How Land Rover's iconic Defender could make an unexpected comeback

2015 Land Rover Defender
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Production of the iconic Land Rover Defender ground to a halt about six months ago. The off-roader still had a loyal customer base, but it was axed both because it no longer complied with the European Union’s strict emissions regulations, and because it was expensive to build. Enthusiasts who missed out on buying one new might soon get a second chance because a British businessman is working on resurrecting it.

The project is the brainchild of Jim Ratcliffe, a 63-year-old who made billions by founding a chemical company named Ineos. Ratcliffe also happens to be a big Defender fan, and he’s currently talking to top Jaguar — Land Rover executives about bringing the off-roader back from the dead. The negotiations are ongoing, so it’s too early to tell if Ratcliffe wants to simply buy the rights to build the Defender, or acquire the entire production line. Either way, his plan involves assembling the truck in the United Kingdom, according to British newspaper The Times.

Ratcliffe’s plan faces several hurdles. Specifically, he will need to find a new engine suitable for powering the Defender, because the 2.2-liter turbodiesel is no longer compliant with European regulations. The Defender has a relatively big engine bay, luckily, so finding an existing mill that fits shouldn’t be complicated. Another issue will be giving the Defender a new name. It won’t be able to wear a Land Rover emblem, and it won’t be able to use the Defender nameplate because the moniker is set to return on a brand new second-gen model before the end of the decade.

Read more: Driving the last of the Defenders

And while none of these issues are insurmountable, there’s no guarantee that the project will come to fruition. Jaguar – Land Rover hasn’t shownan interest in selling off the Defender’s design, and it hasn’t publicly commented on the negotiations. We’ll keep our ears to the ground and bring you more details on this developing story as soon as they’re available.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

‘Bloodhound’ rocket car needs a speedy cash injection to survive

The rocket-powered Bloodhound car has driven into difficulties, with the company behind the project needing a multi-million-dollar cash injection to save its dream of attempting a 1,000 mph land speed record.
Home Theater

These TVs might cost less than $1,000, but they certainly don’t perform like it

Check out our picks for the best TVs under $1,000 to enjoy top-shelf features like 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range, and gorgeous image processing. Park yourself here to find the absolute best values in TV land.
Cars

Watch this driverless Range Rover tackle one of U.K.’s ‘most challenging roads’

Jaguar Land Rover just sent its autonomous Range Rover Sport vehicle onto one of the U.K.'s "most challenging road layouts," and the automaker has posted a video online showing exactly how it fared.
Cars

Porsche upgrades German factory to build Taycan electric cars

A Porsche factory that currently builds the automaker's popular sports cars will soon begin churning out Taycan electric cars. In preparation, Porsche is upgrading the factory to be high tech and low emissions.
Cars

Vanderhall Carmel adds creature comforts to the basic three-wheeler formula

The Vanderhall Carmel is the fifth three-wheeler from Utah-based Vanderhall Motor Works. It takes the basic design of the Vanderhall Venice and adds a handful of creature comforts, as well as a more powerful engine.
Cars

Race car or daily driver? Choose either with the 2019 Porsche Panamera GTS

Porsche has expanded the Panamera lineup with a midrange, GTS-badged model. Part race car and part daily driver, it's the variant we've been waiting for since the current-generation Panamera arrived in 2017.
Emerging Tech

Shrimp eyes inspire new camera focused on helping self-driving cars see better

By mimicking the vision of mantis shrimp, researchers were able to make significant improvements on today’s commercial cameras. They hope their technology can help mitigate accidents by letting self-driving vehicles see more clearly.
Cars

Double your charging speed with Nomad’s Tesla Model 3 wireless charger

Nomad's wireless charger for the Tesla Model 3 fits the EV's charging dock exactly. If you plug both of the Nomad's into the Model 3's two front USB ports you can charge two smartphones quickly or one phone twice as fast.
Cars

Watch this 1,000-horsepower Jeep Trackhawk scorch supercars in the quarter mile

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is pretty quick out of the box, but Texas tuner Hennessey Performance Engineering never settles for stock. Its HPE1200 Trackhawk boasts over 1,000 horsepower.
Cars

Hold on to your butts: These are the fastest cars in the world

Think your car is unbelievably fast? Think again. From wind-cheating bodywork to powerful engines, these cars were designed for the singular pursuit of speed (and it shows).
Cars

Room to roam: The supersized X7 is unlike any BMW you’ve ever seen

The first-ever BMW X7 is the 7 Series of the SUV world in terms of size, price, and image. Its supersized body has enough room for seven adult passengers and enough tech to impress even the most cutting-edge buyers.
Cars

'4WD' or 'AWD'? Which setup is right for you?

Although four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) are related, they are actually quite different in how they operate. Here, we talk about the fundamental differences between the two systems, and what it means for you as a driver.
Cars

Google Maps now shows EV owners the way to the nearest charging station

Google Maps now lets electric-car owners find the nearest charging station with ease. It's also added data on the number and types of ports available, charging speeds, and notes on the business where the station is located.