To mark the end of a most magnificent era, Land Rover will be auctioning a bespoke vehicle that was built to commemorate the production of the two-millionth Series Land Rover and Defender at the Solihull plant in the UK.
'Defender 2,000,000' was created to be a fitting tribute to almost seven decades of Land Rover production in the Solihull factory. The vehicle was originally unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which was held in June of this year and all proceeds of the sale will be donated to Land Rover's humanitarian and conservation partners – the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Born Free Foundation.
The vehicle features a range of distinctive finishing touches and more than a passing nod to its heritage. A map of Red Wharf Bay – where the design for the original Land Rover was first drawn in the sand by Maurice Wilks – is engraved into the aluminum fender, which contrasts with the exterior Indus Silver satin paint. A one-off 'no 2,000,000' badge sits on the rear of the vehicle, which is mirrored on the interior console. Finished with Santorini Black wheels and wheel arches, roof, door hinges, grille and mirror caps, the effect is, in the words of the Land Rover motto: ‘above and beyond.’
Inside, the leather seats also feature the 'Red Wharf Bay' graphic and 'no 2,000,000' logos have been stitched on the headrests. A bespoke aluminum plaque, signed by everyone who helped to assemble the vehicle is fitted to the driver's seat plinth. And to complete the story of the Land Rover Defender the front and rear, S90 HUE registration plates make reference to the first ever pre-production Land Rover, registration 'HUE 166'.
During May 2015, a team of life-long Defender fans were invited to join the Solihull production line to assist in the building of this unique vehicle, including adventurer and TV personality Bear Grylls who commented: "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.”
Representatives from the IFRC and Born Free also journeyed to the Land Rover factory to fit their part to the vehicle, including actress and founder of the Born Free Foundation Virginia McKenna OBE.
Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said: "Over 67 years, the Series Land Rover and in turn Defender has been the transport of choice for explorers, charity organizations, 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. I was honoured to join the production line team in Solihull to help build this unique vehicle. It was a special experience which will no doubt become a fond memory.
Production of the original Land Rover Series I began at the famous Lode Lane facility in 1947 ahead of its launch at the Amsterdam Motor Show on 30 April 1948. Since then two million examples of the Series I, II III and Defender have been produced.
The auction will take place on Wednesday 16th December at New Bond Street.