Land Rover, Land Rover, Send the Defender Right Over
On the timeless classic that saw the far reaches of the globe over and back.
In a world of plastic bumpers, fiberglass body panels and self driving vehicles, sometimes its the classics that we depend on. With a body that is about as aerodynamic as a brick, suspension that mostly hasn't changed since 1949, and questionable safety standards, the Land Rover Series and Defender has a certain timeless charm that is irresistible. Perhaps the owners of these vehicles of less than reliable repute have a penchant for pain, but maybe its more a matter of standing out among the masses and carrying on the legacy as a pathfinder and explorer.
Going back to 1948, with its original design, by Maurice Wilks, the Land Rover was slated to become Britain's next affordable do-anything truck. Whether you needed to haul a bale of hay, bring a sheep to market, or drive some dodgy countryside roads, the Land Rover was meant to fill a niche and bring back the economy to post-war England. Inspired too because his WWII Willy's Jeep was too unreliable (ironic, I know), Wilks created a vehicle that would soon become an icon to the auto world and explorers alike.
From the Series I, II, III and the Defender came a strong lineage of explorers, soldiers, humanitarians, photographers and adventurers. Boasting feats such as being the first vehicle to ever be seen by some societies, the Land Rover evolved from a humble farm truck to a global trekker. This piece of machinery went from simply an automobile to an icon. No other vehicle can quite bring to mind the same amount of nostalgia and thrill of adventure as a Land Rover can. No other vehicle quite fits the bill when wading through roof rack deep grasses in the Serengeti, with a camera propped on the dash ready for that quick glimpse of the elusive lion.
Being in production, in effect, from 1949 until 2016 is no minor feat either. 67 years of production is something not many other vehicles can claim. Even with the nuances of luxury, and distractions by Range Rover, the Defender ultimately remained unchanged. Sure you had nicer leather seats, a stereo and maybe an AC system, but when compared to other generations of vehicle, the Defender always rang true to its name. From personal experience, seeing the Land Rovers climb nimbly over muddy rocks and deep ruts without sipping a beat, while we struggled to keep up in our Jeep only further solidified our love and admiration for Land Rover. And yes, I have seen the photos of the new "Defender" in testing, but I think that's a topic for another day...
Now I know nostalgia isn't necessarily a great defense when questioned on what vehicle we plan on using in Australia. But in all reality, why is it not? Why wouldn't you want to be excited to hop in the seat of your expedition truck every single day? Why wouldn't you want a truck that makes you feel like a kid in a Lego Store all over again? Reliability and maintenance aside, of which the risks we're very well aware, the story and history of the truck deserves to be celebrated. Through our expedition, we want to celebrate and share the rich history of such an iconic vehicle, and maybe convince a few of you Toyota guys that Land Rover's aren't all bad! Maybe I've been staring at old Camel Trophy photos for too long, but who isn't inspired to forge off into the jungle after seeing a Defender roof deep in an Amazonian river. Maybe we won't be pushing it quite that far, but we'll be driving with the same enthusiasm and desire to reach the far corners of the globe. In the motto of Camel Trophy we all have "one life, live it," which in my opinion is advice I would take any day.