Friday 30th April 1948
The Land Rover was officially launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show. Brothers Maurice and Spencer Wilks, developed the vehicle as a result of a conversation about Maurice’s American 4×4. Realising the gap in the British market for such a vehicle, they quickly produced a prototype out of aluminium and steel, metals that were still rationed in England at the time. They used interior components from their Rover saloon cars. Featuring four-wheel drive and a 1.6 litre engine from the Rover P3 60 saloon, it was shown with a canvas top and optional doors. Doors eventually became standard, as did a system where two and four-wheel drive could be selected in the high range with permanent four-wheel drive in the low range.
The original 1948 Land Rover was ingeniously designed and engineered for extreme capability and strength. With extremely robust construction and characteristics such as short front and rear overhangs, it drove off the production line ready to take on some of the world’s toughest terrain. Today these qualities are as significant a part of what makes a Land Rover vehicle unique as they were 60 years ago.
The Land Rover was the product of continuous evolution and refinement throughout the 1950s and 1960s with improved stability and a tighter turning circle. It was a period in which Land Rover took the lead in the emerging market for four-wheel drive vehicles. As a tough, reliable mobility platform, countless organisations came to depend on Land Rover vehicles to get personnel and equipment into the most challenging situations…and then safely out again. From organisations such as Born Free Foundation to The Royal Geographical Society and Biosphere Expeditions – we enter the second decade of the 21st century with them still relying on Land Rover
In keeping with the forward-thinking philosophy that founded Land Rover, a radical, entirely new product was introduced in 1970 and created its very own vehicle category. This overnight sensation was the original Range Rover. It had all the capability of a Land Rover with the comfort and performance of an on-road car.
This culture of innovation has developed ever since with both Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles: new models, more refinement, more innovative technology, more efficiency and fewer emissions. And it continues with initiatives such as e_Terrain Technologies (which improves the environmental performance of vehicles by reducing CO2 emissions), Sustainable Manufacturing and CO2 Offsetting. Land Rover will remain at the forefront of advanced design – the new small Range Rover is a testament to the vision that takes the company forward and keeps it at the cutting edge of technology and engineering.