Quite a special year !

1963 is a quite special year among the 60's decade...

    Quenn Elisabeth in May 1963, in
                  a SIIA

    Let's make a quick review of the world, to better understand when Victoria came to the world.

    Almost 20 years after the end of 2nd World War, the now peaceful world is beyond post-war reconstruction: it is now all about economic growth, comfort innovations and fast development of most of the northern hemisphere countries.

    On the right, Queen Elisabeth and the Duke, in May 1963.

            Worldwide population in 1963

    With a population of around 3 billion people, the world is growingly being divided in two: the Western free democratic world, including the USA and Western Europe, opposed to the Eastern communist ideology, from Eastern Europe, Russia (USSR) up to China far east coast.

        Geostrategic mess: the Cold War starts

    At the end of 1960, the multi-controlled city of Berlin, Germany, becomes the epicentre of a worldwide crisis: USSR want the Western to leave post-2WW occupied West-Berlin and start to build the Berlin Wall around Allies-controlled Berlin.

    In Asia, the USA Intelligence support non-communist South Viet Nam, opposed to North Viet Nam, supported by China. USA elected Pdt John F. Kennedy ensure "the continuation of the free world".

    The 60's see the installation of nuclear-capable missiles by all countries who possess the capacity to build them, ultimately leading to the Cuban Missile crisis, which officially started the Cold War in 1962, ending only in 1979. If the "hot" war is avoided in 1962, USSR last-minute withdrawing the missiles from Cuba, the world is at a tipping point. It is at around this time that the US and USSR agree to install a direct phonline to allow direct communication to solve such crisis.

            US President shot dead in 1963

    It is shortly after Victoria starts working on the farm in Switzerland that US President JFK flies to West Berlin (which means flying above East Germany, ruled by the USSR) to deliver an historical speech about freedom, supporting the local population: "Ich bin ein Berliner !"

    At the end of the year 1963, JFK is publically assasinated during a procession in Dallas.

    In the UK, James Bond's "From Russia with love" is the second film picturing the now famous fictional secret agent. Meanwhile, in the US, a massive march to support civil rights sees M.L. King delivering his "I have a dream" speech.

    It will be in August 1964 that the USA officialy engage in the Viet Nam war, with troops arriving in early 1965.      

            Cold winter 1962 - 1963

    The cold season in Europe is terrible that year: Victoria was built during the coldest UK winter in 200 years ! Temperature at their lowest (-24°c in Switzerland, -22°c in Scotland, -26°c in France) and, on top of that, during an unusually long period of time (84 days under zero in France): lakes, rivers and even sea shores freeze, along with heavy snow storms (17cm in Corsica, more than 30cm in the south of France and up to 10 meters in central France) and terrible winds blow. This winter is simply exceptional.

    Starting at around Christmas, the snow fell during nearly three months. Consequences: stuck transportation around Europe (trains, trucks and cars) means rising food prices, water pipes frozen forcing people to collect water in buckets from road tankers, telephone lines brought down and farmers unable to feed their livestock dying from starvation. Without any doubt, Victoria was assembled during this little ice-age and delivered shortly after the last snow melted down, heading Switzerland...

    During the 60 following years, UK never experienced an even mild-severe winter again !

            UK best ever year car production in 1963

    The car industry is booming: 1963 is the US second best production year (after year 1955) with around 8 million of cars produced during that year. China in these years produced a fistful of 25'000 cars per year ! These numbers must be compared with recent production data: 10 Mio per year built in the USA… but around 25 Mio in China these days. The UK, comparatively, was producing around 2 Mio cars annually in the 60's, down to 1 Mio today.

    But the UK best ever year was 1963 with 2.3 Mio cars produced !
    It means that Victoria was one of the drop in this British peak-ever production ocean. Actually, UK was ranking 3rd car producer worldwide in the 60's: today it is only 18th.

    Another country is interesting to follow: if Japan annual production was a dozen of thousands units in the 50's, it increased fast : around 500'000 in the 60's to up to 5 Mio  just ten years later ! The Japanese car annual production peaked at 13 Mio in the 90's to since slowly decrease down to around 9 Mio per year, during the last 2 decades.

    All in all, the Japanese were the true competitors who hit the UK share markets in the 70's: better comfort, pragmatic engineering and constant quality increase made the difference...

            1963 sees the rise of The Beatles

    The year 1963 is the rise to fame of The Beatles, from Liverpool. They release their first album just one month before Victoria's drove out of the production line. It is the same year that will be used the term "beatlemania", still known today.

    In the USA, the Beach Boys sing "Surfin' USA" and hit #1 of the charts, followed by The Ronettes "Be my baby" while the Rolling Stones, formed in 1962 in London, starts their 6 decades long career. Victoria just reaches Switzerland when US singer Johnny Cash releases "Ring Of Fire", the biggest hit of his career.

    Sciences and technology

    Sadly, no breaking news in astronomy or science during this year, apart maybe from the world first lung transplant. On the inventions side: Kodak releases the Instamatic and Polaroid... the color Polaroid. The still famous and still produced "lava lamp" was designed in Great Britain. The "smiley" face was invented in the USA during 1963. The first ever mouse was designed as a pragmatic solution to control a pointer during presentations.

    The cassette tape, successful medium for music and computer data in the 80s, was actually introduced in 1963, being invented by Philips the year before. But Victoria never had a cassette player installed, as the shaky suspension would have surely killed any tape being played in it. Anyway... whatever music played in a land Rover, you could not even hear it.


    The 60's was the decade that saw the democratization of the flying industry. During the 60's, the jet-airplanes start replacing the piston-engines: civil airlines start changing their aging DC-7, Constellation and Stratocruisers with modern successors B-707, Convair, DC-8 and Caravelle.

    On the war aircrafts side, sadly on the rise again with Cold War concerns increasing, the same evolution happens. The war-birds carrying old fashioned guns and bombs are being replaced by jet powered aircraft, armed with guided missiles. The English period-matching Victoria the land Rover is the English Electric Lightning, the only Mach 2 fighter produced by the UK industry during this period, and doing that without afterburners !

    The legend-to-be F-4 Phantom first flew in 1963, quickly entering in force in the US army. It became the versatile and adaptable Viet Nam icon. Not less than 766 Phantoms were lost during Viet Nam war. Of course, the Mirage III interceptor was a successful fighter in the 60's, tested in real conditions by Israel surpassing all Soviet's fighters of its time. His big brother the Mirage IV, introduced in 1963 as well, nuclear capable strategic bomber, offered a Mach 2 nuclear delivery. The F-5 Tiger, also presented in 1963, delivered from 1964, became the standard dotation in the Swiss Army from 1978, in a modernised version.

    On the helicopter side, the unmistakable BELL UH-1 Huey, introduced in 1962, is another perfect multitask platform.   


Worldwide population: 3 billion people
(2023: 8 billion)

Cold war

1962 Cuban missiles crisis is the "official" start of 30 years of struggle


1963 sees the assassination of a US president for the 4th time (and hopefully last) in USA history

Ice Age

The winter 1962-1963 is the longest and coldest in 200 years.
Since then, UK never ever experienced even a serious winter

Rock the planet

It is in 1963 that The Beatles issue their first album. They will become the best-selling music act of all time

UK peak car production

1963 sees the UK highest car production ever...
and probably forever

Recent Photos

A selection of Victoria's most recent pictures