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.
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.
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.
LAND ROVER TIMELINE