New Land Rover Defender wins first trophy
The all-new Land Rover Defender has already claimed its first trophy, but it’s not an award for excellence in design or engineering.
Instead, the reborn Defender has claimed the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which it will carry to the grand final in Japan in November in the very, very first of the new breed.
The car that will make the trip to Tokyo is a prototype that was designed and built in the early stages of the development program, but never escaped outside Land Rover’s technical centre in the British midlands.
“We did a three-door as a show car. But we never showed it,” Land Rover’s design guru, Gerry McGovern, revealed to carsales.
“It was done five years ago. If you look at it, it’s the same design.”
He says the show car was kept hidden because it was completed relatively early, and Land Rover was worried that the car could have been copied by a Chinese company and rolled out before the British brand was ready for the original.
“We got worried that it would be copied. We were seeing the Evoque being copied in China,” McGovern says.
Land Rover eventually sued and won against one of the Chinese copycats, but the Defender was created before that landmark success.
Now McGovern is happy to confirm the car’s existence and its World Cup role, which pivots around the optional retractable canvas roof in the new Defender.
“We are going to show it at the Rugby World Cup final in Japan,” he confirmed.
“We have modified it so the World Cup goes up through the roof.”