Birthdays are an annual affair so it’s not surprising if they lose a bit of their sheen after a while, at least birthdays of others. But there is something special about a round figure when it comes how many decades old something is, like an iconic car brand. Aston recently celebrated a similar landmark for their DB bloodline, but this one has played a bit of a special role in the history of the world – the Land Rover.
What was first built as the ultimate utility vehicle for the military during WWII to survive the worst conditions, was debuted as a passenger car in 1948 at the Amsterdam Motor Show, a single vehicle that kicked off a new brand name – Land Rover. Today it is the first choice as a 4×4 that offers a blend of toughness and comfort and has sold over 7 million units worldwide. At the occasion of its 70th birthday on 30th April 2018, Prof. Dr. Ralf Speth (Jaguar Land Rover CEO) commented, “Land Rover was born with the launch of a single vehicle. Today our family of SUVs is testament to the pioneering spirit of innovation that has characterised Land Rover for seven decades. Our family of Defender, Discovery and Range Rover models provides unrivalled capability, versatility and luxury, giving us the perfect foundation for another 70 years of success. Land Rover is so much more than just the most capable all-terrain vehicles. It connects people through a passion for adventure and for making more of our world. From our employees to customers and enthusiasts, this is a family that makes Land Rover special.”
As part of their celebrations, Land Rover had already announced their plans to renovate a truly special unrestored classic — 1 of 3 pre-production cars from the original Amsterdam launch at the hands of the experts at Land Rover Classic. It took the stage next to another celebratory production with a little help from the mad boffins at SVO – Defender Works V8. It is a homage to the earlier Defenders with high-powered engines. This too is a collector’s edition of which 150 units will be built of the fastest ever version of the Defender that Land Rover has built. The Defender Works V8 is powered by a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 tuned to produce 400bhp and 515Nm of torque. Land Rover Classics paired it to an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission which can propel it from 0 to 100kph in around 6 seconds with a top speed of 170kph.
I first came to know of Land Rover from watching BBC Top Gear where Hammond paid tribute to the Defender by winching it up a dam. Land Rovers in India, at least the areas I inhabit, are rare but the current model lineup is nothing short of impressive – Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Discovery, Discovery Sport and Evoque. The newest addition to the lineup is very pretty but I have yet to spot a Range Rover Velar on the open roads. I’m no expert in the history of Land Rover and my lack of interest in driving off tarmac makes me an unsuitable candidate to talk you through the brand’s timeline. Luckily, they’ve made a chart just for such a circumstance and we can go through it here:
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