A meeting of legends as Sir Paul Smith styles a unique Land Rover Defender to celebrate the final phase of production

Land Rover has joined forces with British fashion legend Sir Paul Smith to design a bespoke version of its iconic Defender.

The project is part of Land Rover's year-long celebration of the Defender as it enters the final phase of manufacturing at the Solihull factory, and was unveiled at Smith's shop in London's Mayfair today.

Sir Paul has long been a fan of the car, having owned several and was keen to get involved with the project. “The Defender is a British icon, which is something I’m exceptionally proud of,” said Smith. “I keep a Defender at my home in Italy, which is in the middle of the countryside, so it’s the perfect vehicle to cope with the rugged terrain.”

Smith worked with Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) team, which specialises in individual customer commissions and personalisations. Between them they created the one-off car, which has 27 different colours used on the exterior panels, as well as a well-appointed and detailed interior.

Smith says the palette was inspired both by the British countryside and colours historically seen on Defenders used by the military. He gave the SVO team a set of Pantone colours which they mixed and applied to the car as directed.

In the cabin, Smith wanted to give the utilitarian interior a lift and used a variety of materials and colours to do so. He explained "I wanted to give this Defender a feeling of luxury, so I used a mix of leather and fabric for the seats. I actually used the fabric that I design for Maharam, the American upholstery company. Inside, black leather contrasts against blue stitching and there are lots of little hidden details throughout. For example, there is an image of a set of keys printed inside the glove compartment. Then there is a hand-painted bee on the roof, which is another tongue-in-cheek reference to the countryside and the heritage of the car. Also, the traditional Defender clock has been replaced with a Paul Smith fascia. My designs are known for their attention to detail, so I didn’t want this Defender to be any different.”

More subtle changes are the use of satin finishes on the wing mirrors, door handles and wheels Smith feels give the car a contemporary feel.

Gerry McGovern, Design Director and Chief Creative Officer of Land Rover, adds: “I felt it would be a fitting tribute to the iconic Defender, that one of Britain's most distinguished designers worked with the Land Rover team to recognise his creative vision.”

The Paul Smith Defender is destined to be a museum piece. 

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Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender is an institution and unbeatable off road, if crude on it

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20 March 2015
Reminds me of the VW Polo Harlequin. That was awful too.

20 March 2015
The Golf had a harlequin as well. It was cheaper just to get the odd parts from the junkyard!
Leslie Brook wrote:

Reminds me of the VW Polo Harlequin. That was awful too.

20 March 2015
There's a lot more to design than what he did. Tell me what he did here that my 7 year old couldn't have done equally as well. Fashion designers are not REAL designers in my opinion.

21 March 2015
please do not waste your money on this with Mr Smith... there are over a million primary school children in the UK who could do better than this, plus my own Border Collie if you want a left field approach... also launching the new Disco with the old / wrong engine family sucks... you can do better and you should do better!

20 March 2015
I like this: Its light-hearted and doesn't dominate the simple design of this iconic vehicle. I think the colours are far more harmonious than the Harlequin, too. And full credit to him for not lumbering it with rear privacy glass and a string of LED DRLs on the front. Too many 'modifiers' seem to think these are essential elements to update the looks, but in reality they just make a vehicle like the Defender look ridiculous.

20 March 2015
I think its nice especially that interior not going with the full leather, but going with half leather and half cloth from what I can tell.

20 March 2015
"He explained "I wanted to give this Defender a feeling of luxury"

As far as the interior of a Defender is concerned, the words 'turd' and 'can't polish' come to mind.


I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

20 March 2015
I won't consider any vehicle unless it's been 'designed' by Victoria Beckham.

22 March 2015
I trust your comment is tongue in cheek scotty. I can't see too many people believing the PR guff about about Beckham having a role in the design of the Evoque, maybe some purchased it in the hope that a pair of her nickers were left in the glove compartment!

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

21 March 2015
As every man knows, there are only 8 colours, and its a challenge to name all eight. Do we have a case to challenge the claim that there are 27 colours here, as clearly there are not that many colours in the visible light spectrum.

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