A Storied History Since 1948
Back in 1948, Samuel L. Jackson was born, the popular board game Scrabble was created, the first Polaroid camera was sold, the Toronto Maple Leafs had just won their 7th Stanley Cup, NASCAR held its first ever race, and of course Land Rover debuted the Series I. To say we’ve come a long way since then is an understatement.
Since 1948 Land Rover has been providing exceptional quality vehicles for drivers, adventurers, and of course, the royal family. To celebrate more than 70 years since Maurice Wilks sketched out the Series I, we’ll be highlighting some of the notable moments in Land Rover history.
1948: Amsterdam Motor Show
The utilitarian Series I debuts at the Amsterdam Motor show and was an absolute hit. Though initially designed as a farm vehicle providing more versatility than a tractor. The original Series I came as a bare-bones offering, neither doors nor passenger seat cushions came standard.
1949: Land Rovers in the British Army
Almost immediately after production began on the Series I, Land Rover began its history as a military vehicle. The Ministry of Defence wanted the Series I for the British army, but with one catch—they wanted Rolls-Royce engines to power them. A few Series I vehicles were engine swapped, but the Rolls-Royce engine was too heavy and wasn’t a match with the Land Rover gearbox. The Ministry settled on the standard Land Rover 1.6-litre engine.
1970: Land Rover Introduces the Range Rover
The world’s most luxurious SUV first came to fruition in 1969 as a prototype named Velar, derived from the Italian word “velare,” meaning to veil or cover. The Range Rover project was very secretive and kept under wraps until the first production in 1970 where the Range Rover met critical acclaim.
1997: Land Rover Pulls Defender from U.S. Roads
Though the Defender is slated for a return to North American markets in 2020, there was a time where the Defender faced controversy. Changes to U.S. safety regulations—requiring side-impact door beams and front-seat airbags—meant the Defender wasn’t up to safety standards, rather than complying with these costly new standards for such a low production vehicle, Land Rover decided to pull the Defender from the U.S.
This was just some of the incredible history from the last 70 years at Land Rover, Budds is extremely proud to be part of this storied history and hope for even more adventures in the future.