Despite Land Rover building a final, definitive "2 Million" Model and inviting the world's press to the factory to see the lights go out for the last time, it seems that so many people still want a Defender that plans are afoot to bring the original SUV back from the dead.
Chemicals company Ineos Group wants to resurrect the Land Rover and has already held initial exploratory talks with Jaguar Land Rover.
"I am a passionate advocate of UK manufacturing and the Land Rover Defender has been a part of the British motoring scene for over sixty years. We want to breathe new life into it and make it even better than before," said Ineos Group CEO Jim Ratcliffe.
In recent weeks, rumours have been building that companies are very much interested in buying up Land Rover's pressings and equipment in order to put the iconic Defender back into production or are at least intrigued by licensing the vehicle's exterior form and creating an ‘homage.'
So much so that Jaguar Land Rover was forced to issue an official statement stating: "We're not going to let anyone build our Defender."
As loved and as iconic as the Defender is or was, it reached the end of the production line on January 29 for a very good reason -- it could no longer meet with automotive safety, reliability and emissions regulations having stayed in production with minimal underpinning or exterior enhancements since 1948. And there was no financial sense in trying to adapt the existing car when a new off-road benchmark-setting car would be much simpler and sensible instead.
Still, regulations notwithstanding, even Land Rover itself was caught off-guard by the uptick in orders for the original Land Rover when it went into its final production year, and according to Ineos, it could find some 10 000-12 000 customers a year for a special edition and more importantly, a special edition that meets all current rules and regulations.
"I am a great admirer of the Land Rover Defender," said Ratcliffe, "and I think it can be upgraded to be the world's best and most rugged off roader."
To do this, the company aims to retain the Defender's iconic silhouette, which Ratcliffe describes as being like "a listed building" but then upgrading everything else about the car so that it is as reliable as the Toyota Land Cruiser but with "the Defender's superior off road qualities."
As well as announcing this grand vision, on Monday Ratcliffe said that a serious feasibility study was now underway and that more would be revealed before November.