when venturing far from the soothing bosom of civilisation. There’s nothing the Defender lacks in its quest to be a terrain-conqueror par excellence; equally there’s nothing added to it that would increase its ability to perform other duties. And that simplicity is exactly the reason that Land Rover can no longer make it. The lightweight-aluminiumbody-parts-attached-to-a-highly-rigidladder-chassis construction of the Defender hammers the last nail into the coffin of the model, as it precludes any opportunity of raising the woeful crash test score. As the late sci-fi writer and whiskey-taster, Iain Banks, once said of his own Defender: it does have crumple zones, they just happen to be other cars.
Upon reaching remote Mount Dare station on the north-western fringe of the Simpson, the station manager immediately gravitated to the Defender. A man constantly called upon to rescue stranded vehicles in the desert, he admitted that he’d never had to retrieve a Defender, “plenty of Toyotas, but never one of those.”
Perhaps that’s because only two million were made during the 68 years the model was in production. Where other vehicles evolved and developed then became extinct, the Defender was a constant snapshot to 1948, and the positivity of a post-WW2 world. Its simplicity gave us an immediate reference point to a simpler time, and it was also quite possibly the first car that I ever drew. There will be plenty mourning the passing of this iconic automotive anachronism in Ouagadougou, Dalandzadgad, and every advertising agency in the world.