Michael Wilde 4x4, 70 years, range rover...
To celebrate such a birthday, here are 5 facts about Land Rover which will leave you wanting to sell your car and jump on AutoTrader to find your perfect Landy:
1. Land Rovers have been around 30 years longer than their company has.
Land Rovers have been built since 1948 when they became the second oldest four-wheel drive vehicles in automotive history after Jeeps. Back then, they were made by Rover, but Land Rover as a company wasn’t founded until 1978, as part of a really odd period of British mismanagement of the auto industry.
2. You could order a Land Rover with tank treads in the fifties from the Rover factory.
The Series II Cuthbertson was invented by a Scotsman who figured out that treads would enable the SUV to trek across the Highlands without sinking into the spongy ground. Legend has it that originally this was a stunt meant to embarrass the English, who weren’t clever enough to come up with the idea on their own. However, eventually, this became a factory option.
3. Land Rover hated paying taxes and went to great lengths to make sure their buyers didn’t have to either.
The Defender 110 could technically fit up to 12 people, qualifying as a “bus” by the taxman’s standards. This qualification allowed them to be exempt from the brutal tax system on passenger vehicles. Extra bonus: you get to use bus lanes and skip out on all that pesky London traffic.
4. The Range Rover was built exactly as the first prototype was designed. That literally never happens in the car industry.
Somehow, when they put together the 1966 prototype that ultimately led to production, the lines never changed. And that design was good enough to get the Range Rover displayed in the Louvre. Like, the actual Louvre with all the art, because it was considered a masterpiece of industrial design.
5. Unsurprisingly, Land Rover creator Charlie King hated that Range Rovers became luxury vehicles.
He went on record as saying they had become “an acceptable alternative to Mercedes or BMW for the pompous, self-important driver”. However, they did go that way and now, the roads around Britain are showered with luxury Range Rovers where 99% have never really been tested to their limits. Shame really...