In 1947 one Maurice Wilks came up with the idea of a Land Rover and, in a nutshell, the Series 1 Landy was born. Swiftly, this robust workhorse became the favourite of farmers, equestrians and soldiers alike and it roamed for years across the billowing fields and sheltered valleys of the countryside. Over the decades this iconic vehicle went through many changes and variants until, in 1983, it morphed into the Land Rover Ninety and One-Ten models; the numbers referring to nothing more complicated than the wheelbase of the vehicles in inches. Later the 127 was added to the line-up. In 1989 LR introduced the more sophisticated Discovery requiring the company to christen it’s older sibling the Defender. The old workhorse had grown up yet retained its capability and its faithful following. The introduction of the turbo-diesel engine made the vehicle even more versatile and the Defender rumbled on contently. Until now. The DC100 Concept has arrived.
It seems that LRs Design Director has led his team into the murky waters of a ‘re-interpretation’ of the Defender with the aim of ‘capturing the adventurous, indomitable spirit established by the venerable Series 1’. The new vehicle will be fitted with world-leading all terrain technologies, hi-tech materials and cutting edge design to enhance the original defender’s core functionality. Needless to say Land Rover are going to talk this one up, but as others have found, you tinker with tradition at your peril.
The ever popular and justifiably lauded Range Rover has maybe a different set of fans and uses but it has carried on the traditions of the brand, even if it is now wearing a flash suit. Also in the range is the more family orientated Freelander and the stunningly good Discovery. With the recent addition of the blinged up Evoque you‘d think the set would be completed. There is no doubt that the Evoque has garnered rave reviews and it seems that despite the funky looks this is a very capable car indeed. With these exciting vehicles in the range it makes you wonder if messing with the Defender is an entirely good idea.
However, it’s fair to say that sales of the Defender have fallen. There is a lot of quality out there in 4×4 land and maybe LR needs to inject some new genes into the old timer. Diehards will say that the company must keep the essence of honesty and purity that marks out the Defender so that it will continue to appeal to its traditional markets.
So the DC100 is looking something like the future of the Land Rover Defender. This September at the Frankfurt Motor Show have we have witnessed the cold blooded murder of an old retainer or the birth of a new legend? No doubt they are bound to be popular with the on-trend element of the population but whether the faithful will flock to it in 2015 is entirely another matter. Have Land Rover achieved a new pinnacle in 4×4 design or will we watch them crash and burn? We wait with bated breath.