Land Rover Defender: 14 facts to celebrate 68 glorious years

The Land Rover Defender has bowed out of production after 68 years and over two million copies made. Here are some interesting facts about the venerable off-roader.


Now that the Defender has marched off into the sunset, to be replaced at some undetermined time in the future by an all-new model, here are 14 things you might not know about the rugged four-wheel drive.

  1. 2,016,933 Land Rover Defenders have been built.
  2. Each one contains around 7,000 parts.
  3. Requires 56 hours to build — a Discovery Sport takes only 48 hours.
  4. Production began in 1948.
  5. Owners have included Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Winston Churchill, and Steve McQueen.
  6. Last built at Jaguar Land Rover’s factory in Solihull, UK, alongside the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Land Rover Discovery, Jaguar XE and Jaguar F-Pace.
  7. Originally known as the Series I Land Rover.
  8. Major updates include 1958’s Series II, which introduced a new diesel engine and design, and 1971’s Series III.
  9. The Defender name was first used in 1990.
  10. Variants are commonly referred to by their wheelbase in inches, eg. Land Rover Defender 110.
  11. Series I Land Rover in 1948 had a list price of £450, and was powered by a 50hp/37kW 1.6-liter engine.
  12. The most expensive Defender is the 2,000,000th Defender, which sold at auction in 2015 for £400,000.
  13. All soft top Defenders share two parts with the 1948 original: hood cleats and the underbody support strut.
  14. The Defender’s most popular year? 1971 when around 56,000 were made.


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Joshua Thompson

Joshua Thompson

News editor — Joshua deals with numbers for a living, but cars are his lifelong passion. He loves all, from his dream Stingray through to his first car, a Mercury Tracer.


Land Rover Defender: 14 facts to celebrate 68 glorious years