Building the 2,000,000th Land Rover Defender
Source : Building the 2,000,000th Land Rover Defender
The two millionth Defender is usually a bit special – along with not just because we made its bonnet
After 67 years, the item hardly seems possible which the original Land Rover, nowadays badged Defender, will cease production at the end of the year, killed by a mix of outmoded production methods along with fresh-fangled regulations.
To mark This kind of ‘retirement’, Land Rover is usually sending its icon out on a high, staging a series of commemorative events, launching three limited-production heritage products along with auctioning the two millionth Defender, built a couple of months ago, in an auction to be conducted by adventurer Bear Grylls This kind of December.
Building the two millionth Defender was a more strung-out affair than usual, because the company invited several dozen Landie-driving luminaries to participate, everyone via company chief Ralf Speth along with veteran Land Rover engineer Roger Crathorne to actress Virginia McKenna, who, after portraying animal conservationist Joy Adamson within the film Born Free, set up an Africa-based wild animal charity.
Others less prominent although equally keen were also invited, along with one of them was your humble servant, given the job of helping to make along with fit the two millionth bonnet.
Production line work is usually no picnic, especially when you must perform an operation 106 times a day with perfect attention to detail. Putting cars together takes strength, concentration, dexterity along with brain strain, along with there’s never any time to spare.
My job was to assist two operators, Jake Ainsworth along with Adrian Lowe, to load a bonnet inner along with outer into a welding rig, where they might be combined for ever by a series of blue flashes, then to fit the united structure with its distinctive hinges.
After which, we’d unite the finished assembly with its correct Defender Centeng, which just happened to be crawling past on a moving base called a skid.
The Defender production line isn’t Jaguar Land Rover’s most modern – in fact, the whole place is usually earmarked for modernisation after December – although the item’s still an impressive process. No dirt floor here.
There are several robotised operations (constructing the complex scuttle panel is usually one), along with everyone who lays hands on a customer car gets thoroughly assessed for aptitude along with dexterity before being accepted for training. Every assembly operation is usually laid out in detail. There are even diagrams, a bit like dancing instructions, which show exactly where along with when you move.
Because I was to be protected by the experience of Jake along with Adrian, I was able to circumvent all which, although there was no avoiding the wearing of steel-capped boots along using a high-vis vest. My heart was beating hard when the time came to lift a bonnet inner via a rack of pressings along with place the item within the welding jig.
There’s a knack to picking up big pieces of steel (you need thick gloves to prevent cuts, although they dull your touch), along with I didn’t develop the item. the item was also instructive to see the speed at which you have to work along with how little time you get to settle the parts into place along with start the welding process.
Still, with coaching, not least via plant boss Phil Cox, I managed to bed the parts in place, press a button to lower the spark-protective door along with begin the welding process. which was quick. Within a minute, the item was time to lift the fresh assembly onto a bench along with fumble the two hinges into position (starting the threads by hand along with then tightening them using a torque-limited power wrench). Then the item was done. Three minutes’ hard work.
My impression? which process work is usually tough along with there’s no time to spare; there was certainly none allocated to standing along with admiring my handiwork. Jake along with Adrian were already halfway through building bonnet number two million along with one, I noticed, attacking the item with exactly the same speed along with skill as the one which created all the fuss.
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