Land Rover has an interesting and exciting history. Did you know that they were owned by BMW for a period? Or that they originated as the British version of the Jeep? We’re just getting started on all the interesting facts about Land Rovers!
Modeled after World War II-era Jeeps and built on a Jeep chassis, the first Land Rover was designed in 1947 to be simple like farm equipment. That’s why the designer, Maurice Wilks, and his brother Spencer chose to place the steering wheel in the middle. It also meant they didn’t have to deal with the mess of building two versions of the car — a right-hand drive and left-hand drive for different markets.
Land Rover vehicles existed 30 years before there was a company. They were products of the Rover Company, which was absorbed into Leyland Motor Corporation in 1967. After continued success of the Land Rover series models and the Range Rover in the 1970s, Land Rover as a company was formed in 1978. In 1994, the Rover Group that had been moved to the ownership of the British Aerospace was acquired by BMW. In 2000, it was broken up and sold to Ford Motor Company.
Land Rover sponsored college students from Oxford and Cambridge to drive across continents to places like Singapore and the Sahara in their Far Eastern Expeditions. It was supposed to help students learn, but it was more of a publicity effort for their Series I Station Wagons.
The 1958 Series II Cuthbertson was invented by a Scotsman who thought that treads in place of wheels would give the vehicle better ability to cross spongy Highland hills. It was actually a factory option.
Muddy terrain made life hard for the British Forestry Commission. In the 1950s, they challenged someone to create a vehicle that could navigate the deepest mud puddles without getting stuck. Not surprisingly, Land Rover stepped up to the plate with a Series IIA with four tractor tires and strong axles from a Studebaker.
The Range Rover of the 1970s actually existed much sooner. In the 1950s, the Road Rover was decades ahead of the crossover SUV trend. The first Range Rover was produced exactly like the 1966 prototype and it was a piece of art. It was revered as a masterpiece of industrial design and placed in the Louvre in Paris.
If you drive a Land Rover, you need someone who understands its unique power and performance. Dave’s Ultimate Automotive in South Austin, Texas offers specialized Land Rover service!