Land Rover


The History of Land Rover

   

Land Rover is a 4x4, all-terrain vehicle manufacturer, based in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England, now operated as part of the Jaguar Land Rover business owned by Tata Motors of India.
Originally the term Land Rover referred to one specific vehicle, a pioneering civilian all-terrain utility vehicle launched on 30 April 1948, at the Amsterdam Motor Show, but was later used as a brand for several distinct models, all capable of four-wheel drive.
Starting out as a model in the Rover Company's product range, the Land Rover brand developed, first as a marque, then as a separate company, developing a range of four-wheel drive capable vehicles under a succession of owners, including British Leyland, British Aerospace and BMW. In 2000, the company was sold by BMW to the Ford Motor Company, becoming part of their Premier Automotive Group. In June 2008, Ford sold its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors.
The first Land Rover was designed in 1948 in the United Kingdom (on the island of Anglesey in Wales) by Maurice Wilks, chief designer at the British car company Rover on his farm in Newborough, Anglesey. The first Land Rover prototype, later nicknamed 'Centre Steer', was built on a Jeep chassis. A distinctive feature is their bodies, constructed of a lightweight rustproof proprietary alloy of aluminium and magnesium called Birmabright. This material was used because of the post-war steel shortage and the plentiful supply of post-war aircraft aluminium. This metal's resistance to corrosion was one of the factors that allowed the vehicle to build up a reputation for longevity in the toughest conditions.  The early choice of colour was dictated by military surplus supplies of aircraft cockpit paint, so early vehicles only came in various shades of light green; all models until recently feature sturdy box section ladder-frame chassis.
The early vehicles, such as the Series I, were field-tested at Long Bennington and designed to be field-serviced; advertisements for Rovers cite vehicles driven thousands of miles on banana oil. Now with more complex service requirements this is less of an option. The British Army maintains the use of the mechanically simple 2.5 litre 4-cylinder 300TDi engined versions rather than the electronically controlled 2.5 litre 5-cylinder TD5 to retain some servicing simplicity. This engine also continued in use in some export markets using units built at a Ford plant in Brazil, where Land Rovers were built under license and the engine was also used in Ford pick-up trucks built locally. Production of the TDi engine ended in the United Kingdom in 2006, meaning that Land Rover no longer offers it as an option. International Motors of Brazil offer an engine called the 2.8 TGV Power Torque, which is essentially a 2.8 litre version of the 300TDi, with a corresponding increase in power and torque. All power is combined with an All-Terrain Traction Control which gives active terrain response; Ferrari uses a similar system in race traction.
Since its purchase by Ford, Land Rover has been closely associated with Jaguar. In many countries they share a common sales and distribution network (including shared dealerships), and some models now share components and production facilities.
On 11 June 2007, Ford Motor Company announced its plan to sell Land Rover, along with Jaguar.
On 26 March 2008, Ford announced that it had agreed to sell its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors, and that the sale was expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2008. On 2 June 2008, the sale to Tata Motors was completed by both parties. Included in the deal were the rights to three other British brands: Jaguar's own Daimler, as well as two dormant brands Lanchester and Rover. BMW and Ford had previously retained ownership of the Rover brand to protect the integrity of the Land Rover brand, with which 'Rover' might be confused in the US 4x4 market; the Rover brand was originally used under license by MG Rover until it collapsed in 2005, at which point it was re-acquired by the then Ford Motor Company owned Land Rover Limited.
Land Rovers were manufactured primarily at the Solihull plant, near Birmingham, but production of the "Freelander" was moved to the Jaguar car factory at Halewood near Liverpool, a former Ford car plant. Defender models are assembled under licence in several locations worldwide, including Spain (Santana Motors), Iran (Pazhan Morattab), Brazil (Karmann)and Turkey (Otokar). The former BL/Rover Group technical centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire is home to the corporate headquarters.
The use of Land Rovers by the British and Commonwealth military, as well as on long term civilian projects and expeditions, is mainly due to the marque's off-road performance. For example, the short wheelbase version of the Land Rover Defender is capable of tackling a gradient of 45 degrees, an approach angle of up to 50 degrees, a departure angle of 53 degrees and a ramp break-over of up to 25 degrees. A distinctive feature of all Land Rover products has been their exceptional axle articulation (the degree to which the wheels have vertical travel, with high amounts allowing them to maintain contact (and traction) with the ground over uneven surfaces), which is currently 7 inch (178 mm) at the front axle and 8.25 inch (210 mm) at the rear on basic Defender models. Despite the development of more car-like, road-orientated vehicles over years, Land Rover continues to market all its vehicles as fully off-road capable- even the Range Rover, which in its current guise competes with luxury saloons is equipped with a two-speed transfer box and long-travel suspension, as well as an array of electronic aids such as Land Rover's 'Terrain Response' system and traction control. The drivetrain and structure is capable of sustained heavy off-roading in all conditions as well as a towing loads of up to 4 tons.
Right from the start in 1948, PTOs (Power take-off) were integral to the Land Rover concept, enabling farm machinery and many other items to be run with the vehicle stationary.
PTOs remained regular options on Series I, II and III Land Rovers up to the demise of the Series Land Rover in 1985. It is still possible to order an agricultural PTO on a Defender as a special order.
One of the other capabilities of the utility Land Rover (the Series/Defender models) is that they are available in a huge variety of body styles, ranging from a simple canvas-topped pick-up truck to a 12-seat fully trimmed Station Wagon. Both Land Rover and out-of-house contractors have offered a huge range of conversions and adaptations to the basic vehicle, such as fire engines, excavators, 'cherry picker' hydraulic platforms, ambulances, snowploughs, and 6-wheel drive versions, as well as one-off special builds including amphibious Land Rovers and vehicles fitted with tracks instead of wheels.

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