THE FINAL Land Rover has rolled from the Solihull line on January 29th. Loosely modelled on the World War 2 Jeep, the original Land Rover was introduced in 1948 as a cheap, simple and tough vehicle for farmers. During the 1950s and 60s it became the vehicle of choice for exploration, military/policing and civil engineering all over the planet, from the depths of Africa and the highlands of New Guinea to the red centre of Australia.
As well as being updated during its own life, the original Land Rover design – separate chassis and two beam axles – spawned the more upmarket Range Rover in the late 1960s, the Australian Army’s specially designed Perentie field vehicles in the 1980s and the family-friendly Land Rover Discovery for the 1990s.
The last car – H166 HUE – marked the end of an era of not only the world’s most recognisable off-road vehicle, but the longest production run of any single vehicle in history: 68 years. Increasingly tough safety and emissions requirements for the archaic design are slated as the key reasons for production ending.
Land Rover says it intends to build a next-gen Defender.
Here's to the next 68 years.
ABOVE The Land Rover driven by the Leyland brothers on their 111-day 1966 expedition between mainland Oz's most westerly and easterly points.