The year was 1947, and a sketch made in the sand on a Welsh beach by Maurice Wilks, chief designer at the Rover Company, gave birth to the Land Rover brand that people know and love today.
Wilks and his brother Spencer, Rover’s Managing Director, used a Jeep chassis fabricated from off-cuts and a Rover car engine — which eliminated the need for complex and expensive press tools — to build the first model. To keep things simple and more tractor-like, they put the steering wheel right in the middle. By doing so, they also avoided having to build two different versions of the car for left and right hand driving markets.
Land Rover Goes International
A year later the first Land Rover launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show, and was an instant success. It was so well-received by the public that it ended up being used for agricultural tasks, police work, military purposes, construction, and long expeditions, and by the end of the year it was exporting the Land Rover to nearly 70 countries. Early vehicles only came in various shades of light green, which was dictated by military surplus supplies of aircraft cockpit paint.
In 1949, the first Land Rover was exported to the United States, and that was just the beginning.
The 250,000th Land Rover rolled off the line in 1959. Then in 1970 the Range Rover, a more comfortable and luxurious version of the Land Rover, was unveiled as a core of the brand. Just six years later, the one millionth Land Rover model rolled off the assembly line.
The Land Rover business has been acquired by various companies over the years like British Aerospace, BMW, Ford Motor Company, and Tata Motors. But it was 2013 when Land Rover and Jaguar merged to form the Jaguar Land Rover Limited company you know today.