Watch 70 years of Land Rover history in one show!

By Dave Abrahams Time of article published Apr 30, 2018

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Whitley, West Midlands - Seventy years ago, on 30 April 1948, a short-coupled, pretty basic agricultural workhorse made its debut at the Amsterdam motor show, and a global icon was born.

And last night Jaguar Land Rover celebrated seven decades of the world’s favourite 4 x 4 x far with an online broadcast starring the cars and the people who love them, across 70 years of adventure, soldiering, humanitarian aid and just plain hard work around the world.

The programme shows how the Land Rover was designed - basically as a tractor with a central driving position and a rudimentary aluminium body - and went on to found a dynasty of beetle-crushers, seven million strong and counting.

1956: The Oxford and Cambridge London to Singapore expedition.

It features footage of the people behind the legend and the groundbreaking (sometimes literally!) models of the early years, together with a parade of surviving classic Land Rovers, including HUE 166, the first series production Land Rover, the original two-door Range Rover and the first seven-seater Discovery, as well as some of the ‘expedition’ specials that made the Defender a movie star in the days when tobacco advertising was still legal.

1981: Back in the days when tobacco advertising was still legal.

Also on stage at the Land Rover Classic workshop in Coventry is one very special example: since January 2018 the Classic workshop team has been busy renovating one of the original three unrestored pre-production Amsterdam show cars from 1948.

It makes its first public appearance in many years on this show, alongside its closest current derivative - the 298kW Defender Works V8, of which just 150 will be handbuilt in the Land Rover Classic shop.


1948 Land Rover Series I launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show

1953 Long Wheelbase version of the Series I introduced

1956 Oxford and Cambridge teams complete London to Singapore expedition

1958 Land Rover Series II released

1970 Original two-door Range Rover goes on sale

1971 Land Rover Series III launched

1972 Range Rover crosses Darien Gap on 30 000km Trans-America expedition

1976 One millionth Land Rover built

1979 A Range Rover wins the inaugural Paris-Dakar rally (and again in 1981)

1981 Land Rover begins partnership with Camel Trophy

1981 Four-door Range Rover released

1989 Discovery - the third Land Rover model - goes on sale

1990 Original ‘Landie’ relaunched and renamed Defender

1994 Second generation Range Rover launched

1997 Freelander is unveiled with Hill Descent Control

2001 Third-generation Range Rover with all-round independent air suspension revealed

2003 Inaugural G4 challenge sees 16 teams cross the United States, South Africa and Australia

2004 Third-generation Discovery launched at New York Motor Show

2005 Range Rover Sport unveiled

2006 Freelander 2 launched

2009 Fourth generation Discovery introduced

2010 Range Rover Evoque revealed at the Paris Motor Show

2010 Fourth-generation Range Rover - the first all-aluminium SUV - introduced

2013 New generation of Range Rover Sport debuts at the New York Motor Show

2014 Launch of Discovery Sport with 5+2 seating

2015 Evoque Convertible goes on sale

2015 Land Rover 'Defender 2 000 000' sells for £400 000 at charity auction

2016 Last Defender rolls off the production line

2016 All-new Discovery launched

2017 Land Rover launches the fourth Range Rover, the Velar

2018 Limited Edition Range Rover SV Coupé debuts at Geneva Motor Show

IOL Motoring

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