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Land Rover Company History

Published: 24th Mar 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Land Rover
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To In 1948, the very first Land Rover hit the road – and the off-road. It was intended to be a stop-gap vehicle by the Rover company, who had to find a way to use-up aluminium in those austere post-war years in order make money through export. Based unashamedly on the WWII Wilys Jeep, it was designed for use by farmers or indeed anyone who needed to get to parts of the countryside where there were no tarmac roads. As stop-gaps go, it’s been pretty successful; some 60 years later, the anniversary year Defender models are directly descended from those first vehicles and you don’t have to squint much to see it. Meantime, it spawned the mighty Range Rover which itself begat the Discovery, both of which are still on the market, albeit in considerably different formats to the originals. The Land Rover story is one of gradual evolution and as such, specifications blurred from model to model and pricing is made more difficult by the fact that the steel chassis made it possible to offer a huge variety of body styles, cheaply; there’s short and long wheelbases, open pickups, full tilt pick-ups, hard-tops and station wagons along with hybrid and specialist vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances – and that’s just the start!

There’s lots of old Landies around from the ‘60s and ‘70s and this is largely due to the fact that they are effectively large kit cars. Most bits of bodywork simply bolt-on and many mechanical bits are interchangeable, not least engines and gearboxes and, of course, there’s a huge network of spares suppliers making most parts easy and cheap to get hold of; some 75 per cent of Landies are still operation in some form it’s claimed.

The introduction of the Range Rover in 1970 was in many ways even more significant than the original as it invented a whole new market sector which thrives today. Costing £1998, by ‘76 it was £8500; today they cost £76,500! Small wonder then that Discovery and Freelander were launched to entice new less affluent buyers, with much success. In fact Land Rover has been a massive success story and the recent sell off of the company by Ford to the giant Indian Tata corporation was done more as a sweetener to make the financial struggling Jaguar brand more attractive than anything else. If reports in the press are any indication, Land Rover’s future looks as bright as the past 60 years!

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