Keeping it 'Real'
How to update the Defender to make it more relevant for today’s driver without compromising on the historic Land Rover values that date back over 60 years. That was the huge task we set ourselves when forming the Ministry of Defender. It took a while and quite a lot of consultation with current and previous Land Rover owners, but in the end we decided that the best way to go forward would be to look back. So that’s what we did; we looked back over the last thirty odd years to find the best version of Defender. Once we had that, it was simply a question of enhancing, upgrading and updating as much as we could, whilst being careful not to go beyond that by adding on things that didn’t belong.
The version we personally came up with as being the ultimate expression of Land Rover is the 300tdi model that was produced in vast numbers between 1994 and 1998, closely followed by the 200tdi model that preceded it. We discounted the earlier ones due to their poor engines and chose to leave out those built after 1998 as this was when electronic systems started to appear on the Defender, which we think was totally out of keeping. ECUs, electric windows, air conditioning and sat-navs are fine on a modern car, but the Land Rover is a classic design that goes back to 1948. Adding electrical extras such as those to a Defender is like putting double glazing into St Paul’s Cathedral. You might gain a bit of insulation, but you’d lose a heck of a lot more in integrity by doing so.