Would Land Rover have escaped a savaging if its Defender concept (the DC100) had looked more like the Ford Bronco concept from 2004?

Back in 2004 Ford took the wraps off its Bronco Concept. Despite plenty of speculation by media outlets at the time the Bronco remained a design study only, indeed the 2016 Ford Bronco is almost certain to look nothing like the concept from 2004.

Ford Bronco Concept 2004

But it gave me an idea… and stay with me.

News in the last fortnight suggests that Land Rover has settled on the look of the new Defender and that it’ll look nothing like the DC100 it trundled out at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Indeed, Jaguar Land Rover design boss, Gerry McGovern, was quoted saying the DC100 was too “generic” and that the new Defender will be more sophisticated looking but with nods to the vehicle’s heritage.

“The traditionalists might not like it,” Jaguar Land Rover design boss, Gerry McGovern, has said.

Well, the traditionalists didn’t like the DC100. Indeed, the traditionalists probably won’t like anything Land Rover puts forward as a replacement for the Defender, bar the current vehicle having everything under the skin re-worked to meet European emissions and safety standards.

Land Rover Defender Concept - mock-up

That ain’t going to happen, we know that (there’s a slight chance Land Rover might show a thinly disguised Defender concept at one of the major motor shows in the next few months).

So, I was wondering what the traditionalists would have made of a Land Rover Defender version of the 2004 Ford Bronco concept? Well, I for one reckon there wouldn’t have been anything like the backlash the company copped when the DC100 was revealed, or is that just me?

And, we don’t have to imagine what such a thing might have looked like either. See, in 2009 automotive manipulator, Theophilus Chin, tweaked the Bronco concept from 2004, adding a Land Rover-esque grille and badge while also playing with the A-pillar. Granted, there’s no spare wheel on the tail-gate, which JLR’s McGovern has suggested might make a return for the all-new Defender, but it isn’t quite as extreme as the DC100.

Land Rover Defender Concept - mock-up

Sure, the mocked-up vehicle is clearly a concept, but as a concept to ease the traditionalists into accepting change I think it does a great job, and it’s certainly more suited to the Land Rover brand than it is to Ford. Or is that just me?

Actually, let me know what you think: If Land Rover revealed this mock-up as the new Defender for 2016 would you be disappointed?


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      1. This looks like the Ford Bronco that never made it to production . Look closer and you will find a lot of Land Rover in the Ford Ranger and visa versa . If the Rangers wheel base can be shortened and 2 door body and the canopy to top it off , I think it will be a good Bronco replacement , a bit smaller than the old but fitted with SD V6 & V8 engines used by Land Rover as they are now making there own , witch will give the engines longer live span . Maybe slap a more aggressive nose and more pronounced fenders on , and you will have a hell of a nice Bronco .Take excising and make some changes at the fraction of the cost to develop a totally new one

        1. Absolutely Fred. And you’re right, it is the old Bronco concept, but it would have made a more Defender-esque Defender than Ford Bronco, don’t you think?
          With Ford’s focus on the F-150 at the moment, I doubt we’ll see a new Bronco… maybe we should forward your ides, though. Cheers Isaac.

          1. Forward it ok. maybe some one will take note.

            Subject: Re: Comment on Land Rover Defender concept – what might have been…

  1. Who cares what it looks like, just please don’t make it like a discovery with independent suspension and underneath plastic protectors every where. Had one and when you travelled at speed on gravel roads it dragged its diff on the winrow of gravel in the centre of the road and all the plastic come off within 5000kms. Live axle please, please, and all metal fixtures underneath. Oh and move the bloody hand brake too, if you did that the current defender would be OK.

      1. Thanks Isaac, have just bought two of the last shipment of current defenders into Aus. Plan is to replace them in four years if the new model is any good, if not will have to keep them going I suppose.

  2. I’m currently driving my 6th Land Rover. From a classic Rangie, through 2 V8 Discos, an ’02 Defender 110 Wagon, a Disco 3 (my son has claimed it) and now a 2011 dual cab 110. Every one of these vehicles worked pretty hard, were/are serviced regularly, towed heavy stuff frequently and for long distances and were reliable. I can drive the Defender on a 12hr run and arrive alert, without soreness because it rides well, handles well, brakes well and can sit on 120kph all day. It spent its first year in the central desert and towed an off-road caravan up and down the Great Central Road many times, loaded to the hilt with supplies and never hinted at a problem. My fear is that non-Defender owners don’t understand the concept of them. They are like an artist’s blank canvas. You start with the base and build what you want into it. Mine still looks almost new after 4 years and I’ve built into it the things I want, mostly self-installed. I can’t imagine the replacement offering the same versatility. Sure, the new one may have the tricky electronic features of its brothers and may have advanced capabilities like the Rangie and Discovery BUT those vehicles already offer those features. The Defender has unique abilities that the carpet and leather ones don’t. The ADF has already quit Land Rovers for this reason. Mercedes had a similar concept with the GW and managed to keep the technology up to date in the same body over the years. I feel that we are in for a re-skinned Disco, just as the Discos 1 & 2 were re-skinned Rangie Classics. Defender was never intended to be an urban shopping basket, as most 4x4s are now. Please maintain the integrity of its name.

    1. Thanks for that, Tezza. Not sure there’s another vehicle out there that owners love more than the Defender. The things have their faults but every time I drive one I can’t help but think, and here’s a soppiness alert, that a Defender is just about as pure as motoring gets…

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