We’re a bit past the actual anniversary, but we can still celebrate #70yearsoflandrover with this lovely #LandRover Series IIa. The SII (and SIIa) dates from 1958 (this is a late #1960s example) but was basically just a slightly restyled continuation of the flat-sided, utilitarian original.
Conceived in 1947, the original Land Rover was a real shot in the dark - #RoverCars was primarily known for solid, old-fashioned near luxury cars, the kind preferred by Doctors, Solicitors, and MPs. But such cars were not in demand in the postwar environment of deprivation - just getting materials to build cars was a challenge. Supplies of raw materials were reserved for industrial uses or for vehicles for export (to bring home cash), and the prewar looking Rover P3 was neither of those things.
Taking inspiration from the many surplus Jeeps that littered Britain after the war and Ferguson Tractors, Rover’s chief designer Maurice Wilks designed a light #offroad#4wd vehicle for farm and agricultural use - at first based directly on a Jeep chassis but with Rover P3 mechanicals and a magnesium-alloy body. The flat-sided body was designed to be made cheaply, and the whole product was only intended to generate cash until the U.K. economy recovered. At first, it was also classified as a commercial vehicle.
But the iconic offroader quickly outgrew those origins. The first longer-wheelbase trucks appeared in 1956, and in 1957, Rover decided to refine it a bit, with chief stylist David Bache turning his attention to making the body a little less “military surplus.” Underneath, much of the original continued, with a 2.6L I-6 joining the gas and diesel fours of the original.
There are very few differences between the II and the IIa, though the headlights moved to the fenders in 1969. Sales of the IIa were very strong - but in the U.S., changing regulations and slow sales caused imports to end in 1974. With gradual refinements, the original Land Rover continued as the SIII into 1985, with a more refined version, the Defender 90/110, arriving in 1983 and lasting into 2016. Land Rovers returned to the U.S. in 1987 (Range Rovers only), and the Defender returned from 1993-1997.
The Best of British 🇬🇧Rain, beer, mud, dogs plucky determination. And Land Rovers. Whenever I see one of these best of British 4x4’s, it always reminds me that I wish I’d not sold my old Series Three Stage One flat-front LWB V8 model. Is there a Land Rover in your life?