Land Rover’s Solihull production facility produced the final Defender model on January 29
It happened 68 years after the launch of the first Series I model, the ancestor of the current Defender and the first ever Land Rover vehicle.
Land Rover marked the special occasion by inviting more than 700 current and former Solihull employees to see and drive some of the most iconic vehicles from its history, including the first pre-production "Huey" Series I as well as the last model made, a Defender 90 Heritage Soft Top.
More than 25 unique vehicles from Land Rover's history came together in a procession around the Solihull plant.
The last Defender built includes an original part that has been used on Soft Top specifications since 1948 – the hood cleat. The vehicle will not be sold to a customer, but instead will be added to the Jaguar Land Rover Collection.
"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.
The successor to the Defender is expected to arrive in 2018 and may be built in Land Rover's new assembly plant in Slovakia.
At the ceremony, Land Rover announced a new Heritage Restoration Programme which will be based on the site of the existing Solihull production line. A team of experts will oversee the restoration of various Series Land Rovers sourced from around the world. The first vehicles will go on sale in July 2016.