Defender of The Realm

A lifelong Defender fan and passionate collector of vintage Land Rovers, George Bamford talks about his love for the 21st-century reimagined Defender. Initially a sceptic, he is now a fully-fledged member of the fan club.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about the original Land Rover Defender is British engineering and the new Defender is no different. Writing this, it feels almost like a love letter to the Land Rover Defender, as I feel compelled to gush about it. It is one of the best exports of British engineering and it has really challenged every other off-road automotive manufacturer.

The boxy design of the original Defender has circumnavigated the world with iconic shots of the Defender everywhere you can possibly go on the planet. From the Camel Trophy run to expeditions and even on the way up Everest, you will always spot a Defender; and I have a nickname for it — Landy spotting. Whenever I see a Landy, wherever I am in the world, I love to take a photograph and post it to my social media as it always makes me smile.

When I heard that the brand-new Defender was coming out, I had duality in my thinking. Is this going to be amazing? Is it going to be the product everyone wants? I saw a prototype and thought, yes, it is good — but is it going to stand out? However, I was then lent one by Land Rover to drive and I fell in love. This really is a 21st-century Land Rover Defender. You aren’t sitting at an odd angle where your elbow is always poking out of the window when you turn the steering wheel, and it is furnished with all the modern comforts. The off-road capability is outstanding, and the descent and ascent proficiency is unreal. The ground clearance is amazing and the all-round video cameras are some of the best I’ve seen. It is basically tick, tick, tick… apart from the price. This is where the Defender can raise some eyebrows as it was traditionally a farmer’s workhorse, a vehicle for everyone and anyone. However, the current price, in reality, reflects the costs of manufacturing a machine that is entirely capable and great inside and out, in today’s market. The new Defender is built to withstand the rigours of family life — it’s entirely child-friendly and will forever be able to withstand my muddy boots jumping in and out. So impressed was I by the Defender that as soon as I had tested one, I said to Land Rover that I just had to get one. Since getting my own, I have already covered over 10,000 miles in a matter of a couple of months. I have had to travel a lot and the Defender has always been my vehicle of choice. To make this a balanced piece, I should highlight the things that bug me… but there aren’t any, which is strange for me as I’m something of a perfectionist! My go-to wheels used to always be a Range Rover, but the new Defender is so good, it is literally one of the nicest cars I’ve ever driven. I could go down the technical route, but let’s just say that my local tech shop is loving all the USB cables I have been purchasing to plug into the vast number of USB ports in the Defender. See, I did say it was very 21st-century!


George Bamford


January 2021


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