If there is any vehicle that has kept its image unchanged through the times, it must be the British Land Rover. The cross country car with the distinct pleasure to work really hard is known in every corner of the planet. It seems to be as old as the Pyramids but still young at mind.

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However the story took its beginning not that long ago: For example the Land Rover never fought in or won WW2, which could otherwise easily be believed. The Land Rover begins its life in 1948, a period where resources are scarce and the country has an urgent need of kick starting the industrial production in the regained peacetime.

England is one of the winners of WW2 and therefore the morale amongst the population is high, but in the late forties the nation is once again troubled by complexes over the crumbling of their dearly beloved colonial empire. This development already started before the war, and the tendency takes a new beginning after the war and with an unseen speed. The empire crumbles and the British world command is soon a thing of the past.

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The construction of the Land Rover borrowed several ideas from the Willys war jeep, but was built with a more expensive body in aluminum. The choice of aluminum was forced by the post war steel rationing. Rover also had another problem in the post war Great Britain. They had a big new factory in Solihull at Birmingham, which was built free of charge before the war to produce airplane engines. The problem was that they didn’t have a car model to produce in these facilities. The pre war models they had ready for production could not be sold in such amounts that could justify operation of the plant.

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The fact that the great victor and charismatic leader of the British nation Winston Churchill possessed a Land Rover had a tremendous impact on the marketing of the new born Briton. Never before had a utility vehicle received such a great benefit of the celebrity effect. The Land Rover quickly gained ground in all kinds of roles and functions on the British Isles, not least because it could be delivered to almost any kind of purpose. Over time an extensive family tree outlined the Land Rover, and a detailed covering of models and types is a true marathon.

To enlarge click on the picture.

To enlarge click on the picture.

Even in the most remote parts of the empire the Land Rover found extensive use. It may be that the power was crumbling in India and Africa, but with the Land Rover the British could at least boost their pride in the remaining regions where they were still in control. It was used for both peaceful and less peaceful purposes.

Early Land Rover without “clothes”

Early Land Rover without “clothes”

Rail Rover – yet another example of the fantasy that followed the use of Land Rover in all regions.

Rail Rover – yet another example of the fantasy that followed the use of Land Rover in all regions.

Many efforts were made to test the Land Rover for cross country challenges.

Many efforts were made to test the Land Rover for cross country challenges.

Land Rover giving its contribution to the Bluebird speed record test in 1960.

Land Rover giving its contribution to the Bluebird speed record test in 1960.

The Land Rover ended up being a design icon, especially because it stayed unchanged for decades and as such stood for conservatism and old values. It was popular – also with ladies on it.

The Land Rover ended up being a design icon, especially because it stayed unchanged for decades and as such stood for conservatism and old values. It was popular – also with ladies on it.

It would be tactless and unsuitable to use the Land Rover for suggestive purposes. For that it is a much too serious and respected partner for everyone having practical doings and for whom a loyal automobile is needed. There is no reason to pander to the lowest instincts in a chase for greater attention by promoting the British icon with irrelevant talk and foreign bodies. A Land Rover demands and deserves a serious scrutinizing of its merits. Just take for example the picture beneath. It shows a practical woman at work, trying to find food for her family. For this purpose she is wearing a pair of practical trousers and although it blurs the view of her femininity, we are not in any doubt that behind that we will find a fine woman. The practical car makes us see her as an equal person, one we respect and do not look at as a sexual object, but as a working person.

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Here we see how a Land Rover looks with a pair of non-British Brazil rims. This example shows that Land Rover was not only for work but also for pleasure.

Here we see how a Land Rover looks with a pair of non-British Brazil rims. This example shows that Land Rover was not only for work but also for pleasure.

It is common knowledge that a Land Rover could be delivered with an extended air intake in order to let it climb through waterholes and minor rivers without getting water in the carburettor.

It is common knowledge that a Land Rover could be delivered with an extended air intake in order to let it climb through waterholes and minor rivers without getting water in the carburettor.

Even for the shortest model LR 88 there was actually fine space in the hold. Due to the cross country abilities, the ground clearance the loading height was never really comfortable.

Even in the shortest model LR 88 there was actually fine space in the hold. Due to the cross country abilities and the associated ground clearance the loading height was never really comfortable.

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Translation: Per Lumholz

About The Author

Søren Navntoft

All cars are lovable. Especially if they are Italian or French. I prefer them kept original, showing as few changes as possible. Sherry, a good cup of coffee and the sound of Miles Davis is the good life. Søren's keeper is a 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV - but he continually flirts with French connections such as DS, 2CV and R4.

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