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Even after the production stop, the Landrover Defender is immortal

ER Classics Desktop 2022

68 for years he was indispensable and steadfast in the turbulent and constantly developing automotive industry: the Land Rover Defender. He became an important image determiner for the English car industry and for the off-road world. Needless to say, the versatility in the terrain was always a strong point of the car, which, according to the makers' introduction to 1948, was called the improved version of war hero Willys Jeep. The advanced technology was enveloped in a square carriage that made clear its aspirations in the field of work ethic. The ground lines were drawn in the sand and it was made clear where the never-ending decades long future lay for this car: especially on unpaved territory.

Storm-proof life
The Land Rover constructors could never have imagined that it would last so long. The Land Rover miraculously survived hurricane storms, fueled by phenomena such as quality problems, rust, leakage, poorly refined driving characteristics, spartan ergonomics and the ancient British theory that was based on the motivation that success did not require large-scale innovation.

The latest new Defender. Built in the utilitarian style as it was once intended. Image: Jaguar Land Rover
The latest new Defender. Built in the utilitarian style as it was once intended. Image: Jaguar Land Rover

Heavy weather
The latter thought put serious pressure on the durability of this car, which is unique in every respect. The large local and international political authorities saw that Toyota, and later Mercedes-Benz, developed the better alternatives to this day, while the Land Rover was only slightly modified, without the almost torturing properties fading into the background. The Range Rover in 1970 was launched in-house as a luxury alternative. At that time, the first Landies were already 22 years old. But within the terrain segment of the workers, the manufacturer watched passively that the Land Rover's market share declined. It had a lot to do with the fact that the local and international politicians involved switched en masse to the Land Cruisers and - from the end of the seventies - the Geländewagens of this world. It placed the world in front of the off-road branch of the Rover factories in a worrying perspective. Land Rover has become a go-to name for off-road vehicles, while newcomers from Japan and Germany have welcomed a growing market share. It all happened in the period that Great Britain was plagued by strikes as a result of totally disrupted labor relations and the resulting qualitative malheur.

The step to survival
Yet an important step was taken in that period. Land Rover became a separate operating company within the soul-dying and crumbling British Leyland. It happened at a time when the primeval Land Rover was also seen in a different light. From the eighties the manufacturer transformed the then very old concept from workhorse to semi luxury horse. A cult car, not too bad to roll up your sleeves when it comes down to it and to make the connection between adventure, luxury and work ethic. And even more important: he became the standard bearer of the brand that was carefully expanded by the manufacturer and entered the world of luxury and wealth in various forms.


Spotted on Terschelling, stopping place for the British icon. This characteristic Land Rover. Image: Erik van Putten
Spotted on Terschelling, stopping place of the British icon. This characteristic Land Rover. Image: Erik van Putten

Pavement for luxury brothers
The success of the Range Rovers and Discoveries had an important basis. The manufacturer honored the Defender as if it were aware that the now-strong image of the original agricultural vehicle was the red carpet on which his descendants worked on their growing glory. The Defender has now completed its task. May receive a well-earned pension. Does not receive any new technology from the manufacturer, who would rather invest in the future than in the past. Received a worthy farewell from the same manufacturer - as well as from fans and journalists. A deserved tribute for a year. Because a production period of almost 68 years for a car is almost the same as immortality. He still survived his production farewell year. Because the number of orders turned out to be so high that the production period was extended. To be able to properly handle all orders. The construction of new ones has now really stopped. That does not make the Landrover Defender immortal. And yet it is he. Because a car that has been built for almost 68 years has the potential to stay among us.

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  1. Apart that these cars are presented as indestructible. When I was at the military driving school in Venlo, the LaRos were almost constantly in the workshop. And not because the technicians thought they were so beautiful.

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