Hubert Burda Media

World debut of the 1971 Land Rover Defender

The Keith Haring-designed car will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Going to Los Angeles this year? If you’re a car lover, you’ll want to include a visit to the Petersen Automotive Museum in your itinerary. And here’s why.

The museum has temporarily acquired the 1971 Land Rover Defender in its world debut. And what’s special is that this specific unit has been painted on in 1983 by the late New York graffiti and visual artist Keith Haring. Contrasting beautifully with the Defender’s utilitarian shape, this specific unit features whimsical art over olive drab paint.

An icon in its own right, the off-roader was first conceived by the Rover Company in 1947. Renowned around the world for being a military vehicle first, the Series I went into production in 1948, evolving over the years into the Series II with more power and a refined interior in 1971, which is the model that Haring worked his artistic magic on. It was in 2015 that the British marque ended the production of this beloved four-by-four.

Born out of the New York street art movement in the early 1980s, Keith Haring’s work has been recognised through his use of primitive shapes and colours to express various themes, including birth, death, sexuality and war. “Keith Haring had such a unique and recognisable style, one that has become beloved by countless people around the world,” says Petersen Chief Marketing Officer Adam Langsbard. “He used his art to speak for people who didn’t have a voice.”

This unique Land Rover will be unveiled at the museum in an exclusive party on July 28 and will be on display in the lobby of the Petersen until the end of the year.

Fans of the now-discontinued Defender, it’s time to pay your tribute.

The Petersen Automotive Museum is at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles and opens daily from 10am to 6pm.