The Evolution of the Land Rover Defender

With the release of the highly anticipated New Land Rover Defender in 2020, we take a look back at how the iconic Land Rover Defender has evolved over the years.

Land Rover Defender

In 1983, the Land Rover 110 was introduced to the automotive market, later followed by the Land Rover 90. In 1985, Land Rover released the 127 – more commonly known as the Land Rover 130. In the late 90’s, Land Rover named this model range ‘Defender’ to avoid any confusion from the Land Rover Discovery range.

A lot of the styling on the Defender range came from its predecessor, the Land Rover Series 3. The most noticeable styling differences were seen in the revised front grille, a new full-length bonnet, and a one-piece windscreen. More importantly, the Defenders new coil-sprung suspension and permanent four-wheel-drive system were fitted to the vehicle, revolutionising the way the Land Rover Defender handled on and off-road.

Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender was initially released with a 107bhp, 195lb-ft turbodiesel 200Tdi engine, then upgraded in 1994, to a 300Tdi with a L380 gearbox. In 1998, a five-cylinder Td5 diesel engine was introduced to the Land Rover Defender and badged the Td5. More engine revisions were made in the 00s, with the release of the 122bhp four-cylinder ‘Puma’ diesel engine, with a new six-speed gearbox, along with a new set of safety features and a modernised dashboard – which all became standard in 2007. Additional updates were made in 2011, to the engine for the 2012 model, with a slightly smaller 2.2ltr engine with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) fitted to meet the new Euro V regulations, whilst still maintaining the Defenders renowned power and torque. In 2013, a special Defender LXV Edition was released to celebrate a remarkable 65 years of Land Rover. Incredibly the first-generation Land Rover Defender was produced for a total of 26 years, gathering a very loyal fan base over the years. The final first-generation Defender rolled off the production line in 2016, with rumours of a new Defender to be released in the very near future.

In 2019, Land Rover finally revealed the release of the New Defender, with the official launch in 2020. The new highly awaited Land Rover Defender did not disappoint its loyal fans, giving them everything they had hoped for –innovative technology, new modern styling, whilst still maintaining the original Defenders superb off-roading capabilities. The new Land Rover Defender has already proven to be a big hit with customers around the world.

Land Rover Defender Facts

  1. The original Land Rover Defenders were named according to the length of the vehicle’s wheelbase.
  2. The 127-inch wheelbase was named the 130 to be consistent with the Land Rover 90 and 110 models.
  3. Coil-sprung suspension and permanent four-wheel-drive were fitted to the Defender, revolutionising Land Rovers off-road capabilities.
  4. The first-generation Land Rover Defender was in production for a remarkable 26 years.
  5. A special edition Defender (the LXV Edition) was released in 2013 to celebrate 65 years of Land Rover.
New Defender

James and the JGS4x4 team are always on hand to discuss your Land Rover parts requirements. Share & comment on this article: The Evolution of the Land Rover Defender

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