The Land Rover Defender Assembly Line Isn't Done Just Yet
January 29th marked a somber day for the Land Rover faithful, as 700 past and current employees of the 4x4’s Solihull plant convened to watch the final Defender roll off the line, number 2,016,933. With its end of production go 68 years of rich history, innovation, style, and a whole lot of caked-on mud. But tucked neatly at the bottom of the Defender’s official eulogy were a few lines that ought to bring smiles to Land Rover devotees, especially those of the early Series. Land Rover has kickstarted a new initiative, known as the Heritage Restoration Program, and through it the automaker will restore early Series I Land Rovers using some of the same hands that helped to build its descendants. RELATED: Check Out the "2 Millionth" Land Rover Defender 4x4
According to Land Rover, the heritage program will set up shop on the existing Defender production line and consist of 12 Land Rover restoration experts, ten of which arrive straight from the production line. They’ll be pooling a total 172 years of combined experience to fix-up the deserving Series I restoration candidates, which will be sourced from owners across the globe. The company has said the first of these will be on sale and complete in July 2016.
According to The Telegraph, at least 25 vehicles will be selected for restoration, starting at a price of around £60,000. However, they won’t be updated in any way. In fact, even some interior elements are said to remain unpainted, as they were in the early days. Classic.
It takes a lengthy 56 man hours to hand-build just one Defender; it’ll likely take quite a bit more than that to restore this next crop of Series I 4x4s.
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If you lament the passing of the iconic Defender, fret not. Land Rover continues to affirm that a new Defender will come along in due time, with the design and engineering currently underway. That Defender could very well grace US shores—no longer banished by safety and emissions standards—and though it won’t be as no-frills rugged as its predecessor, it’ll most certainly be a proper Defender.
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