10 Amazing Facts You Didn't Know About Land Rover
10 Land Rover Fun Facts and Amazing Things You Didn't Know About Land Rover
Land Rover is one of the most successful car manufacturers in the world, here are 10 Land Rover facts gained since the first the first Land Rover rolled off the production line over 70 years ago.
Over those years Land Rover have become an icon of British manufacturing. Those 70 years have also given us plenty to think about and interesting stories to tell. As one of the UK’s leading Land Rover Specialists in the South of England we thought it high time we paid tribute to some of those interesting tit bits. Read on to be able to impress your friends at the next pub quiz.
1. Land Rovers Have A Long History
Land Rover Fact 1: Land Rovers have been around since 1948, but have only been made by Land Rover since 1978, previously they were built by Rover! The original Series 1 Land Rover was the brain child of brothers Maurice and Spencer Wilks and took it’s inspiration from the WW2 Willys Jeep, making the Land Rover the second oldest four-wheel drive vehicles in history after the Willys Jeep. It was initially designed as a light truck that had cross country ability. The first Land Rover was officially presented in 1948, at the Amsterdam Motor Show, and as steel was in short supply its body was constructed of aluminium.
2. The First Land Rover Had The Steering Wheel In The Middle.
Land Rover Fact 2: To keep things simple on this new utilitarian vehicle, the Wilks brothers decided to put the steering wheel in the middle. It’s debatable to think they did this to avoid building two different versions of the car for left and right hand drive markets, as some believe. But it did make the vehicle more universal.
3. Land Rover Makes Tracks
Land Rover Fact 3: The boggy ground of the Scottish Highlands was no obstacle for early Land Rovers. In the 1950’s Scotsman James A Cuthbertson put his name to a Land Rover he designed with tank tracks fitted instead of wheels. Because of these tracks the Cuthbertson Land Rover was able to go further in adverse conditions, over more boggy ground than any other Land Rover model that preceded it. The Cuthbertson version eventually became a factory option by the late 1950s.
4. Think The Americans Invented The Monster Truck? Wrong!
Land Rover Fact 4: Another option out of the Land Rover Factory in the 50’s was a Monster Truck. Following a directive by the Forestry Commission to supply a vehicle that could both be driven on the road and tackle the deepest muddy puddle, Land Rover obliged. They added some beefed-up axels from a Studebaker and four tractor tyres to a Series 2a giving us the first true Monster Truck.
5. There’s More To Land Rover Than You Think.
Land Rover Fact 5: Over the years Land Rover have risen to many challenges and demands. They produced their Defender 110 to accommodate 12 people, thus qualifying it as a ‘bus’, which had beneficial tax advantages. They produced a range of military vehicles that gained popularity around the world for their reliability and versatility. Land Rover even produced a military vehicle to put the infamous ‘Humvee’ to shame, the 101 Forward Control was built to tow the Howitzer Cannon. Land Rover even experimented with a floating Defender 90, complete with a dedicated propeller at the back, a rudder to steer and a snorkel to prevent its diesel engine from drowning.
6. The Range Rover Is Born
Land Rover Fact 6: In 1970 Rover introduced a new vehicle to its range. Rover wanted a vehicle that not only was 4-wheel-drive, but also comfortable and could be used as a family car. The Range Rover was their answer. Interestingly, although first conceived in 1966, its original design from prototype to production model never changed. Its design was considered cutting edge and that it was good enough to get the Range Rover displayed in the Louvre as a masterpiece of industrial design. To keep the public guessing as to what was in the pipeline, and what it would be eventually called, the pre-production units were dubbed ‘Velar’.
7. Land Rover Have Been Winning For Decades.
Land Rover Fact 7: It makes sense that if you make off-road vehicles, you should showcase their ability. Land Rover have been doing just that since the very first Paris - Dakar Rally in 1979, you guessed it winning in a Range Rover being driven by an all French team. Land Rover also played their part in the Camel Trophy between 1980 and 2000. The Camel Trophy’s an annual vehicle-oriented competition. It was best known for its use of Land Rover vehicles over challenging terrain. This motor-sport event has been called “the Olympics of 4×4”, and was all about adventure and exploration. Throughout those 20 years, the event visited, amongst others, Amazon, Sumatra, Zaire, Brazil, Borneo, Australia, Madagascar. During those 20 years of competition, all of the Land Rover vehicle range were used, including Range Rovers, Series III, Defenders, Discoveries and Freelanders.
8. Land Rover's Turbulent Past
Land Rover Fact 8: Land Rover’s not always been the company that we know today, in-fact, its had a turbulent past. The Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles weren't always part of the same company. When BMW bought the Rover group in 1994, they split Land Rover from Rover. They then sold Land Rover to Ford in 2000. They remained different companies until Ford also bought Range Rover in 2006. Now they’re both part of Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by Tata motors, maker of the world’s cheapest, and possibly worst vehicles. Do you remember the TATA pickup trucks of the late 80’s?
9. Introducing The Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Fact 9: The Land Rover Discovery, presented at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor-Show, was designed upon a Range Rover chassis, but has a less expensive body. The Discovery was aimed squarely at the emerging all-wheel-drive family car market. Judging by the numbers of these Chelsea Tractors parked outside the school gates, we'd say they hit the nail on the head.
10. Land Rover In The Movies
Land Rover Fact 10: Land Rover’s always in the spotlight. Some of Land Rover’s appeal has surely been gained from its numerous big screen appearances. From its 101 Forward Control Vehicles used as the City Cabs in Judge Dredd to James Bond’s Defender in Spectre. Or, how about jumping in Lara Croft’s shoes in Tomb Raider when she drove a specially converted Defender 110? Those 110’s proved so popular that land Rover even produced a few in a limited edition production run, which have since become a highly desirable collector’s car.
Just as Land Rover has had an interesting life, so have we at Safari Engineering in Eversley. So, why not pop in to see us at our huge site in Hampshire and find out what we’ve been up to recently. There’s always something interesting going on in our workshops. Series 1 and 2 Restorations, Military Lightweight and Defender Rebuilds, Engine Swaps and Custom Builds always keep us busy. What will your next project be?