The Land Rover car design takes us back to a beach in Wales, just after WW2. The very beginning of Land Rover itself is the fabled story of brothers Maurice and Spencer Wilks, sketching out the simple design of what would become an enduring and iconic classic 4WD vehicle.
Land Rover Defender 110 V8
A simple design, because times were hard. Cause, well, the war. Materials, even the most basic ones, were hard to come by. Remind anyone of this past years?
Hard times require a vehicle that is tough as nails. But with a dash of fun thrown in. Like this Defender 110 with a factory V8, a safari cage and soft top. Ready to tear up the nearest dirt road or a quick jaunt into town. Yes, even in winter. This is after all a car for hard men/women/people.
However you identify, you can find yourself in this beautiful beast. Coping with hard times and having some fun doing it is in its bones. 73 years after its conception it is relevant as ever. Even if you don’t want to go hauling livestock. You can always drive it to the next Woodstock. And we’ve upgraded it for 2022!
– Fresh new paint job
Mechanically and mentally more than ready to hit the road and the dirt. Land Rover have for decades maintained that around 70% of all Land Rovers made are still in use. Old Land Rovers never die: they just get modified into something even more amazing. Case in point!
Please contact us for more pictures, video, a test drive or a Zoom call. Or if you are nearby the east of Belgium, close to the Dutch and German border, please stop by.
History of the Land Rover Defender
Back to that beach in Wales. Brothers Maurice and Spencer Wilks sketching out the simple design of what would become an iconic classic. Maurice Wilks, an engineer, had an army surplus Jeep on his farm at Anglesey, and was impressed with its basic recipe of utility and capability, without being a full-blown tractor. He and his brother Spencer, who was also the managing director of Rover, began musing about the potential of a new model for Rover that followed along similar lines.
Post-war England didn’t need another luxury sedan or high-tech engine. What it did need was cheap, rugged versatility. Imagine a vehicle that could do the hard yards around the farm: haul livestock, plough through mud and drag heavy gear. That’s the kind of work a tractor does, but you can’t really jump into a tractor and then drive into town, right?
At a place called Red Wharf Bay, on the island of Anglesey (just off the north-western corner of Wales), the first sketch was made on the exposed mud flats at low tide. Spencer approved.
They developed the first Land Rover, an agriculturally focused four-wheel-drive truck with a steel frame and an aluminum body. It entered production in 1948 and what would come to be known as the Land Rover Series I. It was offered in various configurations that differed in wheelbase, door count, and body style. The Series II made its debut 10 years later in 1958. Its exterior design featured the same inboard headlights and boxy profile as the Series I but added a pronounced shoulder line running the length of the vehicle. Options like door cards and side mirrors were available for the first time.
In 1971, Land Rover released the Series III. Headlights were moved away from the grille out to the fenders, which easily differentiated the Series III from its predecessors. Land Rover added synchros to the manual transmission and moved the gauges in front of the steering wheel from their former home in the center of the dash. A V-8-powered model was introduced in 1979. Because of the V-8’s larger dimensions, Land Rover pushed the grille forward and flush with the front fenders, giving the SUV’s front end the shape that would define it for the next three decades.
Land Rover 110
That design carried over to the Land Rover One-Ten and Land Rover Ninety (later badged 110 and 90), introduced in 1983. This marked the first time a Land Rover utilized the coil-spring suspension from the Range Rover to replace the old cars’ archaic leaf-spring design. Various quality-of-life improvements like a more comfortable interior and modernized engine lineup made tremendous strides in on-road driving manners.
Rover had the luxury Range Rover to appeal to the folks with substantial wallets who were looking for a comfortable car that would be equally at home on the motorway or off-road heading up to Scotland for a spot of deer stalking or other such activities.
It was and is a superbly capable automobile, more capable than a Land Rover, but also expensive and too pretty to get dented and scratched doing some serious expedition travel. Rover’s boffins decided that they needed an “in-between” model that would offer some of the comfort and highway capability of the Range Rover, but at a more modest price.
To this end they created the Land Rover Discovery which was introduced in 1989. Having three models, but only two with names, Rover decided to give the humble Land Rovers a name also and so, partly because the Land Rover had appeal to military and emergency services customers, they decided to call it the Land Rover Defender. This name coming into use in 1991, the Land Rover One Ten being re-named the Land Rover Defender 110, whilst the Ninety was re-named the Land Rover Defender 90.
The Land Rover Defender took some of its cues from the Land Rover Series III, and on the surface, the two might have been mistaken for twins. Only features including a revised grille and a longer bonnet would distinguish it to the discerning eye!
Both the Series III and the 110 (later the Defender) would feature the same engine and near-identical aluminium paneling. However, the vehicle that would come to be known as the Defender was distinguished by:– A permanent four-wheel drive system based on the technology in the Range Rover
Throughout the 1980s, the Defender would be one of the first models to enjoy the Land Rover brand’s updated line of more powerful engines. Developments in this department were connected to a significant increase in sales during the latter half of the 80s and the early 1990s. In 2007, it received an interior redesign. The last of the original Defenders rolled off the production line in January of 2016.
The ending of production of the Land Rover in 2016 was generally greeted with much the same sort of response one’s children give when at the beach and told it is time to come out of the water, get dry and go home. Though their little teeth might be chattering in the cold and their lips blue they’ll plaintively cry “please not yet”. Land Rover aficionados were really not ready for the humble but possessing truckloads of “cool” Land Rover to cease production. Good thing we’ve got a lot of classics in stock! (And yes, they made a new one in 2019, but come talk to us about that in 20 years.)
A quick overview of dates, just in case you are a quiz fanatic (we are!):– From 1948 to 1958, the Land Rover Series I ruled the roost. It was replaced by the Series II in 1958, and the latter would itself be replaced by the Series III in 1971.
Please contact us for more pictures, videos, a test drive or a zoom call