Land Rover has celebrated 68 years of history as the last of the current Defenders was produced at its famous Solihull Production facility.
To mark the occasion 700 current and former Solihull employees involved in the production of Series Land Rover and Defender vehicles were asked to come along to see and drive some of the most iconic vehicles from its history. These included the first pre-production ‘Huey’ Series I as well as the last vehicle off the production line, a Defender Heritage Soft Top.
Land Rover made the most of the occasion by announcing their new Heritage Restoration Programme, which will be based on the site of the existing Solihull production line. This programme will have a team of experts oversee the restoration of a number of Series Land Rovers sourced from across the globe with the first vehicles due to go on sale in July 2016.
Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover said: “We are celebrating what generations of men and women have done since the outline for the Land Rover was originally drawn in the sand. The Defender is the origin of our legendary capability and there will always be a special place in our hearts for it. But, this is not the end; we have a glorious past to champion, and a wonderful future to look forward to.”
Nick Rogers, Group Engineering Director at Jaguar Land Rover, added: “We all have personal memories of the Defender; it’s a true motoring icon and is much loved around the world. The world has changed dramatically in the last 68 years, but this vehicle has remained a constant. Creating the Defender of tomorrow is the next exciting chapter and we are looking forward to taking on that challenge.”
The Defender celebration in Solihull saw more than 25 unique vehicles from Land Rover’s history together, including the final current Defender vehicle off the line. To help celebrate the occasion were a number of previous employees from the past 68 years. The last of the current Defender vehicles includes an original part that has been used since 1948 – the hood cleat. This vehicle will be housed in the Jaguar Land Rover Collection.
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