Land Rover Defender tyres
What for years had been just the ‘Land Rover’ became the Defender when Rover launched the Discovery in 1990. It comes from a different age in terms of design, use and aspiration. Like Mary Quant’s miniskirts, the London Underground map and the red telephone box, it has come to be regarded as an example of classic twentieth-Century British design. Like those other enduring form of transport, the Intercity 125 train, the Mini and the Routemaster bus, the Land Rover comes from a time when designers wore cardigans, smoked pipes and made things to last, not to fit an accountant’s spreadsheet.
At seventy years of age, the Land Rover has seen no end of cars from Rover or British Leyland make their way from the drawing board to the scrapyard in the sky. However, it is estimated that three-quarters of the 2 million Defenders ever built are still in active service and regular use.
The Defender is as capable as it is unrefined. It can tilt sideways at 30 degrees, wade through water and even climb stairs. It will drive over any bumps but it may well jar your spine as it does so. If driving one far, you know you’ll get there but the experience can be like a trip to the gym, leaving you with aching arms, legs and head. But to criticise it for all that is to miss the point. It was invented as a stopgap when Rover was forbidden to make over 1,100 cars per year due to steel rationing. Its chief engineer Maurice Wilks, undoubtedly a cardigan and pipe man, had an ex-US Army Jeep on his farm. He suggested making something similar until Rover could resume normal production levels. It went into production as a £450 piece of farm machinery, becoming the first mass-produced civilian 4×4 and has been with us ever since.
Never mind the fact that computers hadn’t been invented when the Defender was born. Most people reading this hadn’t, either. Yet polar pioneers, desert explorers, the British Army and indeed Lara Croft still wouldn’t choose anything else. Enough said.
Tyre choice for the Defender will be influenced primarily by the amount and type of off-road driving you expect from it. Various General Tire Company and B F Goodrich tyres have proved popular choices with etyres customers. These lack nothing for heritage, coming from manufacturers with long histories of tough products built to last. Both ranges are available in a wide range of versions to suit different proportions of on-road and off-road use. Additionally, specialist versions of each have been made to ensure maximum traction on sandy, muddy or gravelly surfaces. Needless to say, each is made for the long term, rather like the Defender itself.