Today is a sad day for off-roading enthusiasts and Land Rover mechanics with boat payments. Land Rover has confirmed that it will be putting the Defender out to pasture in 2015.
A Land Rover spokesman has confirmed that the British brand will be ending production of one of the world’s most iconic off-roaders after a 67-year run.
The Defender nameplate was first unveiled in 1983. Before that, since 1948, the breed was referred to as the Land Rover Series.
Why the discontinuation of the Defender? Land Rover claims pressures of increased global emissions regulations forced the end of the boxy Brit. Not even an EV variant could save the old boy. Delightfully, though, a likeminded model will be succeeding it in a few years. If you’re worried it’ll be the DC100 concept; don’t. Land Rover admitted it’s sent that sucker to the scrap heap.
“A replacement vehicle will join the Land Rover range, but the Defender in its current format is coming to an end,” the spokesman said in an interview with Automotive Business Review.
The Defender hasn’t been available in the U.S. since 1998, as Land Rover refused to update the truck to meet more stringent safety regulations. Despite its limited numbers in the States, the Defender has enjoyed a superstar-like status for both owners and Land Rover repair shops.
The Defender was V8-powered here in America, despite most of the rest of the planet seeing diesel-powered versions. The Rover V8 under the hood of the Defender had its own intriguing, drawn-out life. It started life as a 3.5-liter Buick V8 in 1960 and made its way over to England where it would slowly transform over many decades into 5.0-liter under TVR’s tutelage when it was finally ended in 2006.
I’ll be sad to see the Defender go. I long had dreams of importing a newer Defender to the U.S. – perhaps even the Defender EV. Now, I won’t get that chance. I guess I’ll just have to stick to my trusty Land Cruiser instead.