Land Rover has built a unique Defender anniversary model – with help from supporters of the brand like adventurer Bear Grylls and actress Virginia McKenna.
The one-of-a-kind vehicle, which marks the UK production of the two-millionth Series Land Rover and Defender, will go under the hammer at Bonhams auction house in December as production of the current Defender enters its final phase.
Proceeds from the sale will go to Land Rover’s humanitarian and conservation partners – the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Born Free Foundation.
The vehicle will be publicly unveiled by Bonhams at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and after a schedule of public appearances ‘Defender 2,000,000’ will be auctioned in central London.
Jaguar Land Rover chief Dr Ralf Speth said: “Over 67 years, the Series Land Rover and in turn Defender has been the transport of choice for explorers, charity organisations, farmers and even royalty.
“Throughout history it has helped pioneers to reach the unreachable. What started life as an agricultural workhorse has transcended the automotive world to become a worldwide design icon.”
The ‘Defender 2,000,000’ features distinctive touches like a map of Red Wharf Bay – where the design for the original Land Rover was first drawn in the sand – engraved into the aluminium fender, which contrasts with the exterior’s silver satin paint.
A unique ‘No 2,000,000’ badge sits on the rear of the vehicle, which is mirrored on the interior console and the design is finished with Santorini Black wheels and wheel arches, roof, door hinges, grille and mirror caps.
Inside, the leather seats also feature the Red Wharf Bay graphic and ‘no 2,000,000’ logos have been stitched on the headrests.
An aluminium plaque, signed by everyone who helped assemble the vehicle, is fitted to the driver’s seat plinth while on the front and rear, S90 HUE registration plates – a reference to the first ever pre-production Land Rover, registration ‘HUE 166’ – complete the Defender.
Last month a team of lifelong Defender fans were invited to join the Solihull production line to help build the vehicle, including Bear Grylls.
And he said: “The Land Rover Defender has been there for me more times than I care to remember. They are so often the unsung heroes of our TV shows, working hard in the toughest conditions to get crew in and out of exceptionally challenging terrains.
“Known and respected by me and many other adventurers for their rugged reliability – it was an honour to be asked to take part in the build of this very special car.”
Production of the original Land Rover Series I began at the Lode Lane facility in 1947 ahead of its launch at the Amsterdam Motor Show on April 30, 1948. Since then two million examples of the Series I, II III and Defender have been produced at Solihull.