Yesterday I watched as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited NHS staff in a magnificent green Series 2a Land Rover that had belonged to his late grandfather, Prince Phillip, who recently passed away. The car was the real star, shining like a beacon of nostalgia, thanks to its great engineering, history, Britishness. Prince Philip was carried to his final resting place on the back of a Land Rover Defender just a few weeks ago. If, like me, you are a Land Rover Series and Defender fan, you will have been moved to tears by the sight and sound of the sombre progress of the Defender before his coffin was carried from her bespoke deck; the square-set looks and the sound of her engine ticking over instantly recognisable and identifiable as uniquely Land Rover. That’s the thing about the Defender. She is instantly identifiable from the tiniest of perspective. A wing mirror, her grille, the lights, her rear, her lines, the sound of her engine. Show me a Defender from 500 metres and I’ll know it’s her. A quick history lesson in the vehicle itself. Designed in 1948, the first Land Rover was called a Series 1. It was followed by the Series 2 and 3 before it was renamed the Land Rover 90 and 110 before it became the Defender, the name by which many refer to all the “boxy” Land Rover models that are closely related to the original. The last of the Defenders rolled off the production line at Solihull in 2016 before Land Rover unveiled its all-new – and very different technologically – Defender in 2020 to mixed reaction from enthusiasts. That’s because while the new Defender filled the void in the Land Rover portfolio of mainly luxury cars, it also failed to capture the essence of what the Defender, 90/110 and Series models had; their unique character and personality. On the face of it the Defender (I use the term to refer to all the “boxy” vehicles, including the Series 1-3 Land Rovers, up to 2016) is a terrible car. It is noisy, leaky, creaky and uncomfortable – but that is also her attraction. In an age of homogeneous reliability, the Land Rover has character and personality.