ever epitomised the farming industry more than the ubiquitous Land Rover … even the tractor held second place.

To mark the occasion, Land Rover invited more than 700 current and former Solihull employees to see and drive some of the most important vehicles from its history, including the first pre-production ‘Huey’ Series I as well as the last vehicle off the production line, a Defender 90 Heritage Soft Top.

But, it also announced a new ‘Heritage’ restoration programme, whereby a team of experts, including some long serving Defender employees, will oversee the restoration of a number of series Land Rovers sourced from across the globe. The first will go on sale in July, 2016.

The celebration in Solihull saw more than 25 unique vehicles from Land Rover’s unique history come together in a procession around the Solihull plant, featuring the final current Defender vehicle off the line and the last of the current Defender vehicles includes an original part that has been used on Soft Top specifications since 1948 – the hood cleat. It will be housed in the Jaguar Land Rover Collection.

Land Rover fans are invited to upload their most memorable journeys ever undertaken in Series Land Rover or Defender vehicles via an upcoming online ‘Defender Journeys’platform, announced today. This digital scrapbook aims to collate as many exciting adventures as possible into this online map, which users can view and share.

·        More than two million Series Land Rovers and Defenders have been built since 1948. What began as simply a line drawing in the sand has gone on to become one of the world’s most iconic 4x4s, earning the accolade of being the most versatile vehicle on the

·        In 2015, a unique milestone Defender – the ‘Defender 2m sold for a record £400,000 – a far cry from the original £450 the first Land Rover sold for at the 1948

·        In 1948, the Series I went into full production at Solihull. Post-war Britain was struggling with a shortage of steel, though aluminium was in plentiful supply for the bodyshells and the country had vast manufacturing capacity.  Inspiration came from Spencer and Maurice Wilks, two brothers who had helped return the Rover Company back into profitability during the 1930s

·        Changes followed and in 1958 the Series II brought about a new design and engine updates, including an advanced diesel engine which remained in service until the mid-1980s. Sales had reached half a million by 1966, while annual production peaked in 1971 with 56,000 units. During the 1970s, the Series III continued to sell as well as its predecessor, a testament to its enduring appeal.

·        The vehicle earned a new name in 1990 – Defender. By this time, the Land Rover portfolio included the Range Rover and the newly-launched Discovery. A new name was fitting for a vehicle previously only referred to by its wheelbase length and Series number.

·        Part of the its appeal was from the endless variants created off the basic platform, including ­– models as diverse as fire engines, lorry-like forward control vehicles, cherry pickers and an amphibious car capable of floating on water


  • The Series I Land Rover cost £450 in 1948. It was powered by a four cylinder 1.6 litre engine with just 50 hp.
  • Since 1948, 2,016,933 Land Rovers and Defenders have been.
  • It took 56 man hours to build each Defender.
  • Two original parts have been fitted to all soft top series Land Rovers and Defenders since 1948 – the hood cleats and the underbody support strut.
  • Associates have their own nick names for parts of the vehicle; the door hinges are known as ‘pigs ears’ and the dashboard is the ‘lamb’s chops’.