It features in the latest Bond film, has been driven by Angelina Jolie and is a firm favourite of the Queen, but Land Rover will have to stop producing their Defender model – after it fell foul of new European laws on fuel emissions.
The last Land Rover Defender will be made at Solihull in the West Midlands in December 2015 by Jaguar Land Rover. The company are now working on a replacement to try and adapt the car to meet the EU’s new emissions rules.
The royal relationship with Land Rover goes back to 1948 when King George VI viewed the original Land Rover – which was based on wartime jeeps. The Queen took delivery of her first one shortly after coming to the throne in 1952.
The company currently holds a royal warrant and the Queen is regularly seen behind the wheel of a trusty Defender as she drives around her estates at Sandringham and Balmoral.
A Jaguar Land Rover spokesman said: "Production of Defender will stop at the end of 2015. A replacement vehicle will join the Land Rover range, but the Defender in its current format is coming to an end."
The departure of the current Defender will be echoed by other major changes in the Land Rover line-up, with a new baby version of the Discovery arriving the same year to replace the Freelander.
Official details of the new arrival have not been revealed, but are expected to start trickling out closer to the vehicle’s unveiling – tipped to be a the Geneva motor show in March 2014.