Become an amrchair expert on: The Land Rover
Alex Goy is a freelance motoring journalist who writes for the likes of Motor1, Carfection, CNET and DriveTribe.
The original Land Rover was an icon. It travelled up mountains, through rivers, and everywhere in between. Here's some stuff you need to know...
1) It was first sketched on a beach
Engineer Maurice Wilks owned a farm in Anglesey, Wales. To get around he used an old US Army Willys Jeep – its AWD set up and ruggedness made it perfect for farming around.
This got Maurice thinking about a new type of agricultural/utility vehicle for Rover, the company his brother happened to be MD of. Whilst walking on Red Wharf Bay with his brother, Maurice discussed his idea for a new car, and drew its outline in the sand. That was the beginning of the Land Rover.
2) Early cars were all green because war
The first sketch happened in 1947, not long after the Second World War. Production began in 1948, with early cars being offered only in various shades of light green. Why? Because that’s what the company could get hold of from the military. Later, obviously, the Land Rover would be offered in different hues.
3) There was a luxury version of the Series 1
While the Land Rover was primarily a utilitarian vehicle, in 1949 a more luxurious version was brought out. Coach builders, Tickford, built a ‘Station Wagon’ version with leather seats, a heater, and other shiny bits. The Tickford car was unbelievably expensive to tax and all but 50 of the fewer-than-700 built were exported.
4) The Series II could take a whole load of people
You have to love 1950’s ingenuity. The Series II built on the success of the first in many ways, sure, but it was also technically a bus. If you chose a station wagon with the 12 seater option you’d find that you didn’t have to pay for Special Vehicle Tax or Purchase Tax – making it cheaper than a seven, or even ten-seat model. God bless loop holes, eh?
5) There’s a Landie for every purpose
They’re not just for farmers or people in Chelsea desperate to look ‘rugged.’ The Land Rover found work as a fire truck, commercial vehicle, military vehicle, ambulance, and much more. If you can think of an application for a rugged motor, chances are the Landie’s been there, seen it, and driven over it.
6) It conquered the world
Land Rovers have been all over the world - often breaking new ground in as-yet undriven on places. There’s the old ‘70 per cent of all Land Rovers ever produced are still on the road’ stat that does the rounds, but given how many of them there are and how computer free they used to be that’s entirely feasible. Initially it was meant to help people get around their farms a little better. It ended up in all four corners of the planet.
If you've always fancied one yourself but don't happen to own a farm on which to drive it, why not treat yourself to this brilliant Lego kit version of the new Defender...