Heritage

Over 60 Years On and Still Going Strong

The first Land Rover made its debut in 1948. It was designed with brilliant simplicity for extraordinary ability and unrivaled strength and durability. In fact, six decades on it is estimated that two-thirds of all these incredible vehicles are still at work - many of them in some of the most extreme conditions and inhospitable places on earth.

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THE LAND ROVER STORY

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 organizations came to depend on Land Rover vehicles to get personnel and equipment into the most challenging situations?and then safely out again.  From organizations 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.

Land Rover heritage driving outdoors

Land Rover heritage rear lights and badge

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.

The business side

During the last 65 years, the British marque has changed hands many times. Founded by Maurice Wilks, Rover's technical chief and his brother Spencer, the firm was part of the Rover Group for over fifty years. In that time, Rover and Leyland merged (1967), British Aerospace bought the Rover Group (1988) and then sold it to BMW in 1994. BMW split the Rover Group when it moved on in 2000, selling Rover to the Phoenix management group and Land Rover to Ford.

Land Rover's most recent ownership change was in 2008, when it was sold to Tata and is now part of Jaguar Land Rover.

Today, Land Rover has never been in a stronger position. Tata's ownership has seen the new Range Rover - a model that defines luxury and the badge continues to develop new products that appeal to a sophisticated global audience.  


 

Range Rover Heritage

RANGE ROVER 40TH ANNIVERSARY

There have been three generations of Range Rover. The original, now known as the Classic, went on sale in 1970 and continued in production, with numerous upgrades and a multiplicity of variants, for just over 25 years.

The second-generation vehicle, known as the P38a, went on sale in 1994 and was replaced in 2001 by the current model. The continuing success of the Range Rover ensured that other premium makers jumped into the booming luxury SUV market. The latest version has enjoyed higher annual sales than any previous models and continues to be popular around the world. Sold around the world, from London to Los Angeles, Sydney to Shanghai, Turin to Tokyo, the Range Rover remains the ultimate choice for the luxury SUV customer.

"The Range Rover is really four vehicles in one," says managing director Phil Popham. "It's a seven-days-a-week luxury motor car; a leisure vehicle that will range far and wide on the highways and noways of the world; a high performance car for long distance travel; and a working cross-country vehicle."

From princes to politicians, from rock gods to rock climbers, from footballers to farmers, the Range Rover has always appealed to a diverse group of customers.

A second model line, the Range Rover Sport, was launched in 2005, aimed at more sports-oriented driver-focused customers. It has been a great success, and in 2007 was Land Rover's biggest selling vehicle worldwide.

Later this year, a further member of the Range Rover family will be added, taking the portfolio to three model lines. The new vehicle will be smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient, tying in perfectly with the Range Rover brand's commitment to environmental sustainability. Yet it will be no less premium, no less luxurious, and no less special than the other Range Rover models.  Link to a complete timeline

  

 

"The idea was to combine the comfort and on-road ability of a Rover saloon with the off-road ability of a Land Rover. Nobody was doing it." Charles Spencer 'Spen' King - the father of the Range Rover.

The inspiration came from the Rover car company's engineering chief for new vehicle projects. Charles Spencer 'Spen' King worked mostly on Rover cars, not on Land Rover (at the time, Rover's 4x4 wing). Yet Land Rover was in his blood. His uncles were the Wilks brothers - Spencer and Maurice - who jointly founded Land Rover in 1948.

"The idea was to combine the comfort and on-road ability of a Rover saloon with the off-road ability of a Land Rover," says King. "Nobody was doing it at the time. It seemed worth a try and Land Rover needed a new product."

 

Special Editions

'The In Vogue hinted at the need for a more luxurious Range Rover, while the CSK alluded to a sportier future'

The amazing versatility of the Range Rover meant there have been many extraordinary 'special edition' models, all aiming for a niche in the broad Range Rover customer base. Early specials were developed by outside companies and reflected Land Rover's slowness to develop its best seller (there were few major factory changes through the '70s). So nimble minded specialists - such as Switzerland's Monteverdi - often got in there first.

In the '80s, there was a wave of factory-produced special editions. Many tested new sectors for the Range Rover. The 'In Vogue', for instance, hinted at the need for a more luxurious specification, while the CSK alluded to a sportier future.

There have been scores of memorable limited-edition Range Rovers, from luxury Westminster, to sporty Vitesse to adventure-oriented Rhinoceros (complete with wooden carving of a rhino, done by African tribesmen). But these featured below are probably the most memorable and significant:



The Monteverdi Four Door

The production four-door Range Rover didn't go on sale until 1981 - although a prototype had actually been built as early as 1971. There was clearly a market for a car with rear doors, and coachbuilders weren't slow to spot it.

The Swiss company Monteverdi produced the most convincing four-door design, and it went on sale in 1980. Land Rover engineers collaborated. The production four-door Range Rover was, in fact, based closely on the Monteverdi model.



 

                                                                                                                           

The 'In Vogue'

The 'In Vogue' was the first factory-produced limited-edition Range Rover. It was based on a specially prepared and well-equipped vehicle loaned to Vogue magazine, which acted as a prop for a fashion shoot celebrating the latest wares from Jaeger and Lancôme, which took place in Biarritz, France, in 1981.

The 'In Vogue' that resulted was based on the photographic car. It had special pale blue metallic paintwork, a more luxurious interior including wooden trim and full carpeting, air conditioning and a picnic hamper. One thousand were built, and were priced at an £800 premium. The 'In Vogue' set the marker for the car's move upmarket, which was subsequently cemented by the production Vogue model. This became the model name for the most luxurious Range Rover in many markets.

 
The Popemobile

Two specially modified Range Rovers were built for Pope John Paul II during his six-day visit to the UK in 1982. The pope rode in a special rear display area protected by bullet-proof glass. These high-security vehicles were built following the failed assassination attempt in 1981.

 


  The CSK

The limited edition CSK - just 200 were made - was named after Range Rover founder Charles Spencer King. It was the first new two-door Range Rover in several years, yet its significance went well beyond that. The CSK, launched in 1990, was a sportier Range Rover. Just as the 'In Vogue' began the route down the luxury path, so the CSK opened the door to a new sportier future, as epitomised 15 years later by the Range Rover Sport.

The CSK came with suspension anti-roll bars - the first Range Rover thus equipped. This sharpened the on-road handling, reducing the body roll that had been a characteristic of early Range Rovers. The CSK was an acknowledgement that sharp on-road performance would be crucial to the future success of the Range Rover.

 

 

The Linley

The Vogue was a move upmarket for Range Rover. But the limited edition Linley - just 10 were made - was on another plane altogether: the price was £100,000.

Inspired by furniture designer Lord Linley, the 1999 Range Rover Linley featured lustrous all-black paintwork. Inside, all the trim was in black leather and the woodwork was piano black ebony veneer. Even the steering wheel was in black wood. The thick-pile carpet was also black. It was the first Range Rover (and one of the first luxury cars) to feature satellite navigation; it also had a TV.

The first Linley model was sold to a Land Rover dealer in Wales. Within hours of its arrival, it was stolen from outside the workshop and never seen again.


                                                                               

The Holland and Holland

The famous London-based gunsmiths collaborated on this limited edition version of the series two model. Another upmarket vehicle, the Holland and Holland came in special dark green paint, brown leather upholstery with cream piping, part-green alloys, and had a DVD and TV. They sold for £65,000. Four hundred were made (300 of which went to North America) and all came with the top-spec 4.6 V8 engine.


 

Armoured Range Rover

The Range Rover has long been a popular car with politicians and leading industrialists. It has served as official transport for many heads of state, including British prime ministers.

The latest model was officially developed, by Land Rover Special Vehicles, into an armoured vehicle (before that, many private specialists produced their own modified Range Rovers). The 'official' armoured vehicle, first launched in 2007, is certified for European B6 ballistic protection.