Land Rover History
by Faye Duncan
Over the years, Land Rover has developed from a practical four-wheel drive to a luxurious and stylish range. The commitment to the brand and the developments over the years transformed Land Rover from a being just a car, to a British icon.
To celebrate the manufacturer’s achievements, we’ve collated some fun facts and key moments throughout Land Rover’s history.
When was Land Rover founded?
Land Rover has been an iconic British car brand since 1948. On 30th April 2018, the firm will celebrate its 70th anniversary. It all began with a sketch in the sand on Red Wharf Bay in Wales, by Rover’s Technical Director, Maurice Wilks, which took the shape of the original Land Rover. From then to this day, the luxury fleet has been a popular choice for those who desire a premium SUV.
Fun facts about Land Rover
- The Land Rover Company didn’t always build the range. They were first created by Rover and the Land Rover company wasn’t founded until 30 years later.
- The first model had the steering wheel in the middle.
- In the fifties, there was the option to order a Land Rover with tank treads. This was invented by a Scotsman to enable the SUV to trek over the Highlands.
- Land Rover created the first monster truck.
- Prototypes were kept a secret. They were called Velar, which derived from the Italian word ‘velare’, meaning to veil or cover. The first 26 prototypes were even fitted with a badge of the same name to disguise its identity.
- The Land Rover Series and Defender were only given their names in the 1990’s.
Key moments in Land Rover’s History
1948 – Land Rover launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show.
1949 – The first models were exported to the USA.
1951 – The brand was granted Royal Warranty by King George VI.
1957 – Land Rover introduced 2.0-litre diesel engines into the range.
1959 – The 250,000th model left the assembly line.
1967 – The Rover Company merged with truck manufacturer Leyland.
1970 – A new model launched, which became the flagship model for the brand, the Range Rover. It was the first car to have a permanent 4-wheel drive and was awarded a gold medal for its coachwork and the Don Safety trophy for its latest safety technology.
1971 – An outstanding year for Land Rover. A milestone was reached with 750,000 models produced, the Range Rover won the RAC Dewar award, the Series III launched and there was a great car journey through Alaska.
1976 – The one-millionth model was produced.
1978 – Land Rover Limited became a separate operating company under independent management.
1981 – The first 4-door Range Rover became available.
1988 – The Rover Group was sold to British Aerospace (Bae).
1993 – The Defender 110 received a facelift, which allowed the installation of driver and passenger airbags.
1994 – The Rover Group was acquired by BMW.
2000 – Land Rover was sold to Ford Motor Company.
2003 – Land Rover was named ‘The Greatest Car of all Time’ by viewers of Top Gear.
2006 – The first Land Rover diesel and electric hybrid were revealed at the Geneva Motor Show.
2008 – The 60th anniversary was celebrated with a limited edition version of the Defender and Land Rover was sold to Tata Motors for a reported $2.3-billion.
2011 – The popular Range Rover Evoque was produced and became ‘Car of the Year’ by numerous outlets.
Have you ever owned a Land Rover or is it time to sell your old car and upgrade to a Land Rover? Find out how much your car could be worth and treat yourself to an iconic British car.
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