How did the first Land Rover come about?

Believe it or not the first Land Rover was born on the beach at Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey when Maurice Wilks, engineering director of the British motor company Rover drew his first design in the sand.

From the beginning, Land Rover’s ambition to create a vehicle that could tackle any terrain has earned the brand respect around the world. The first vehicle rolled off the production line in 1948, HUE 166 we all know and love as Huey since then the family has grown into a range of vehicles that sell in record numbers.

When launched on Friday 30 April 1948 at Amsterdam Motor Show, known simply as “The Land Rover” Enthusiasm was displayed in all quarters and was quickly followed by very serious interest and the order books quickly over-flowed. The new vehicle could be used as a car, but also as a power source and even small tractor. It had excellent off-road abilities – perfect for the farmer.

The severe shortage of steel, meant the body panels had to be made of aluminum – a distinctive feature that would be repeated in many later Land Rover products. Early prototypes used the 1.4l Rover 10 engine, but this quickly demonstrated a lack of power; and a new high torque 1.6 litre engine was fitted. The gearbox was fitted with a transfer case and four wheel drive unit, as well as the ability for a variety of power take-offs to be fitted.

Uk price in 1948 was £450 yes you read that right £450. Target was to sell 5000 vehicles in the first year but 8000 were sold due to its success.

1954 saw the next mile stone for Land Rover when the 100,000th vehicle was built. Also that year saw the first long wheel base (LWB) model 107 inch with a 4 door station wagon body.

1956 saw the London to Singapore expedition which at the time was considered the unconquered Everest of Motoring. 6 months later saw the two series one’s roll into Singapore.

By the tenth anniversary of Land Rover and the launch of the Series two 200,000 series one models had been built.


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