Land built in England 1948 to our days.

The Rover Compagny Limited

In 1904, the Rover Compagy Limited, whose logo is a Viking, came out its 1st motor vehicle. The Viking expresses the idea of going to the adventure and Rover means precisely nomad adventurer. Between the two wars, Rover becomes a great manufacturer of luxury cars. The company will cross with success the crisis of 1920. In 1929, Spencer Wilks joined Rover. Before hei worked at Hillman where he hold the post of administrator. It is in 1931,when his brother Maurice joined the firm to run the Conception and Design department. Two years later, Spencer Wilks became manager of Rover.

The origin of Land Rover

Maurice Wilks, in spite of his post of director of the Conception and Design department at Rover, had a farm in Anglesey, where they moved with a Willys Jeep given up by the American army. As it was difficult to find elements, he started to seek on the national market a vehicle able to replace its small Jeep. Naturally it did not find anything appropriate to the agricultural use which it needed. Very quickly while discussing with his brother Spencer, sprang up the idea of the achievement of an economic machine able to be at the same time a van and a tractor, equipped with a catch of force to satisfy the needs for the agricultural work.

Photo MG: Jeep

Birth of Land Rover

In 1947, the Wilks brothers immediately got down to work.At once, this project was baptized LAND ROVER (Land meaning ground, therefore Land Rover: Terrestrial Vagabon). A team of engineers of the Rover firm managed by Maurice Wilks was intended for this project. One started by buying two Willys Jeep to study and produce a new chassis and a new body.

The 1st prototype of 1947

In 1947, the 1st prototype was built. As the chassis designed by Rover was not yet ready we used the chassis of the one of both Willys on which was adapted the aluminium body. The central driver's cab had been selected for its universality. He ended the disagreement of the countries where one leads on the right with those where one leads on the left and allowed the farmers not to feel disoriented compared to their tractor. This position of driving was abandoned because of its not very practical side in any ground. Aluminium was selected for its availability. Indeed, at that time steel is rationed by the English government and the use of the Birmabright aluminium reserves available in great quantity with the end of the aeronautical military orders was retained and not very expensive.

Photo: 1er prototype de 1947

The pilote production

It is into 1948 that the production of 50 cars of pilote production, nevertheless different from the prototype, will be born. Consequently, the public reacts beyond the awaited prospects and the 1st orders flowed. The output provided by Rover being limited, Rover feared not to succeed in satisfying his new customers.

Photo: Publicité de série I 86

Series I

In 1948 series I of 80 inches made its entry equipped with the petrol engine of the pilote production of 1595 Cm3 50 CV before being provided with the engine of 1997 Cm3 52 CV with the higher torque for a weaker speed. Thus the engine of the vehicle is more reliable and better adapted to the difficult task.
In 1954 it is the arrival of series I of 86 inches, then the 107 inches followed.
After several tests, the britanic army, decided in 1956 to adopt Land Rover like standard and light vehicle. A new market was opening up with specific military needs.

Photo: Publicité de série II 109

Series II, IIA, IIB

In 1958, one decade after the prototype, Rover decides to make significant mechanical and style improvements. A new series spring up , the series II. However it is difficult to improve the design of a vehicle which remained above all a machine of work and which knew already very large success. nevertheless some aesthetic modifications were made. The most significant modification is spring up of the new diesel and gasoline engine of 3 stages developing 66 to 77 CV.
In 1961 series IIA then in 1966 series IIB appeared. Their visual difference is based on the position of the headlights which are moved on the wings for a better lighting.

Photo: Publicité de série III 88

Series III

Series III appear in 1971. Just like the last series IIA and B, they definitively have the headlights placed on the wings, but their radiator grill is not in metal any more but out of plastic with the great despair of Farmers Australian which used it to make cook their beefsteaks on the campfires. On the level of the improvements, series III have a new more practical dashboard, a new system of cold and hot interior ventilation, one gearbox synchronized, a modified braking system and clutch more effective. In 1974 the overdrive (optional gearbox with 2 ratio raising 28 % the originals speed ratio) becomes available for all the models even for the previous series. Finally in 1981 the gasoline and diezel engines upgrade from 3 to 5 stages.

Photo MG: Land Rover 110

Land Rover 90 and 110

It is into 1983 that Land 110 made its spring up. Nevertheless series III came out until 1986 in order to fulfilling the requirement of some customer who obviously feared the improvements of this new series. Aesthetically, the 90 and 110 still look like the old series but the radiator grill is moved definitively on the level of the headlights which made him lose its small family likeness with its brothers. Breeze avoids becomes larger and into one only part. Thereafter, the opening of the panes before used to be orizontale becomes vertical and the handles of door anti-wrenching disappeared for traditional one. At the mechanical level, the frame is modified to receive the new suspensions more comfortable on road. The transmition becomes integral and clearance is increased by 50% on the front axle and 25% on the back axle. Finally the engines available remained the same ones as those of series III to make place thereafter with new engines.

Photo MG: Defender 90 TD5


It is into 1990 that the utility 4x4 of crossing Land Rover will be kalled Défender. Indeed, more than 42 years after the launching of first Land, the manufacturer produces to supplement his range of cross-country, several models of 4x4. So realize in Solihull that the label of origin Land Rover can't be used any more to characterize just one model of vehicule. Defender look like to 90 and 110. The front doors,that can be usually dismantled in 2 pieces on all the other series, are now manufactured in only one piece. Impossible to separate the high part of low part of the door. New engines with electronic management appear. The comfort and the interior completion are more adapted for the road than for the cross-country. Nevertheless more rustic versions of Defender with less electronic remains available for export in the countries except Europe where reliability precedes above all.

Photo MG: Defender 2007

Defender 2007

End of production Land Rover Defender on 2015

General characteristics of Land Rover.

Left models:
Series I, II, IIA, IIB, III, 90 and 110, DEFENDER.

Series I of 1948-1954:
Models 80,86,107 inches, case aluminium, frame scale, driving gasoline 1595 Cm3 of 50 CV and driving diesel gasoline then of 1997 Cm3 52 CV, limps of not synchronized speed, suspension with blades, calenders metalic.

Series II of 1958-1961:
Models 88,109 inches, case aluminium, frame scale, diesel engine and gasoline 2286 Cm3 of 3 stages of 66 CV and 77 CV, limps of not synchronized speed, suspension with blades, calenders metalic.

Series III of 1971-1986:
Models 88,109 inches, case aluminium, frame scale, diesel engine and gasoline 2286 Cm3 with 3 and 5 stages of 66 CV and 77 CV, limps of synchronized speed, suspension with blades, calenders plastic, headlights on the wings.

Land 90 and 110 of 1983-1990:
Models 90,110 inches, case aluminium, frame scale, diesel engine and gasoline 2286 Cm3 with 5 stages of 66 CV and 77 CV, diesel engine 2495 Cm3 turbo of 85 CV, limps of synchronized speed, suspension with helical springs, power-assisted steering, differential exchange, calenders plastic gone up on the level of the headlights.

Defender since 1990:
Models 90,110 inches, case aluminium, frame scale, diesel engine 200 tdi of 2495 Cm3 107 CV, diesel engine 300 tdi of 117 CV limps synchronized speed, suspension with helical springs, power-assisted steering, differential exchange, calenders plastic increase on the level of the headlights.

Photo MG: Serie III 88

Photo MG: Defender 90 de la gendarmerie portugaise (GNR: Garde Nationnal Républiquaine)

Photo MG: Defender 110 version benne

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