An old friend always used to say that “Jeeps are famous, but Land Rovers are legendary.” I know some Jeep fanatics who might disagree with that, but many of us have been fond of the Land Rover, and its entire family tree, for many years. Our video this week looks back over Land Rover’s history through the eyes of some of the men who were there. This is the story of Land Rover – from its inception as a way to save the Rover company to its becoming the SUV of choice for the landed gentry.
The design for the original Land Rover vehicle was started in 1947 by Maurice Wilks, chief designer at the Rover Company, on his farm in Newborough, Anglesey. It is said that he was inspired by an American World War II Jeep that he used one summer at his holiday home in Wales. The first Land Rover prototype, later nicknamed ‘Centre Steer’, was built on a Jeep chassis and axles.
The early choice of colour was dictated by military surplus supplies of aircraft cockpit paint, so early vehicles only came in various shades of light green; all models until recently feature sturdy box section ladder-frame chassis.
In June 2007, Ford Motor Company announced its plan to sell Land Rover, along with Jaguar. Ford retained the services of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and HSBC to advise it on the details of the deal. The buyer was initially expected to be announced by September 2007, but the sale was delayed and an announcement was not made until March 2008. A UK-based private equity firm, Alchemy Partners, and the India-headquartered Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra expressed interest in purchasing Jaguar and Land Rover from the Ford Motor Company