Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender

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Land Rover celebrates landmark with special build and auction of the iconic Defender

Land Rover celebrates an incredible milestone by putting Defender 2,000,000 up for auction after production line gets special helping hands.

2015 will be a bittersweet year for Land Rover and its robust Defender. Just as the company celebrates the production of its 2,000,000th unit, the last Defender will also roll off the production lines after 67 years of pioneering the 4×4 market.

Tim Slessor, crew member on the first Overland Expedition in 1955, helps out on the production line.
Tim Slessor, crew member on the first Overland Expedition in 1955, helps out on the production line.

Anyone who has driven a Defender will tell you that this workhorse is still a genuine utility vehicle – lacking in the finesse and finishes modern 4x4s have invariably adapted as standard as off-roaders seldom confront anything more challenging than an urban kerb on the school run. As such, a Defender is a true joy to get to grips with for anyone who misses the physical experience of driving.

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But before P1 gets all bleary-eyed, let’s get back to that special two millionth vehicle, and celebrate the craftsmen and celebrities who came together to give this great British vehicle a suitable send-off – while raising funds for the International Red Cross Societies (IFRC) and the Born Free Foundation.

Representatives from those charities and management from Jaguar Land Rover were joined by celebrities and customers to piece together this very special Defender – including adventurer Bear Grylls, Commander Stephen Higham of HMS Defender, and Tim Slessor who was a crew member on the first Overland Expedition in 1955.

Adventurer Bear Grylls fitted wheels to the special Defender
Adventurer Bear Grylls fitted wheels to the special Defender

“The Land Rover Defender has been there for me more times than I care to remember,” said Grylls while fitting wheels on the production line. “Known and respected by me and many other adventurers for their rugged reliability – it was an honour to be asked to take part in the build of this very special car.”

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Dr Ralf Speth was also involved in the build, and said: “Over 67 years, the Series Land Rover and in turn Defender has been the transport of choice for explorers, charity organisations, farmers and even royalty. Throughout history it has helped pioneers to reach the unreachable. What started life as an agricultural workhorse has transcended the automotive world to become a worldwide design icon. I was honoured to join the production line team in Solihull to help build this unique vehicle. It was a special experience which will no doubt become a fond memory.”

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The vehicle features a map of Red Wharf Bay – where the design for the original Land Rover was first drawn in the sand – engraved into the aluminium fender, which contrasts with the exterior Indus Silver satin paint. A unique ‘no 2,000,000’ badge sits on the rear of the vehicle, which is mirrored on the interior console. The design is finished with Santorini Black wheels and wheel arches, roof, door hinges, grille and mirror caps.

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Inside, the leather seats also feature the ‘Red Wharf Bay’ graphic and ‘no 2,000,000’ logos have been stitched on the headrests. A bespoke aluminium plaque, signed by everyone who helped to assemble the vehicle is fitted to the driver’s seat plinth.

On the front and rear, S90 HUE registration plates – a reference to the first ever pre-production Land Rover, registration ‘HUE 166’ – complete this one-of-a-kind Land Rover Defender.

A unique ‘no 2,000,000’ badge sits on the rear of the vehicle, which is mirrored on the interior console
A unique ‘no 2,000,000’ badge sits on the rear of the vehicle, which is mirrored on the interior console

Auction house Bonhams will host a specially curated exhibition to showcase the vehicle’s rich history ahead of the special sale on December 16.