Land Rover unveils unique Paul Smith model

  • AFP
  • Updated: Mar 25, 2015 12:13 IST

To mark the iconic off-roader's final year of production, Land Rover has turned to the British fashion designer and given him a 2015 Defender, carte blanche in terms of styling, and full access to the company's new Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division in order to build something truly unique.

The result, which can now be seen in the flesh at Smith's Mayfair shop, features 27 exterior colors plus hand-painted exterior detailing, while the interior is a mix of fabric and leather.

"The Defender is a British icon, which is something I'm exceptionally proud of," said Smith of the project. "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 says that his design and the final color palette were inspired by the British countryside and by the British armed forces, the Defender's two natural habitats: "I wanted deep rich colours, but at the same time, I wanted them to work together yet be surprising."

For instance, there is a hand-painted bee motif on the roof: "Another little tongue-in-cheek reference to the countryside and the heritage of the car," says Smith; while inside, an image of a keyring and coins is printed inside the glove compartment.

But as well as visual quirks, the cabin is a huge step up in terms of comfort from a standard Land Rover: "This is a complete one-off; I wanted to give this Defender a feeling of luxury," explains Smith of his cabin choices.

So black leather with contrasting blue stitching adorns the seats and contrasts with the striped fabric panels. Black leather has also been used to cover much of the usually utilitarian dashboard and as a final touch; the normal clock has also been swapped out in favor of one with a Paul Smith facia.

The Land Rover has been in continuous production since 1948 and over that time, the technology that underpins its off-roading supremacy has been through several evolutions but outside, the car's look has hardly changed in 67 years.

However, all of that is set to change when the Land Rover is retired at the end of 2015 to make way for a new off-roader that can meet the latest crash test safety and emissions legislation. The Paul Smith Land Rover is the latest in a series of special models and events that the company has organized to mark the iconic SUV's final production year.

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