Tata Motors owned British brand Land Rover bid adieu to the Defender, one of its most iconic models, on Friday. The last Defender model rolled out of the Solihull, UK plant in the presence of more than 700 current and former plant employees.
More than two million Defenders have been produced since 1948 and the vehicle has become one of the default choices of off-road enthusiasts over the course of time. Land Rover had announced in late 2013 that the group would stop making the Defender due to difficulties in maintaining safety and emissions standards. However, the model will get a re-birth -- expected in 2018 -- as a completely new model with new features, engine and technology.
The invitees at the function had the opportunity to drive some of the most important models, including the first pre-production 'Huey' Series I and the very last unit, a Defender 90 Heritage Soft Top. The last Defender vehicle includes an original part that has been used on Soft Top specifications since 1948 -- the hood cleat. The vehicle will be housed in the Jaguar Land Rover museum.
"Today we celebrate what generations of men and women have done since the outline for the Land Rover was originally drawn in the sand. The Series Land Rover, now Defender, is the origin of our legendary capability, a vehicle that makes the world a better place, often in some of the most extreme circumstances. There will always be a special place in our hearts for Defender, among all our employees, but this is not the end. We have a glorious past to champion, and a wonderful future to look forward to," said Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, in a press statement.