July 16 is a red-letter day at Jaguar Land Rover in South Africa when the company will stage a massive on-line reveal of the new Land Rover Defender 110 to tens of thousands of customers and fans.
Set down for 16:00 on Thursday, the YouTube reveal will be hosted by sports presenter Xola Ntshinga with special guest appearances from former Springbok Bryan Habana and well-known South African explorers and adventurers Kingsley and Ross Holgate.
Epic 110-minute launch ahead
Participants can expect an epic 110-minute launch programme, during which prizes will also be up for grabs.
To stage the event, Jaguar Land Rover has joined a wave of brands which have been compelled to move model launches and other marketing activities on-line due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdowns.
The pandemic threw the proverbial spanner into the works, effectively delaying major automotive activities and events which had been planned for early 2020.
Whetting automotive appetites ahead of the launch of the much anticipated 2020 model, Land Rover looked back at its routes and the journey undertaken by a brand that has long been synonymous with off-road motoring in South Africa.
New Defender: Features that define an icon
Land Rover has defined all-terrain capability and toughness from the conception of its very first 4×4. The Defender and Series models before it, have gone above and beyond for decades, securing iconic status for their ability to help people make more of their world.
And although its distinctive overall silhouette makes the new Defender as instantly recognisable as the original, there are a number of iconic features which have been passed on through generations of Series Land Rovers and Defenders since the original appeared at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948.
The new Defender takes these much-loved characteristics and re-imagined them for the 21st century.
The famous five of the Landy Defender’s features
The five features which contributed to the Defender’s iconic status can all be found on the latest iteration of the model.
1. The Alpine windows
A defining feature of all Defenders, Alpine windows in the upper-rear roof area are specially designed to let light into the cabin. The Alpine name also alludes to their original purpose — offering scenic views when touring mountain ranges.
2. The side-hinged tailgate
A tailgate that swings open like a conventional door has been a trademark of all Defenders, right through to today. The design helps give the New Defender its unique rear profile, while also allowing a mounting place for the spare wheel.
Featuring a strong four-layer design, the Defender tailgate’s hinge and strike plate have been subjected to 30 000 test slam cycles in temperatures from -30 to +80 degrees Celsius.
3. The externally mounted spare wheel
Whether fixed to the bonnet in the early days or on the tailgate later on, the iconic Land Rover’s spare wheel has always been handily mounted externally.
Apart from being a visual Defender trademark, this mounting position helps achieve a short rear overhang, and therefore steep departure angle. The Defender’s spare is secured with heavy duty locking wheel nuts.
4. The rugged steel wheels
Though alloy wheels are far more commonplace today, rugged steel rims are a requisite option on all Defenders. The new Defender comes with optional 18-inch pressed steel wheels in Gloss White and offroad tyres with an outside rolling diameter of 815mm – the largest across the entire Land Rover family.
5. Pale green hue
Right from the very first Series 1 Rovers, when colour choice was dictated by surplus aircraft paint, the iconic 4×4 has come with pale green body panels.
More recently, the Heritage Edition Defender was finished in a throwback Grasmere green. The new Defender is available with the latest iteration of the historic colour: Pangea Green.
‘Respectful of its past’
Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover, said: “The New Defender is respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it. This is a new Defender for a New Age.
“Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable – a visually compelling 4×4 that wears its design and engineering integrity with uncompromised commitment.”
Land Rover Design creative director Massimo Frascella said: “For us designers, nothing comes close to redesigning the last automotive icon. The design of the new Defender is a manifestation of our modernist design philosophy, elemental yet incredibly sophisticated.”
The launch of Land Rover’s short wheelbase derivative — the Defender 90 — is set to follow later in 2020.