Right from its debut, the new Land Rover Defender was a case of design. The phenomenon is still not finished because, after the five-door 110, the more compact 90 arrived and the Defender family will grow even bigger in the future. We talked about it with Massimo Frascella, Land Rover Design Director.
Which of the two versions: 90 or 110, was conceived first?
The two versions were conceived together, seeking a balance between the iconic nature of the 90, probably the most direct heir of the Defender of the past, and the dynamism of the 110, which is more practical and versatile. At the beginning, we concentrated on the concept, seeking to create a formal language that was strongly based on the proportions and road presence, we evolved a “design language” and applied it to both versions.
Everything began with the LR1 concept. How close is the production Defender to the prototype?
It’s incredibly close. The concept was the climax of the creative work that we carried forward for some time and helped us define the essential shapes of the new Defender. Thanks to the LR1 concept, we understood the enormous potential of this model, and that we were on the right path. I remember everyone’s euphoria during an internal presentation of the model with Mr Tata when a prototype came down a very steep ramp: that day, a legend was reborn.
In order to understand the importance of this concept, you just have to observe the production Defender: in all these years, we have had them both in the style centre, one near the other, and they are two of a kind. Every time that we look at them, we realise that we have completed a mission. It wasn’t an easy journey, but all the departments, from design to engineering to marketing, worked with the same enthusiasm.