On this day in auto history - September 4th

Sat 4th Sep 2021

It was on this day in 1947 that the Rover board sanctioned the production of a brand new, all-purpose vehicle which was to become the Land Rover.

The vehicle was the brainchild of Rover’s chief designer Maurice Wilks who hit upon the idea whilst using a Jeep on his farm in Anglesey. Wilks wanted to fill a perceived gap in the market by creating an all-purpose vehicle which combined a Jeep-style chasis but came fitted with a Rover engine.

Within a year, the original Land Rover - built out of more expensive aluminium because steel was still in short supply after the war - was launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show to great acclaim despite its hefty price-tag of £450.

Praised for its functional design, sound engineering and go-anywhere specifications, the Land Rover proved a runaway success and had already racked up 100,000 worldwide sales within six years. As early as 1976 it had already passed through the one million barrier.

Land Rover existed as a product line of Rover until 1978 but, such was its success, it then it became its own separate company under independent management, though still operating under the British Leyland umbrella.

Following subsequent spells under the ownership of BMW and Ford, Land Rover was taken over by the Indian conglomerate Tata in 2008 and - inspired by the enduring success of its Range Rover marque - has recently scaled new heights.

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