• Oct 22, 2009

2008 Land Rover Defender SVX - Click above for high-res photo gallery

There aren't very many vehicles on our blue planet that have soldered on for 61 straight years, but the Land Rover Defender comes up on the short list. The Defender is reason numero uno why Land Rover has the off-road superstar status that it does, but the Detroit Free Press is reporting that the go anywhere SUV may finally be nearing the end of the dirt trail.

Land Rover managing director Phil Popham reportedly told Australian newsletter GoAutoNew that emissions and pedestrian safety laws will force the Tata Motors-owned automaker to either profoundly re-engineer or flat-out replace the Defender by 2013. The iconic Defender, which is also available in the U.S., hasn't even received major body work since 1983, which incidentally was the year Plinko was added to Price is Right. Popham insists that Land Rover won't replace the Defender with a kinder, gentler vehicle, adding that the new vehicle would offer even more on- and off-road capability, and we're guessing that any new model will come standard with more modern aesthetics inside and out.

While it's pretty clear that the Defender as we know it is likely on it's last set of knobby tires, there is still a decent chance that the geriatric SUV's successor could retain the Defender name. After all, you just don't throw away 61 years of name recognition on a whim, right?



[Source: Detroit Free Press]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 52 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it just me, or does it have two stick shifts? *blink*
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh and I heard this a while ago over at LRO.

      http://www.lro.com/news.php?sid=350&page=1

      It was inevitable for reasons besides emissions or crash standards. The Defender is mostly hand built with little automation. Some 600 guys put it together and many of them are nearing retirement. Hand building a vehicle is very, very expensive. Over the past few years Land Rover has added more automation to help reduce costs and cover reductions in workforce but that just isn't enough. You can't build the Defender in its current form like you can a modern vehicle because it is not modern.



      • 5 Years Ago
      Now if we could just get rid of all imports that easy. I realize LR has their following, but I would hope in a time of hopelessness more Americans would support their own. But, just as some of you are about to do, we unload all the excuses and give our money to people from other parts of the world. Good bye America, it's been a good ride.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is sad...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Between the Arnage and the Defender, things are sad in England-land
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know about that. I still think British cars are my favorite in terms of luxury and all around class. I love what Jaguar is doing, especially the XFR. Cant top the Land Rover Range Rover either in terms of all around elegance in a powerful, brute force sort of way. They are the last remaining truck brand who has not gone soft with a bunch of CUV's that are incapable of any real off-roading. Rolls Royce has a nice line-up, especially with the addition of their new Ghost. Bentley is still my favorite. They may finally be retiring the Arnage line-up, but the new Mulsanne looks like an excellent successor. The Mulssane still has the "old money" Bentley charm that the Arnage is know for. I love the GTC, I find it to be the best all around luxury/performance convertible offered today.

        I guess overall, I prefer the class/elegance of a British car today than I do any other country of origin. Germany's Porsche ranks up there with the Brits in my mind as well when it comes to all around best of the best.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Every generation has a twilight... And we thank them for what they have done.

        But hopefully the new Bentley, and the new Defender successor will be worthy successors. Too bad they aren't still in England, but Germany and India, now.

        Hopefully a new defender will re-set the terms of a utility vehicle, and be extremely robust, and extremely capable at the same time, while being easy to service, and support in remote parts of the world. Plus there are 61 years worth of the previous vehicle's survivors that are still rolling, or providing parts... landies aren't magically going to be gone when the current model gives way to something new.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No, you can't buy a new Defender now, but you can buy a like new Defender here in the states. A company in Maine named East Coast Rover can build you a like new model with old and/or fabricated parts and new frames with US-certified V8 engines, just like Icon's Land Cruiser clones. They can even build you a 110 Hi-capacity Pickup from scratch, and I don't think those have ever been sold here. Just epect to pay through the nose for one-they ain't cheap.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That explains why I never heard of the Defender. I'm sure its a great vehicle, when I first saw the banner. The first thing that came to mind was Jeep. As moronic as that may sound. All in all its sad to see something that's been around 6 decades go.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Whatever they replace it with better have SOLID AXLES front and rear, or else it'll just be a big steaming turd just like the LR3, LR2, and the Range Rovers.

      When people buy an off-road 4x4, we DO NOT WANT independent suspension and fancy computer-controlled garbage. We want something that's simple to upgrade (lift kits, deeper gearing, oversize tires) and easy to repair when something breaks in the middle of the desert or high in the mountains, miles from where any AAA tow trucks can access us.

      That is why the Defender and Wrangler have proven to still be so popular worldwide. Those who buy a 4x4 because they need a 4x4 choose the strength and simplicity of solid axles and coil (or leaf) spring suspension for real reasons! Let the faux-wheelers drive their independent-air-suspension crossovers; four-wheelers need ruggedness and simplicity!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its replacement will probably be made in India. What worries me is that most of the current Land Rover Top Managers are leftovers from Ford and that most of the people that understood Defender (and the Land Rover Brand) have left Land Rover. I will never forget them if they butcher Defender 2 or call it LR1 for that matter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      NOOOOO! The defender is like one of my top 3 favorite vehicles EVER! I'm still craving some Land Rover awesomeness in my driveway, even if it means not being able to afford a defender and going with a cheap Disco..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just change it enough so it can be brought back to the U.S. Make sure to keep the manual transmission and diesel engine too, at least as an option.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I hate SUVs but whenever I see the Defender, I think RESPECT! and WANT!
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