Final Land Rover Defender Rolls Off Assembly Line

The end of a 68-year off-roading era.

Say goodbye to one of the longest-lived models in automotive history. Bringing an end to a 68-year run, the very last copy of the Land Rover Defender was built today at Land Rover's plant in Solihull, U.K. The very last vehicle to be built at the factory was a Land Rover Defender 90 Heritage Soft Top, pictured here.

Land Rover has built more than two million Land Rover Series and Defender models at the Solihull plant since 1948. The Series I was the first model to begin production, with the Series II following in 1958. Changes included the addition of a new diesel engine. By 1971, Land Rover Defender production hit its all-time peak, at 56,000 cars, as the Series III model arrived. It wasn't until 1990 that the name Defender was actually introduced, by which time Land Rover also sold the Range Rover and the Discovery.

The very first Series I Land Rover cost just £450 when it launched in 1948, and had a 1.6-liter inline-four engine good for just 50 hp. These days, the model has changed significantly; Land Rover says it takes an average of 56 man hours to build each Defender, with one rolling off the assembly line approximately every four minutes. By contrast, it takes Land Rover just 48 hours to build a Discovery Sport.

The Land Rover Defender will return in the near future. As seen below in our rendering, the 2019 Land Rover Defender will likely keep much of its boxy, utilitarian design, but it will use a tough unibody chassis and will have far more luxurious interiors and technologies than ever before. We expect at least five body styles, ranging from a two-door short-wheelbase model to a four-door long-wheelbase pickup, with both hardtop and convertibles available. Engine choices will include gas and diesel 2.0-liter turbo-fours, as well as a V-6 in place of the outgoing model's dated V-8 engine.

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