Land Rover reaches another major milestone in 2023, it is 75 years since the release of the original Series I back in 1948.
The Series I entered production in 1948 after being launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show. It was initially designed for farm and light industrial use with its steel box-section chassis and aluminium body. Production ran from 1948 to 1958.
Maurice Wilks, chief designer at the Rover Company, began the design for this original in 1947, with the design possibly influenced by the Jeep. The early colour choice was also dictated by post-war military surplus supplies of aircraft cockpit paint, so various shades of light green were evident.
From 1958 to 1961, the successor to the Series I was in production, the Series II. It came in 88-inch (2.24 m) and 109-inch (2.77 m) wheelbases ( referred to as the 'SWB' and 'LWB'). This was the first Land Rover to receive the attention of Rover's styling department.
A Series IIA was in production from 1961 to 1971 but was very similar to the Series II. There were a few small, mainly cosmetic changes and a 2.25-litre diesel engine was also added to the engine line. From 1967, a 2.6-litre inline six-cylinder petrol engine was made available for the long-wheelbase models.
1971 to 1985 was the Series III era, with relatively few changes made from the Series IIA. This series is the most common vehicle, with 440,000 built during these 14 years. The headlights were now on the wings and the metal grille of earlier models was replaced with a plastic one.
During the production of the Series III, Land Rover celebrated its 1,000,000th vehicle in 1976.
These Land Rover Series I, II, and II were commonly just known as Land Rovers, distinguishing them from later models and were produced by the Rover Company and later by British Leyland.
Land Rover Ltd became the owner in 1978 until it became Jaguar Land Rover in 2013.
(After the formation of Land Rover Limited in 1978 the hyphen in Land-Rover began to be dropped.)
To mark this auspicious 75th anniversary, Land Rover is producing a 75th Limited Edition commemorative Defender this year, available in both 90 and 110 trims. A two-door and four-door model is available but comes with only the 3-litre turbocharged inline-six engine.
The signature feature is the Grasmere Green paint, exclusive to this model, a shade last seen on the Heritage Edition Defenders, and so is a direct link to the early Land Rovers.
The modern-day Land Rover is a very different creature from its ancestor 75 years ago, yet the Defender still maintains its original charm and attraction. An eight-speed automatic transmission is now standard, as is, of course, the on-demand four-wheel drive.
This Defender 75th Limited Edition has a blend of luxury and off-road intent in the interior with a retractable folding fabric roof, heated seats and steering wheel, a head-up display, stereo upgrade and an 11.4-inch touchscreen for infotainment – quite a vehicle indeed.
HRH the late Queen Elizabeth II was a huge fan of the Land Rover, often pictured behind the wheel, as the cars were so special to the royals. A bespoke Land Rover even carried Prince Philip's coffin at his funeral. The iconic Land Rover brand is virtually part of the DNA of the Royal Family.
You can read more about the late Queen's love of cars, especially the Land Rover, in our News section here:
A great selection of Land Rovers for sale can also be found on the Cars for Sale page of our website right here: