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Maurice Wilks, Rover's chief engineer and brother of company Chairman Spencer Wilks, used an army surplus Jeep on his estate in Anglesey, North Wales. It was this vehicle which inspired the notion of producing an adaptable workhorse for farmers, and very soon the first prototype 'Land-Rovers' (based on the WWII Willys Overland Jeep) including the centre-steer prototype, were built. The Rover car company only thought it had found a short-term solution to post-war shortages: The Land-Rover's body was made of 'Birmabright' aluminium alloy at a time when steel was in short supply. But over 60 years later, Land Rovers continue to be produced for customers around the world, and the 4x4 utility vehicle is a much copied concept.


Land Rover Centre Steer Prototype
Land-Rover Centre Steer Prototype.

Land Rover Centre Steer Prototype Land Rover Centre Steer Prototype

Land Rover Centre Steer Prototype
Land-Rover Centre Steer Prototype.

1948 to 1958

Series I Land Rover
The 80 inch SWB Land-Rover, with a 1.6 litre petrol engine, made it's world debut at the Amsterdam motor show 30 April 1948. It featured full-time 4WD with a front free-wheel mechanism which could be locked by a "ring-pull" control. The headlights were mounted behind the radiator grille, which made them hard to clean. The side lights were mounted on the bulkhead.
1949: 80 inch Station-wagon model.
1949: Headlights "through" the radiator grille.
1950: Selectable 2WD or 4WD - the free-wheel mechanism is dropped.
1951: 2.0 litre petrol engine. 80 inch station wagon discontinued.
1952: Exterior door handles, new inverted-T radiator grill, side lights on wings.

50,000th Land Rover
50,000th Land-Rover. Exact Date Unknown.

1952 May: Rover signs a licence deal with Minerva of Belgium to build 'Minerva Land-Rovers'.
1953: Tempo of Germany begin building 'Tempo Land-Rovers' under licence.
1953: 107 inch model introduced; SWB lengthened to 86 inches.
1954: Station wagon reintroduced.
1954 Autumn: 100,000th Land Rover produced.
1955: 10-seater LWB station wagon introduced.
1956: Wheelbases increased by 2 inches (88 inch and 109 inch), except 107 inch Station Wagon.
1956: Rover signs a licence deal with Metalurgica de Santa Ana, Spain.
1957: Optional 2.0 litre diesel engine. Fully-floating half shafts on LWB.

1958 to 1961

Series II Land Rover

1958: (April) Series II introduced with 2.25 litre petrol engine.
Some early machines had the old 2 litre petrol engine fitted.
1958: Austin launch their Series I look-alike, the Austin Gipsy.
1959: 109 inch 10 seater station wagon introduced.
1959: November, 250,000th Land Rover produced.

250,000th Land Rover
250,000th Land Rover.

1961 to 1970

1961: 2.25 litre diesel engine introduced.
1961: Series IIA Land Rover introduced, with 2.25 litre petrol or 2.25 litre diesel engine.
1962: 12-seater LWB station wagon
1962: Forward Control Land-Rover introduced.
1965: (approx) prototypes of the Military Lightweight produced.
1966: Optional 2.6 litre 6 cylinder petrol engine on LWB and FC.
Improved FC (series IIb).
1966: 500,000th Land-Rover produced.

500,001st Land Rover
500,001st Land Rover.

1967: New dashboard, single concealed wiper motor.
1968: Headlights move to wings on export models.
1968: Military Lightweight 88 inch air-transportable released.
1968: The Rover Company becomes part of the British Leyland Motor Corporation (B.M.C.).
1968: Austin (also now part of B.M.C.) cease production of the Gipsy.
1969: Stronger Salisbury rear axle on 6 cylinder models.
1970: Headlights move to wings on all models.
1970: Range Rover released - 3.5 litre V8 petrol engine, 100 inch wheelbase, 4-speed manual, full-time 4WD, locking centre diff, coil springs, self-levelling.
(On very early models the centre diff was also limited-slip but this feature was dropped as unnecessary.)

1971 to 1979

Series III Land Rover

1971: (Oct) Series III introduced. New all synchromesh gearbox.
1971: 750,000th Land Rover produced.
1972: Stronger Salisbury rear axle standard on all 109 inch models.
1972: Series III version of the Military Lightweight introduced.
1972: Military 101 inch Forward Control production begins - 3.5 litre V8 petrol engine, LT95 4-speed gearbox, permanent 4WD.
1974: End of 'Land Rover' imports into USA (Range Rover imports started 1987).
1976 June: 1,000,000th Land-Rover produced.

1,000,000th Land Rover
1,000,000th Land Rover.

1979 to 1989

1979: Land-Rover Stage 1, leaf-sprung LWB (109 inch), 3.5 litre V8, LT95 4-speed gearbox, permanent 4WD.
1981: Camel Trophy switches to Land-Rover products - Range Rover in this instance.

1981: 4 door Range Rover introduced.
1981 Late: Stage 1 Hi-Capacity Pickup introduced.
1983: Land Rover 110, coil sprung, LWB (110 inch)
1984: Land Rover 90, coil sprung, SWB (actually 92.9 inches).
1985: Land-Rover Stage 1 production ends - the last of the series Land Rovers.

1985: fuel-injected 3.5 litre V8 introduced in Range Rover.

1986: VM 2.4 litre 4-cyl turbo-diesel option for Range Rover.
1987: Land Rover signs a licence deal with Turkish company Otokar.
1988: British Aerospace buys Rover Group for £150 million.

1989: 3.9 litre V8 introduced in Range Rover.
1989: Land Rover Discovery  is unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Tuesday 12 September.
Coil sprung, full-time 4WD, 5-speed manual LT77 gearbox, LT230T transfer case, locking centre diff, 100 inch wheelbase.

G-WAC -press launch Discovery

A G-WAC Discovery - Land Rover Picture.

1989 Dec: Rover announced that the hyphen in Land-Rover was being dropped.

1990 to 1999

1990: Camel Trophy adopts the Land Rover Discovery.

1990: VM 2.5 litre turbo-diesel option available. for Range Rover.
1990: Land Rover Defender 90, Defender 110, Defender 130, including crew cab introduced. (new marketing name for updated Land Rover 90 / 110 / 127).

1992: Range Rover gains electronic air suspension, ABS, electronic traction control, silent chain transfer case with viscous coupling centre diff. (200Tdi engine replaces VM diesel option.)
1992: Vogue SE, 3.9 litre V8, 2540mm (100 inch), Vogue LSE, 3.9 litre V8, 2743mm (108 inch)(4.2 litre V8 in UK).

1993: Discovery gains 1994cc MPi petrol 4cyl engine option.
1994 11 Jan: Last 2-door Range Rover built.
1994: Rover Group sold to BMW.

1994: Discovery update: 3.9 V8i and 2.5 (4cyl) Tdi, 2 door and 4 door, 5-speed manual (R380) and 4-speed auto, driver's air-bag and optional passenger air-bag.

1994: Range Rover gains driver and passenger air-bags. 300Tdi is the new diesel option.

1994 Sept 29: New Range Rover (P38) released, code name Pegasus) 108 inch wheelbase,
electronic air suspension, ABS, traction control, 5-speed manual transmission (R380) or 4-speed auto, semi-floating hubs, rear axle located by Panhard rod and composite radius arms (no A-frame), more rounded styling.
4.0 V8, base and SE.
2.5 TD, base and DSE, (6 cylinder BMW turbo diesel).
4.6 V8 HSE (automatic only).
1995: The original Range Rover continued as the Classic until its end was announced in November 1995.
1996: UK Ministry of Defence orders 8000 Land Rover Defender XD110 and XD90 (XD - eXtra Duty) (a.k.a. WOLF) 4WDs to be delivered 1996-2000, and 800 Defender XD130 ambulances.
1996 Feb: Last Range Rover Classic (No.317,615) made.
1997: CB40 is revealed and named as Freelander. The new small Land Rover with monocoque (body shell) construction, transversely mounted engine and no low-ratio or "proper" transfer-case. Nevertheless it takes on the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V head-on in the lifestyle SUV market. 1.8i, petrol, 2.0di diesel 3 door Soft back, 3 door Hardback and 5 door Station Wagon options. Full time front biased 4WD. On sale in UK late 1997. Also used in the 1998 Camel Trophy.
1998 Sept: New Discovery 2 - Code-name Tempest - launched (5 September) - 4.0 litre V8i petrol or 2.5 litre 5-cylinder Td5 diesel, longer and wider than Discovery 1.
1999 Sept: BMW states that the 'Rover Group' name is to disappear.

2000 to 2009

2000 March: BMW decides to sell Land Rover to Ford for about 2.7bn US dollars, and later Rover cars to a management group called 'Phoenix'.
2000, July 1: Ford takes control of Land Rover.

2000 August: Freelander: 2.5 V6 petrol and 2.0 Td4 diesel versions released.
2001 late: New Range Rover III launched with all independent suspension, BMW V8 petrol and diesel engines.

2002, July 17: 500,000th Range Rover built (total of all models).
2004: Discovery 3 (LR3 in some markets) Launched.
Jaguar 4.4 litre V8 petrol, 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel, 4.0-litre V6 petrol. Full-time four-wheel drive.
Both petrol derivatives are matched to a six-speed automatic ‘intelligent shift’ transmission, also available with the diesel though this has a six-speed manual as standard.
2005: Range Rover Sport released. Smaller than Range Rover III, based on Discovery 3s 'T5' chassis.
2005, April: Rover Cars close down, halting supplies of the 1.8 litre petrol engine for Freelander.

2005: Range Rover III engine options changed to Jaguar-derived 4.4 litre V8 petrol, giving 300 hp, and a supercharged version of the Jaguar 4.2 litre V8 developing 400 hp.

2006 June: Land Rover announce that Defender is reprieved to 2012, with a new (Ford derived) Euro IV engine and upgrade package.
2006 June: Range Rover III gains a Twin-turbo V8 diesel engine option, TDV8.
2006 July: Freelander 2 (LR2 in some markets) is launched at the British International Motor Show in London.
2006 September: Defender's new 2.4 litre Euro IV engine (Ford DuraTorq / Puma) and trim package is announced on Defenders for 2007, extending the design life to 2012.
2007 March: Land Rover for sale?
Ford seeks buyers for Land Rover and Jaguar, on a backdrop of a third year of record sales for Land Rover.
2007, May 8: 4,000,000th Land Rover built, a Discovery 3 (LR3).
2007 November: Land Rover announced a special 60th anniversary Defender model, the Defender SVX. The SVX was available in 90 soft top and 90 station wagon versions, distinguished by unique silver SVX badges against metallic black paintwork and satin black graphic details, 'diamond-turned' five-spoke alloy wheels and clear LED rear lights. Only 200 were to be sold in the UK - 140 two-seater soft tops, and 60 of the four-seat station wagons.
2008: Land Rover's 60th anniversary year.
2008, January: LRX cross-coupe concept unveiled.
2008, March: Ford say Tata to Land Rover (and Jaguar) in a reputed £1.15 billion deal (2.3bn US dollars). Ford has agreed to continue supplies of engines and other technologies to new owner Tata Motors.
2009 LRX concept given production green light as a 'Baby Range Rover'.
2009 September: Discovery 4 launched on UK roads.
2009 Project 'Icon' revealed. This will be the eventual replacement for the much loved Defender, which is being killed off by new euro motoring design laws.
It is expected that the new vehicle will be based on the Discovery 3 (LR 3) / Range Rover Sport 'T5' chassis.

2010 -

2010 January: Chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, David Smith, quits after union talks over plant closure break down.
2010 September 30th Land Rover unveils Range Rover Evoque at the Paris motor show.
2010 November 4th Land Rover celebrates production of it's millionth Range Rover.

1 millionth Range Rover

1 Millionth Range Rover (Land Rover Press Picture)

2011 August: Land Rover launches a new Euro V compliant 2.2 litre diesel engine for 2012 Defender models, extending Defender production for a few more years.

2011 September: Range Rover Evoque goes on sale in the UK.
2011 September: Land Rover unveil a project icon concept vehicle, the "DC100" at the Frankfurt auto show, the Defender replacement is now slated for release in 2015.

2012 February : 1,00,00th Discovery built (tally of all types). Goes on 'Journey of Discovery' to China.

2012 May : 300,000th Freelander 2 Built.

2012 6th September: L405 Range Rover Global Reveal Event at The Royal Ballet School in Richmond, London.

2013 26th March: New Range Rover Sport model revealed at the New York International Auto Show.

If you feel that something here is incorrect or incomplete, please e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Links - The Land Rover Family Tree

The Land Rover Family Tree is created by Francesc Serra Graells and is sourced from the website - Our Land-Rover Series One . I have managed to collect a few of the older versions of the tree for comparison. All of these versions listed below are in PDF format only. If you have any versions that are not already here, please email me a copy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. thank you.

Land Rover Family Tree V1.3

Land Rover Family Tree V1.9

Land Rover Family Tree V2.1

Land Rover Family Tree V2.7

Land Rover Family Tree V2.9

Land Rover Family Tree V3.0

Land Rover Family Tree V3.1

Land Rover Family Tree V3.2

Land Rover Family Tree V3.3

Land Rover Family Tree V3.4

Land Rover Family Tree V3.5

Land Rover Family Tree V3.6

Land Rover Family Tree V3.7

Land Rover Family Tree V3.9

Land Rover Family Tree V4.1

Our Land-Rover Series One