It's done up all in black with an amber dome light on the roof (like a traditional London taxi), and features a navigation system to help provide "the knowledge" for getting around town. The result, as you can see from the gallery above and video below, looks positively badass – and like a refreshing alternative to the homely cabs the London Taxi Company recently introduced for the British capital, Nissan made for New York, Toyota designed for Tokyo, or the likes of what Ford and Volkswagen have proposed in recent years.
There are just a couple of problems with Land Rover's take on the classic black cab. One is that it, as capable as it is off-road, the Defender has a turning circle of at least 40 feet, which is a good 15 feet too wide to make the mandatory u-turn in front of the Savoy Hotel. For another, while you can order up a Defender in three wheelbase lengths and nine bodystyles – many of them with plenty of room in the back – this taxi is based on a short-wheelbase Defender 90 with no rear doors for letting passengers in and out. So it wouldn't exactly make the best taxi, unless London were to get hit by a freak blizzard or sandstorm. It's probably for the best, then, that this remain strictly a one-off for the time being – no matter how cool it is.
- Land Rover Defender taxi cab spotted on streets of London ahead of special Defender 2,000,000 charity auction at Bonhams on 16 December
- Specially modified Defender is part of nostalgic celebration film shot in the capital to commemorate 67 years of this iconic vehicle as it enters final phase of production
- Film precedes prestigious charity auction where collectors and Defender fans will be given the opportunity to own the Defender 2,000,000, a unique piece of Land Rover history
- Defender 2,000,000 on public display for Series Land Rover and Defender heritage exhibition at Bonhams London on 15 and 16 December
Whitley, December 8, 2015 – Londoners were delighted when they spotted a one-of-a-kind Land Rover Defender 'taxi' driving through the streets of the capital. The Defender, one of the world's best loved 4x4s, was starring in a commemorative film to celebrate the global automotive icon and to promote the forthcoming charity auction of the Defender 2,000,000 being held at Bonhams New Bond Street headquarters on 16 December.
The film, released today, also stars a number of other more unusual, specially modified vehicles including a Series II Land Rover ice cream van, a specially tailored Paul Smith Defender and the first ever Series Land Rover show car, displayed at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948, all taking in London's famous landmarks as they tell the story of the Defender's rich history.
The Defender 2,000,000 will be on display at a specially curated exhibition from 15-16 December for prospective bidders to preview the vehicle at Bonhams ahead of its auction.
All proceeds from the auction of 'Defender 2,000,000' will be donated in their entirety to Land Rover's humanitarian and conservation partners – the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Born Free Foundation.
The 'Defender 2,000,000' vehicle features a plethora of distinctive finishing touches. A map of Red Wharf Bay - where the design for the original Land Rover was first drawn in the sand - is 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.
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.
Production of the original Land Rover Series I began at the famous Lode Lane facility in 1947 ahead of its launch at the Amsterdam Motor Show on 30 April 1948. Since then two million examples of the Series I, II III and Defender have been produced at Solihull.