With less than two weeks to go before its Frankfurt Motor Show debut, Land Rover has sent its upcoming Defender SUV on a road trip to the Rhineland. Kicking off the continental slog in a remote and cinematic valley near the China-Kazakhstan border, the Defender will presumably score some rough-and-tumble bragging rights — as well as all-important photo ops — on the way to its German unveiling on September 10th.
Too bad we’ve already seen it.
Not since James Bond traded in his .32 Walther PPK for a PPK/S in .380 ACP has the long-running film franchise generated so much buzz. The set of the upcoming film No Time to Die was the site of an unexpected and long-awaited Land Rover reveal this week, with a shot leaking to social media of the next-generation Defender.
Spotted completely sans camo and appropriately splattered with mud, the Defender pic comes by way of Instagram user shedlocktwothousand. Jaguar Land Rover would surely have preferred to keep this thing under wraps — after a three-year hiatus, the new Defender is due for a public unveiling at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show.
A batch of new leaks on the Land Rover Defender have indicated that the model will come in a trio of body styles, one of which is supposed to seat eight, and offer quite a bit of variance between trims.
Defender “leaks” are nothing new; the manufacturer has been parsing out camouflaged body shots for months. While this marketing strategy left us feeling burnt out on Toyota’s Supra prior to its debut, JLR has exercised a bit more restraint, encouraging some enthusiast-based espionage — which is far more fun.
Hoping to generate some buzz ahead of its reveal, Land Rover released an incomplete, low-resolution side-on image of the upcoming, reborn Defender on Tuesday. The model, which disappeared from European dealers after its aging body was declared a danger to modern pedestrians, will return next year as a 2020 model. Apparently, it will hold on to its beloved boxy shape, as anything less would inspire French-style street protests on United Kingdom carriageways.
Also, unlike the last Defender, this one’s coming to America.
The Brits get a bunch of good stuff to which Americans have no access. Yorkshire puddings. Grand Tour tapings. Walkers-branded potato chips from the makers of Lay’s. Okay, maybe the last one makes no difference.
Chalk up another win for the old country, though, as they’ll soon be able to hand over 150,000 of the finest British pounds in exchange for the most-powerful Land Rover Defender ever to roll out of the factory gates.
Last year, we reported on how British chemical company Ineos had approached Land Rover, asking for permission to build a copy of its now-deceased Defender. Land Rover responded unequivocally, stating, “There is no way this is happening.”
Hold on, not so fast there.
Jaguar Land Rover isn’t about to have some upstart company build a new version of its iconic Defender.
The automaker shot back at rumors of a third-party resurrection of the boxy, beloved SUV, Autocar reports, stating that the previous-generation model will remain dead and buried as the company crafts a new model.
After 67 years, production of the iconic Land Rover Defender ends today. It’s an amazing feat that the Defender has lasted this long. It was a utilitarian vehicle developed at a time when going off-roading meant just going. It helped Europe rebuild after World War II. And it explored Africa, where often the Land Rover was the first automobile ever seen by locals. It continued that way for years, undergoing constant but slow evolution, rather than complete revolution.
Rather than boring everyone with interesting quasi-factual trivia about Land Rover’s most iconic model, I’ll bore you with my own personal experiences.
The last Land Rover Defender rolled off the line Friday at the Solihull, UK facility, according to the automaker.
The wildly uncomfortable, loud and grandfather to all Land Rovers will live on, albeit in name only — the next-generation Defender is already in the works.
The final Land Rover Defenders shared two common parts with the first Series Land Rover, according to the automaker: the hood cleats and underbody support strut. Which is two parts more than I expected would have survived from the originals.
Land Rover, just after building its two-millionth Defender (pictured), looks to be extending final production of the go-anywhere utility into January of next year.
According to Automotive News Europe, the manufacturer will extend production of the Defender and increase production before the new best-before date to meet renewed demand, the company said a statement.