Did you know that Land Rover started as the British version of the Jeep and that they were owned by BMW for a while? And the first Land Rover had the steering wheel in the middle? Or that tank treads used to be a factory option?
So let’s see what you know…
- Land Rovers have been built since 1948. They are the second oldest four-wheel drive company, after Jeep. They were made by Rover and Land Rover wasn’t founded until 1978.
- The Land Rover was modelled on the WW11-era Jeep because the designer had used one on his farm in Wales. He tried to make it tractor-like so put the steering wheel in the middle. This way he could capture the left and right-hand drive market.
- Land Rover sponsored students from Oxford and Cambridge to drive across continents! How cool is that? Places like Singapore and the Sahara, “ for the sake of learning”!
- You could order a Land Rover with tank treads in the ’50s from the Rover Factory. The series 11 Cuthbertson was invented by a Scotsman who worked out that treads would help the SUV to trek across the highlands without sinking in the spongy ground! The story goes that is was a stunt meant to embarrass the English, who weren’t clever enough to come up with the idea themselves – It became a factory option.
- In the 1950s, the British Forestry Commission demanded that someone create a road going vehicle that could tackle even the deepest mud puddles. Land Rover happily came up with an option by bolting on four tractor tyres and some beefy axles from a Studebaker to a Series IIA, thereby giving birth to the first monster truck.
- Land Rover dominated the Camel Trophy, which included treks across countries such as Siberia, the Amazon, Tierra del Fuego, and the Australian Outback. Most of the vehicles were stock, with the exception of the epic inflatable boat.
- The Range Rover was designed in the 1950s, however, Range Rover didn’t exist until the 1970s. It was called the Road Rover and was based on a car platform, about five decades ahead of today’s crossover SUVs.
- Land Rover hated paying taxes and went to great lengths to make sure their buyers didn’t have to either. The Defender 110 could technically fit up to 12 people, so it qualified as a “bus” by the taxman’s standards. This allowed them to be exempt from the brutal tax system on passenger vehicles. This also meant you could use bus lanes and dodge all the London traffic – how cool is that?
- Land Rover made floating SUVs because as we know you’ve gotta really trust your floatation vehicle if you are going to float your SUV down a river?
And finally No. 10
The first 25 pre-production Range Rover was actually called ‘Velars’. This was done to confuse the general public so they wouldn’t speculate about Range Rover.
How much did you know about the history of Land Rover? Let us know by leaving a comment below