Six decades ago, a motoring icon made its public debut when the original Land Rover was shown at a motor show in Amsterdam in 1948.
The current Defender (not sold in Canada) is clearly descended from that first vehicle, known as a Series 1. Extraordinarily, they even share a couple original parts, an oil filler plug and a cleat for tying down the canvas roof. But the rest of the vehicle technology has moved on considerably.
Since the first Series I model rolled off the production line at Solihull, the vehicles created by Land Rover have defined the SUV market. In 1970, the company introduced what’s been called the most significant SUV ever, the Range Rover — the first SUV to be equally capable on-road as off-road.
Their spirit of adventure has been evident from the earliest days. Adventurers, farmers, scientists, naturalists, and outdoor sport enthusiasts have all used Land Rovers’ capability to access some of the world’s most inhospitable regions. For 60 years, the company’s vehicles have also worked for a multitude of humanitarian and conservation organizations, represented today by the brand’s formal ties with the Born Free Foundation, Biosphere, and the Royal Geographical Society.