The Land Rover Defender has an esteemed heritage, and with good reason. The Defender we know and love today is a vehicle that has assumed legendary status the world over. This is because since Land Rover's inception 68 years ago in 1947, little has changed to the design. Fail proof, tried and tested, easy to adapt to the user's requirements and complete with an uncanny ability to go practically anywhere. These key ingredients are why it is likely to see these trusty vehicles on your next safari in Africa, working away tirelessly in the heat, taking you closer to your game sightings, negotiating one rut and pothole at a time. Despite these fine attributes though, the plucky ox-like workhorse is now in its twilight days.
2015 is a sad year for Land Rover fans as it sees the end of production for the iconic Defender.
(Did you know? The first vehicle seen by 1/3 of the world's population was a Land Rover)
An ageless matriarch still roaming wild
Fans of this old girl, who still trundles with pride across the African savannah, snorkel held high, beyond the fickle whims of fashions back in the city, will be bitterly disappointed when the last Defender rolls off the production line in December. Yes, there is a replacement on the way scheduled for a 2018 launch, but one has to ask if it will still captivate the imagination quite like the current design?
The vehicle as we know it today, in design terms, is evolution in a Darwinian form. The battle hardened design (quite literally, as it's favoured by military personnel the world over) varies little from the "Series 1 Land Rover" that Maurice Wilks famously sketched out in the Welsh sand roughly 70 years ago. Taking the basic design of a WWII Willy's Jeep as inspiration, he proved the naysayers wrong by developing arguably the most successful vehicle ever to go into production, and certainly one of the most iconic.
We at Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions are huge fans of Land Rover, and of course the iconic Defender. In fact we choose to use these rugged vehicles ourselves for our own trips to remote corners of Europe. The Defender is after all a symbol of true adventure, encapsulating the spirit of exploration and a go-anywhere attitude. So here's hoping that the replacement continues to fly the well-earned flag with pride and distinction.
Send your best photographs of Land Rover Defender's to firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet us @SandgrouseTeam and please add your stories to the comments below.
(An original Land Rover poster advert from 1960 here at the Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions' offices).
(A Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions Land Rover Defender 90 stops for a break in the field)