Ministers are being urged to consider holding a national day of mourning, as the country comes to terms with the end of the Land Rover Defender.
In a separate move, there are calls to make 29 January a national holiday, with the country witnessing an outpouring of grief, not seen since the death of Ethel’s ‘little Willy’ in EastEnders. Britons are expected to climb every mountain and ford every stream in an attempt to mark the passing of a much-loved icon.
Today, the final Land Rover Defender will roll off the line in Solihull, bringing to an end 68 years of production. The first Land Rover was built in 1948 and it’s estimated that over two-thirds of the two million sold are still on the road.
It’s a remarkable innings for what some people consider to be the last of the old-school 4x4s, choosing to forget the likes of the Suzuki Jimny, Lada Niva and Toyota Land Cruiser J70.
But unlike those ‘Johnny Foreigners’, the Land Rover Defender has developed near national treasure status, placing it alongside the likes of Bruce Forsyth, Judi Dench, Dale Winton, the bespectacled chap in Pointless and anyone who has ever won a reality TV programme.
The BBC is being called to devote significant airtime to the legend, but without Top Gear, it doesn’t have a ready-made platform for such a piece. One thought is to ask petrolhead-for-month Dermot O’Leary to ‘do something suitable’ at the end of The Getaway Car, otherwise known as Total Automotive Wipeout.
But insiders are said to be concerned that colourful Stigs and South African Volkswagen Citi Golfs do not provide a suitable backdrop for what would almost certainly be a tear-jerking feature. Instead, look out for a BBC Three ‘special’, in which celebrities you’ve never heard of wax lyrical about a car they’ve never driven. That said, we understand Paul Ross was once overtaken by a 110, so he’s likely to be rolled in for the occasion.
Not everybody is sad to see the demise of the much-loved Defender. The British Association for Chiropractors in the Kingdom (BACK) is urging practitioners to ‘bend over backwards’ to source additional revenue streams, with some experts predicting a 14% fall in the number of motorists suffering from a bad back. Similarly, the Royal Society for the Protection of the Right Elbow (RSPRE) is said to be delighted that the ‘hateful thing’ is on the way out, claiming elbows across the land can look forward to greater freedom and protection against injuries.
Meanwhile, Transport for London is warning motorists to expect long delays in the capital as one of the final Land Rovers is taken to its final resting place in Westminster Abbey. The Defender is expected to sit alongside Land Rover fan, Sir Winston Churchill, and it’s the first time an inanimate object has been given such a burial.
Goodbye, Land Rover Defender. In the end, the only thing that could stop you is the passing of time and the endless pursuit of progress. Look on the bright side, now we can all hang our hats of British pride on the Bentley Bentayga…