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Year of celebration for Landy Defender

2015-01-07 13:09

EPIC DEFENDER TRIBUTE: Land Rover is giving its Defender a great send-off with a giant 1km beach drawing in the UK. New Heritage (top left) and Adventure limited editions will arrive in SA in 2015. Image: Land Rover


Wheels24 came across this National Geographic video by chance on YouTube. If you're a 4x4 fan, kick back and take 14 minutes to watch this awesome story that spans six decades.

  • Defender drawn on huge 1km scale
  • Heritage, Adventure editions for SA
  • Defender production to end 2015

WHITLEY, England – Land Rover returns to the roots of iconic Defender in 2015 as its start a year-long celebration of its venerable 4x4, due to end production in December 2015. A fleet of Land Rover created a unique 1km sand drawing, the largest produced in the UK, at Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey, Wales. The beach artwork coincides with two limited edition Defenders headed for SA.

The huge sand drawing was created using a fleet of six Land Rovers and is a tribute to the moment in 1947 when Rover engineering director, Maurice Wilks, first sketched the shape for the original Land Rover in the sand of Red Wharf Bay and proposed the idea to his brother Spencer, Rover’s managing director.


Stephen Wilks, son of Maurice, said: “My father met his brother on the beach at Red Wharf Bay and made a drawing in the sand of how he thought the Land Rover could be made. That was the start of it all, the conception of Land Rover.”
The Wilks family owned land on the Welsh island and Maurice wanted a versatile vehicle that could “double as a light tractor and off-roader”. His design was christened the Land Rover, the outline of which we now recognise as the Defender.

The fleet of six Land Rovers, each towing a 3.6m agricultural harrow, created the outline of the Defender in the sand. The vehicles chosen for the race against the Anglesey tides chart the evolution of the Defender from its introduction in 1948 to the present day.

IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Defender Heritage, Adventure limited editions
VIDEO: 2015 Land Rover Defender beach tribute

A Land Rover Series I, II and III were joined on the beach by a Ninety from the eighties, a Defender 90 Hard Top, and a Defender 110 Station Wagon.

The Series II once belonged to the Wilks family and in memory of the moment originally enacted by their fathers, cousins Stephen and Nick Wilks, sons of Maurice and Spencer Wilks respectively, were on hand to take part. The vehicles drew the continuous 4.52km line, the length of 1118 Defender 90 Station Wagons, into the sand with just minutes to spare before it was erased by the incoming tide.


• 1951 Series I, 80-inch, 2.0-litre petrol.
• 1965 Series II, 2.25-litre petrol. Once belonged to Spencer Wilks.
• 1980 Series III Station Wagon, 109-inch, 2,286cc petrol.      
• 1984 Ninety Truck Cab, 2,286cc petrol.
• 2011 110 Station Wagon, 2.4-litre diesel.
• 2014 90 Hard Top, 2.2-litre diesel.


The artwork also marked announcement of new Heritage and Adventure limited editions, powered by Land Rover’s 2.2-litre diesel,  set to sold locally later in 2014.

According to the automaker: “Land Rover is also investigating the possibility of maintaining production of the current Defender at an overseas production facility, after the close of UK manufacturing. Any continuation would see low volume production maintained for selected fleets and special vehicle applications for sale outside the EU.”

The Heritage Edition is inspired by early Land Rover models sporting nostalgic design cues, green paintwork and a contrasting white roof. It has a “heritage” grille and HUE 166 graphics, recalling the registration number of the first pre-production Land Rover nicknamed ‘Huey’.

The Adventure Edition, says Land Rover, is aimed at Land Rover customers “who relish the great outdoors and embrace the Defender’s ‘go anywhere, do anything’ attitude”. It comes fitted with additional underbody protection and Goodyear MT/R tyre, unique decals and leather-trimmed cabin.

Land Rover SA confirms more than 200 of these limited edition Defenders are destined for SA. Pricing will be confirmed closer to launch.


Heritage Edition

Bodystyles: 90 hard top, 90 station wagon, 110 utility wagon, 110 station wagon
• Green metallic paintwork with body colour wheel arches
• Unique white roof
• Silver front bumper
• Heritage style grille and headlight surrounds
• Body coloured heavy duty steel wheels
• Clear indicator lenses
• Indus Silver door hinges
• Heritage style badges
• Heritage logo mudflaps
• HUE 166 graphics
• Bright aluminium finish clock and air vent bezels
• Aluminium interior door handles and door locks
• Leather steering wheel rim, gear knob and handbrake lever
• Almond Resolve Cloth upholstery with Ebony Vinyl sides and backs, with HUE tags
• Padded cubby box with cloth lid
• Heritage logo rubber floor mats
Adventure Edition
Bodystyles: 90 hard top, 90 station wagon, 100 utility wagon, 110 station wagon

• Grey, white or orange paintwork
• Santorini Black ‘Adventure’ grille, wheel arches, bonnet, roof, and rear door
• Seven-inch LED projector headlamps
• Clear indicator lenses
• Underbody sill and sump protectors
• Atlas ‘Defender’ bonnet script
• Gloss Black split-spoke diamond-turned alloy wheels
• Goodyear MT/R tyres with white lettering
• Bright Pack
• Decals on front wings
• Windsor leather upholstery
• Leather-trimmed door panels
• Aluminium finish clock and air vent bezels
• Aluminium interior door handles and door locks
• Rubber pedals
• Black centre console
• Fully wrapped leather steering wheel
• Perforated leather gear knobs, handbrake lever and grab handles
• Ebony Alston headlining
• Heritage logo carpet floor mats


According to Land Rover: “From our earliest days, the desire to create a vehicle that will tackle any terrain has made Land Rover famous around the world. Over the past 67 years, the Land Rover family has grown into the highly respected range of vehicles that are sold in record numbers today and the Defender can trace its roots back to the very first models to roll off the Solihull production line at Lode Lane in Birmingham.”
Land Rover timeline:
1947 - Land Rover project approved
1948 - The Land Rover is launched at the Amsterdam auto show on 30th April
1948 - First station wagon introduced.
1949 - British Army orders its first Land Rovers
1950 - Freewheel 4x4 system replaced by selectable two or four-wheel-drive
1953 - Long-wheelbase version introduced
1957 - Diesel engine introduced
1958 - Series II Land Rover unveiled with more refined styling
1959 - 250 000th vehicle produced
1961 - Series IIA with 2.25 diesel
1966 - 500 000th vehicle produced
1968 - Headlights move position to the front wings
1970 - Best year of sales with 56 663 vehicles retailed
1971 - Land Rover Series III launched; 750 000th Land Rover produced
1976 - 1 000 000th Land Rover built
1979 - V8 engine option introduced in March
1983 - Land Rover goes coil sprung with introduction of One Ten
1984 - Land Rover Ninety introduced
1990 - Land Rovers are re-launched and renamed Defender 90, 110 and 130 with new 2.5-litre turbo-charged direct injection diesel engine
1992 - Land Rover North America is founded with a limited edition of 500 Defender 110 vehicles powered by the 3.9 litre V8 engine
1993 - Land Rover North America follows up the success of the launch of the Defender 110 with the Defender 90 soft top
2007 - Defender evolution includes addition of six-speed gearbox
2012 - New 2.2-litre diesel engine replaces previous 2.4-litre unit
2013 - LXV Special Edition celebrates 65 years of Land Rover
Read more on:    land rover  |  south africa  |  england  |  off-road  |  new models  |  4x4  |  defender

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