It was 70 years ago that 'Hard Top' was first used as a Land Rover designation, back when the early Series cars were given demountable hardtops to protect them from bad weather and scallywags. Having been used on and off since 1950, 'Hard Top' is now back as a permanent fixture in the Land Rover range, specifically referring to the new commercial Defenders.
Defenders for business have been, um, big business for a while, so it's little surprise to see them back in the range relatively soon after launch (indeed, they were previewed at the new Defender's unveiling). They were used by the army and utility companies for ages, but then became trendy - so every dog groomer, artisan baker and florist soon had to have a Defender as well. Expect this new Hard Top to prove just as popular - you don't need us to tell you how good that 'Wilks Bros' creation looks...
Ostensibly, the 'Hard Top' is a Defender 90 or 110 kitted out for commercial use. So, it has either two seats up front or three (with a central jump seat optional), a ClearSight rear mirror for when the seat is occupied (or the load space is full), a 3,500kg towing capacity and a "unique combination of cargo space, practicality and comfort."
Essentially, everything that's gone into making the regular Defender a resounding success is in the Hard Top models - except a few seats. Same D7x architecture, same 900mm wading depth and same Pivi Pro infotainment with software-over-the-air capability. There's just more space in the back for wedding cakes now. Or hay bales. Whatever commercial activities are required of it.
While Land Rover has confirmed that both Defender 90 and 110 will be available to business customers, the Hard Top hasn't officially launched yet. We've been told to expect that later this year, when full technical specifications and prices will be announced, although an indicative cost of £35,500 plus VAT has been suggested already. All of which means there's plenty of time to be thinking about how best to get the business advertised on the Hard Top, and just whether all of the peace lilies can really fit in the back of a 90. More details soon!
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