A brief introduction to Land Rovers
Very brief actually because so many websites have been extensively writing about it.
- The brand was funded in 1948, in England, as a
fightback to the US Jeep.
- The first Land Rover was later named "Series One".
Safer and slightly more sophisticated than a Jeep,
which served as a model, it was soon followed by the
SII / SIIA from 1958.
- The Series Two were a complete redesign: chassis
was all new, more power, more space, more capacities.
The dash remains at the center of the cockpit.
The chassis, body panels, engines, transmission
remain unchanged when the SIII is introduced in
1971. The main changes are more comfort (helped by the
introduction of plastic components) and, visually, the
headlamps now migrated to the wings.
A major change in 1985 with the introduction of the
90/110/130 line. The design remains mostly unchanged but
the mechanic and transmission are upgraded. Coil
suspension, brake discs and modern engines are part of
the new offer. The front panel is now flush with the
The 90/110/130, later renamed Defender, will be
produced until 2016: Land Rover then stopped producing
What makes them so special ?
Among so many cars manufacturers, here is why Land Rover stands out.
- The best explanation might be a comparison: Jeep was the very first light off-roader, but because of its WWII origins, Jeep never fully managed to get out of the image of an army vehicle. That does not suit everybody's tastes. It is an US brand: the culture which comes with is very different. The UK cars, unlike their US counterparts, were full of non-sense engineering in a subtle mix of poor quality made acceptable by an indescribable elegance.
- On the other side of the globe, Japanese car makers
were always seen as cheaters, in despite of doing
nothing more than what LR did out of Jeep originally:
copying. But what made Japanese definitively worst is
the fact that their copy also corrected all the
defaults and engineering errors to produce a better
Land Rover than Land Rover ever managed to produce.
The fact that they dare even copying its name -"land
cruiser"- was the last drop too much. But Japanese aim
for perfection never managed to add the magic touch
that English cars bear into their deep DNA. Perfection
is certainly good in the rough, but it is a bland and
tasteless way of life.
- One life, live it !
Land Rover Spirit
Only a few of car brands can claim to have such a supportive community .
Probably because of a questionable reliability, the Land Rover owners seem to come to know each other in a much higher proportion than other brands. Isn't the slogan of the "series one club": can you afford not to belong ? Because you always need a tool, a part, a hand to fix the latest magic of your Land Rover, LR enthusiasts become more open to other LR owners. They know that this world is a better one when people support each others, like in the old days: before internet, before road assistance on a push of a button, before unlimited warranty, before engine modern incredible reliability.
When you drive a (classic) Land Rover, you flash at
each other in a happy greeting. You start chatting in
traffic jams with the Land Rover standing next to yours.
You exchange phone numbers on a parking lot. You propose
to help a fellow when in need. You belong to same world.
A world long gone, where gentlemen drivers were caring
of each others, would it be on the commute to work, or
overlanding through Africa. Land Rover owners still
share this spirit: they call it the Land Rover Spirit.
In despite of everything, Land Rover remain attached to a certain idea of Adventure.
If the Land Rover was originally designed to become the
farmer's best friend, it soon was seen as the perfect
car to go around the world, too. Lack of serious
competitors in the 50's surely explains why Land Rover
was the chosen car to travel on long journeys: it was
the only vehicle which loading and off road capacities
could carry all the required equipment (and spare parts)
trough remote areas.
- In the 50's and 60's, half of the Africa being a
British colony, natural preference was given to Land
Rover over Jeep, which anyway had to be a left-behind
ex-WWII wreck with no room at all, or a newer model
that were to be imported from the US first...
anyway... as a consequence, Land Rover succeeded in
exporting cars all over the world: NGO, ambulances,
stone quarries, road development companies or mining
consortia were relying on Land Rover floats.
- Daktari TV show, in the 60's, in despite of its US
origins, featured several Land Rover, nailing deep
into millions of children brain that only a Land Rover
was good enough to support a vet' in the African bush.
- From the 70's, the Japanese productions seriously ate the Land Rover market shares in remote countries, thanks to their reliability. "The Gods must be crazy" movie being the perfect illustration of the growing frustration of the Land Rover owners.
- The Camel Trophy participated in restoring the image
of an unstoppable vehicle, during insanely tough raids
which, sometimes, ended in helicopter lifts of the
stuck vehicles from impenetrable jungles.
What's left for the future ?
8 billions of human beings on an always smaller planet, an aversion towards combustion engine cars: the future doesn't look brilliant for the Land Rover enthusiast.
Land Rover stopped producing cars with a purpose in
2016, turning the back to its clientele and leaving it
all to its former competitors, it looks like the Land
Rover as we knew them must now be called "classic" Land
Rover i.e. pre 2016.
With a claimed 70% of produced cars still on the road,
Land Rover won't get out of the scenery any soon. They
surely have their moods but, all in all, remain reliable
like few others. And if not reliable, at least
reparable. Which other car can claim that today ?
This means that our future, as car enthusiasts, will
depend on our ability to keep our past alive: drive
them, restore them, save them for the future
generations, proud representatives of a time where
people knew how to fix their own belongings by
themselves, dared go out in the wild, where the planet
was vastly undiscovered, with less than 2.5 billion of
people walking on it, where the environment was not to
be protected because not yet messed up.
What do you want to read about next ?
Insider infos about Victoria, go to
the Gallery, or to the contact section ?