Like we mentioned earlier today, Land Rover will stop building the Defender in Solihull, England, next December, two years ahead of schedule. Production might continue overseas, Land Rover hasn’t made a final decision yet, but what’s certain is that the Defender can’t be sold new in Europe after December 31st, 2015, because it won’t comply with new emissions regulations that will come into effect in 2016.
The automaker is sending off the off-roader with a year of celebrations that kicked off with the announcement of three limited-edition models that will be introduced over the course of the year. Land Rover has also created a giant kilometer-wide sand drawing of a Defender at Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey, United Kingdom. Although this might initially seem like a far-fetched PR stunt, the drawing is actually a tribute to the day in 1947 when Maurice Wilks, Rover’s engineering director at the time, first came up with the guidelines for the original Land Rover.
Story has it Wilks was walking on the beach with his brother, Spencer, who was Rover’s managing director at the time. Maurice was talking about his idea of a 4×4 that would blend the attributes of a tractor and an off-roader, and he sketched a rough drawing into the sand to illustrate what form it would take. Spencer was immediately convinced, and work on what would become the Land Rover Series I started shortly after.
Land Rover explains the drawing was done in a little under three hours with six agricultural 12-foot harrows towed by a 1951 Series I, a 1965 Series II once owned by Spencer Wilks, a 1980 Series III, a 1984 Ninety, a 2011 Defender 110 Station Wagon and a 2014 Defender 90 Hard Top. The video and the gallery below show how it all came together.