It is on this day, 30 April, back in 1948, that the first Land Rover prototype was premiered at the Amsterdam Motor Show.
Billed as “a go-anywhere vehicle, a portable source of power, and an alternative to the light tractor”, the four-wheel drive Land Rover Series 1 prototype was an inspired combination of a chassis from an old American Willys Overland Jeep, a Rover P3 sedan 1.6 litre engine, and various other existing and new parts. The Series 1 had a utilitarian, square, boxy design with a canvas roof and very little along the line of ‘extras’ – even doors were considered an added luxury, and sold separately.
The Land Rover Series 1 proved a huge hit in Britain and beyond, and was used by farmers, police and military forces, expedition travellers and more. Within 30 years from its launch, a million Land Rovers were produced at its assembly line in Birmingham, England.
Since the Series 1, Land Rover has released a wide range of models, from the rough-and-tough Defender to the super-luxury Range Rover to the hip and fashionable, compact urban warrior SUV, the Evoque.
Across it’s model range, Land Rover have sold consistently well over the years, with the 4 millionth Land Rover rolling off the production line in 2007. Not bad for a vehicle that entered the market as an alternative to a tractor!