Land Rover Defender 50th Special Edition
They squeezed a Range Rover into a Defender
It was love at first sight: it was 1998, and as I walked out of Waitrose on the Finchley Rd with my newborn daughter strapped to my chest in a Baby Björn, I saw my first 50th Edition. The Atlantis Blue flip-flop paint sparkled and changed from blue to green as I admired it. The car looked cool, really cool. It had just the right amount of kit to make it stand out, but not look ridiculous.
To celebrate 50 years of Land Rover, they produced 1071 Special Edition vehicles. Only 385 stayed in the UK, 451 went to Japan (white with boost alloys), Germany 180, France 25, Holland 20 and Belgium 10.
The Special Edition was essentially a NAS (North American Specification) stationwagon. This meant it had a generous amount of extras as standard. The UK had the special Atlantis Blue paintwork, and was powered by the 190 hp 4.0L V8 petrol engine, which was mated to a four-speed ZF automatic gearbox, both from the Range Rover. It also had air-conditioning, front cabin Safety Devices roll cage, chromed side runners, freestyle alloy wheels in gunmetal grey, with checker plate on the wing tops and sills. Each one came with a numbered commemorative plaque on the rear right hand side, making it a very rare and desirable product aimed at the wealthy lifestyle market.
Over the years, these vehicles have become increasingly sought-after both by collectors, and gentlemen that like to go shooting, which means they often get sold on within a group without ever being advertised. This has made reasonably priced 50ths tough to track down.
Land Rover Defender prices are on the up, due to the announcement that production will cease in December 2015. However, the demand and rush to order new cars might push that end date back to April 2016.
Land Rover are producing a one-off special edition, the two millionth Land Rover Defender, to celebrate the end of sixty seven years of production: not bad for a car designed by Maurice Wilks, with a sketch in the sand at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey in 1947.
Rumour has it that JLR SVO (Jaguar Land Rover, Special Vehicle Operations) have invited a very select few to purchase an extra-special limited edition Defender, which, like the 50th, has a V8 and automatic gearbox. This means they’re still squeezing Range Rovers into Defenders.
Country of Origin : UK
Brand/Make/Model: LR Defender 50th
Designer: Maurice Wilks (original Series LR)
Type: 4X4 Utility Vehicle
Why: Rare version of an automotive icon.