The Land Rover is steeped in history. Here we take a look back at where the iconic Land Rover first began.
Land Rover Series 1
The first Land Rover, now known as the Series 1, went into production in 1948. It was the creation of Maurice Wilks, the Head Designer for the Rover Car Company, where his brother, Spencer Wilks, was the Managing Director. Together the brothers helped make automotive history by bringing an alternative four-wheel-drive vehicle to the original Willys Jeep, which became the vehicle of choice for the military and farmers around the world.
The early model Land Rover Series 1 was simple in style, painted with surplus military green aircraft paint and had the steering wheel in the middle to make it more ‘tractor-like’ to use around the farm. The Series 1 had a steel box-section chassis and aluminium bodywork that Maurice Wilks designed to get around the lack of steel post-war. But it became an asset as it was also lightweight and rust-resistant and remains a feature of all Land Rover vehicles today.
Land Rover Series 2
In 1958, a decade after the original Land Rover went into production, the Land Rover Series 2 model was launched. The Land Rover Series 2 came with a vast list of updates, most noticeably to the styling with the new ‘rounded shoulders’, that later became one of Land Rover’s design hallmarks. Modesty sills were also added to conceal the chassis to give the vehicle a more finished look, with a larger rear window for better visibility. Both the petrol and diesel engines were upgraded to 2286cc on the Land Rover Series 2 and the vehicle came in two wheel-base variations, 88-inch short wheel-base (SWB) and 109-inch long-wheel base (LWB).
Land Rover Series 2 A
In 1961, the Land Rover Series 2 A was released bringing some minor cosmetic changes and the introduction of different body configurations that included a soft-top 88” short-wheel base and the 109” five-door station wagon. In 1969, the sill panels were redesigned to be shallower and the headlamps were repositioned to comply with new British lighting regulations and the export market.
Land Rover Series 3
In 1971, the Land Rover Series 3 launched. Not hugely different to the Land Rover Series 2 A, the Series 3 sported a new moulded plastic front grille and a modified interior, with the option to upgrade the interior trims and add fresh-air heaters. Today the Land Rover Series 3 is by far the most popular of the Series models.
Land Rover Series 3 Stage One V8
The final of the Land Rover Series models saw the introduction of the Land Rover Series 3 Stage One V8, in 1979. This model was mostly produced for exports as the UK had no desire for the larger engine at the time.
5 Facts about Land Rovers early years
- The first Land Rover to be registered was in 1948, for the Amsterdam Motor Show.
- In 1949, the British Army placed their first order for 1,878 Land Rovers.
- The design project for the Land Rover Series 2 took only 6 weeks.
- The ‘Forward Control’ to create a longer load-bed was first introduced in 1962.
- The millionth Land Rover to come off the production line was an 88-inch Station Wagon in 1976.