LAND ROVER DEFENDER: THE HISTORY
(Originally published by Motor-Vision)
The last Land Rover Defender rolled off the line this time last year and now that we have mourned the loss of an iconic motoring beast, it’s time to look over the life of the Defender and see how it evolved.
The Defender was originally introduced in 1983 as the Land Rover One Ten and in 1984 the Land Rover Ninety.
- The model names were actually representative of the size of the wheelbases in inches
- The Land Rover Ninety was actually 92.9”, although the Land Rover Ninety-Two Point Nine doesn’t have the same ring to it!
1984 also brought some new features to the cars such as wind up windows and a 2.5-litre diesel engine which could produce 68bhp.
History of The Defender
The Land Rover Discovery entered the market in 1989 and was put into production alongside the existing 90 and 110, so to avoid confusion or mix ups, Land Rover added ‘Defender’ onto the original duo making them ‘Land Rover Defender 90’ and ‘Land Rover Defender 110’!
In 1990, as well as the name change to ‘Defender’, the Land Rover model had an engine upgrade which gave it 107 hp.
This meant that the stats of the Defender were increased by almost 25% and along with this came a car that was much more comfortable cruising at higher speeds yet still able to tow various loads.
Throughout the nineties and into the early noughties the Land Rover Defender hardly changed at all with a few engine tweaks and performance upgrades as the years went by.
The next biggest change in the Defender’s life was in 2007 when most of its changes were to comply with the ever changing safety legislations and emissions.
The TD5 engine introduced in 1998, was replaced by a 2.4-litre engine from Ford which was a version of the same engine used in Ford Transit Vans!
Other changes in 2007 included:
- A different seating layout
- Altered dashboard and
- Reshaped bonnet to house the new engine.
Return of the soft top
Unlike the majority of car manufacturers, Land Rover stayed true to the design and feel of the Defender and yet managed to keep their customers in mind.
Their commitment to their customers was shown in 2012 when due to feedback they reintroduced the soft top Defender back into the market.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and instead of completely redesigning the Defender to meet with the 2015 safety regulations, the last Land Rover Defender rolled off the production line at 9:22am, 29th January 2016.
There have been many rumors surrounding a successor for the great car but there have been no announcements yet…
Would you like to see a replacement or leave this beauty to rest? Let us know!