It's been six months since production finally ceased for the legendary Land Rover Defender, capping off a 68-year run. Over nearly seven decades, the Defender has become an English auto industry icon, and fans around the world mourned when the final example rolled off the assembly line. Now, one British billionaire is trying to bring it back.
that Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of a successful chemical company called Ineos, is in talks with Jaguar-Land Rover to revive the Defender. It's still unclear how Ratcliffe would go about bringing back the legendary off-roader—whether he would buy the intellectual property, the factory tooling, or both.
It's also unclear how Ratcliffe would get around the engineering challenges that finally made Land Rover undertake a full redesign of the staunchly traditional Defender after so long: , neither of which are kind to the 12-mpg barn-shaped 4x4. The 2018 () Defender will be , built for the environmental and safety demands of a 21st-century vehicle; maintaining the charm of the old-school Defender seemingly means ignoring those pressures.
But regardless of how difficult it may be, we certainly hope Ratcliffe can make his Defender revival a reality. That would make us (and many other Defender fans) incredibly happy.
Update, 7/13/2016: When asked by Road & Track for comment, Jaguar Land Rover provided the following statement:
Jaguar Land Rover can confirm that this article was entirely speculative.Defender will always be Land Rover's icon. Jaguar Land Rover has stated its intention to continue the Defender lineage with an all-new model. We can confirm there are no plans to restart production of the previous generation Defender.The Defender remains a key part of our future product strategy, and the development of the next generation model remains on track.