Remember, Ineos CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe wanted to buy Land Rover’s tooling for the old Defender when the legendary 70-year-old do-it-all truck ceased production in 2016, but Land Rover turned Ratcliffe down. So as you do, Ratcliffe formed Ineos Automotive, put Dirk Hellman in charge, and tasked the division with creating “the world’s best 4×4.” Based on the teaser images Ineos uploaded to its Facebook page, perhaps exterior designers never curtailed their tender gazes at photos of old Defenders parked in turnip fields and Timbuktu. The Grenadier’s front left corner shows off a raised hood that tapers from cowl to grille, and embossed logo on the side, a fender given just a touch of dimensional volume, a flared wheel arch, and exposed hinges on the windshield.
What’s more, spy shots of the truck reveal a silhouette with at least half its genome derived from a T-square, broken only by minimal rake to the windshield. In front, two round headlights and two smaller round fog lights frame a three-bar grille above a bumper that looks borrowed from a G-Class. None of this is a problem, as it looks like a certain healthy portion of old Defender faithful could get the “no-frills, utilitarian working tool that is capable, durable and reliable” that they wanted. The only hiccup to that might be the 3.0-liter BMW gasoline and diesel engines that slot under the hood; emissions requirements need modern solutions, but expensive, fancy components don’t go well with home wrenching on the back 40 or emergency service in Bolivia.
The reveal happens online tomorrow, and we’ll really know what we’re in for. Come production time, final assembly will commence at a greenfield site in Bridgend, Wales, near Ford’s soon-to-close engine assembly plant, using body and chassis sub-assemblies manufactured in a plant in Portugal. Deliveries are penciled in for the middle of next year.