The Defender is dead. Long live the Defender!
Some Americans may not have known that the Land Rover Defender was going out of production. It hasn’t been sold stateside since 1997 due to enhanced safety regulations put in place for 1998. But just because the boxy 4x4 disappeared from the land of the free and the home of the side door impact requirements doesn’t mean it dropped off the face of the earth. Ironically, European safety regulations finally caught up with the Defender and forced Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) to retire the iconic model.
The Defender has been built in the same plant in Solihull, UK, for 68 years and to celebrate JLR through a bit of a party as the last model rolled off the line. The automaker said some 700 current and former employees were there for the event which must have been incredibly bittersweet. To commemorate the Defender we’ve rounded up some photos showing its two forms: off-roader and luxury SUV. Yes, the Defender in its later life became a favorite of luxury aftermarket firms and to ignore that would be to deny part of the SUV’s identity. Of course the Defender is an off-roader first and foremost which is why we’ve also gathered shots of it getting muddy and traversing tough terrain. Enjoy.