THE Land Rover Defender may be entering its final few days of production but there are still plenty of ifs, buts and maybes as regards its eventual future.
Land Rover has suggested its ultimate go-anywhere workhorse could still be built elsewhere in the world to be supplied into niche markets and places where emissions and safety regulations are less stringent.
Alternatively it could be produced by other manufacturers in other countries under licence.
This would be nothing new for Land Rover - the Defender and its predecessors have been assembled in all sorts of far-flung locations - including Iran.
Whatever the case, there's no doubting the widespread sadness surrounding its demise.
The Defender - which can trace its lineage right back to the original Land Rover of 1948 - has a diehard following.
There are clubs, magazines, events and even social media groups dedicated to it.
The word icon is bandied around all too frequently but it's fair to say the Defender is an automotive one.
It regularly features in polls for the best/most loved cars ever made and is often said to be the most recognised vehicle in the world.
In some remote parts of the globe it's the only car some people have ever seen.
The fact production is drawing to a close was fairly inevitable.
A vehicle whose basic design blueprint has altered little since 1948 was always going to fall foul of ever more stringent regulations at some point.
Put simply the Defender cannot survive in the modern automotive landscape. Its ‘old-fashiondness' might be one of its strengths but it also means there are severe limitations when it comes to conforming to both emissions and safety rules.
If you've never driven a Defender it's certainly an experience to get behind the wheel - though it's one that might not be to all tastes.
Given the creature comforts and the technology to make driving easier that we now all take for granted in even the most basic car, it's worth pointing out the Defender has few of those.
It's basic and agricultural - three-point turns and other similar manoeuvres can be challenging and in busy traffic stressful.
However, at the same time there's something wonderfully exhilarating and liberating about driving one.
Yes, it's like stepping back in time but there's also a simple joyous element to that which has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
Of course the current Defender is far more technically advanced than a Series I Land Rover - I know because I've driven one.
As a road car it's unusual and an acquired taste. Even by SUV standards the driving position is high and you almost have to climb up into the cabin.
This Adventure model has quite a few added extras such as leather seats and even air conditioning, as well as an engine upgrade which delivers more power - a noticeable bonus when making progress on-road. There are also lots of added fixtures and fittings designed for adventurous off-roading.
Should you be contemplating using a Defender for its intended purpose - driving off-road - you start to appreciate it in a different way.
Hard as it might be to believe, this dinosaur of the motoring world is still one of the most consummate and capable off-road vehicles there is.
I've driven many of Land Rover's more modern vehicles in extreme settings, including the snow and ice of Iceland, and though they also excel off-road - when they get stuck it's a Defender that comes to the rescue.