On this day in auto history - September 8th

Wed 8th Sep 2021

It was on this day in 1963 that renowned auto engineer Maurice Wilks - the inspiration behind developing the Land Rover - passed away suddenly at his farm on the Isle of Anglesey.

At the time of his death, 59-year-old Wilks had risen to become the chairman of the Rover Company, a position he had held for just over a year.

Having started his professional life working for the Hillman Motor Car Company in Coventry, Hampshire-born Wilks enjoyed a two-year spell working for General Motors in the United States during the 1920’s before he was appointed as Rover’s chief engineer in 1930.

During World War II, Wilks led Rover’s team developing gas turbine aircraft engines before becoming a household name in the 1950’s after the phenomenal success of his personal brainchild, the Land Rover.

Essentially a shy, studious man who shunned publicity, Wilks was famed for his brilliant knowledge of engineering detail and was widely-regarded as one of the most influential motor engineers of his era.