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Land Rover recently celebrated its 65th birthday on April 30th, marking decades of off-road technological advancement and innovation since its inception in 1948.
The manufacturer's history
Established by Maurice Wilks, chief designer at the Rover Company, Land Rover was first established on his farm in Newborough, Anglesey, after he found inspiration from the American Jeep, which saw much use in World War II.
The first prototype, which was developed at the end of 1947, was nicknamed Centre Steer and was built upon a Jeep chassis and axles. That was followed a year later by the first Land Rover, which came to be known as Series I. Thanks to the quality build of the vehicle and robust construction, the brand quickly became known for its extreme durability and strength.
It went through continued refinement during the 1950s and 1960s with the launch of the Series II, leading to improved stability and a tighter turning circle. By this point it was becoming the market leading 4x4 manufacturer.
Yet, it was in 1970 that Land Rover made an important, ground-breaking step in vehicle manufacturing with the launch of the Range Rover - adding the comfort and performance of an on-road car with the same off-road capabilities of a Land Rover.
Over the next few decades, Land Rover continued to develop its innovative technology, making its vehicles more efficient and reducing emissions while maintaining the quality traits it became famous for. Landmark vehicles included the Defender, the Discovery, the Freelander, the Range Rover Sport and, most recently, the Range Rover Evoque.
Celebrating 65 years
Packington Estate near Solihull will host celebratory events to mark the 65-year milestone, the location where Land Rover first tested its initial prototypes, as well as later models released in the 1960s and 1970s.
More than 130 heritage vehicles will be on show to demonstrate the manufacturer's superb range of capability, which includes being used in the military, emergency services, on expeditions and for the royal family.
"Since 1948, every component in our vehicles has been designed and engineered with intent and Land Rover continues to this day, to build the world’s most capable all-purpose vehicles. A blend of refinement, performance and unmatched all-terrain capability make Land Rover vehicles distinctive and unique, ready to tackle the world’s most challenging and inhospitable terrain," said John Edwards, Land Rover's global brand director.
This vintage collection will sit comfortably alongside their modern counterparts, including the new Electric Defender research vehicle and a car with a nine-speed transmission - a first for a passenger motor.
Anniversary edition Defender
In order to celebrate the 65th birthday of the Land Rover, the manufacturer has launched the Defender LXV Special Edition.
Based upon the standard Land Rover Defender Hard Top, it is equipped with a 2.2-litre diesel engine and a six-speed manual tramission that can generate 122PS at 3,500 rpm of power and 360Nm at 2,000 rpm of torque.
It comes with 16-inch Sawtooth alloy wheels and a Santorini Black finish that contrasts with the Corris Grey roof, grille, facia and headlight surrounds. Inside the vehicle, owners can enjoy utmost comfort on the full leather seats, while the union flag decal on the rear of the Defender will remind onlookers of the company's British heritage. Prices in the UK are to start from £28,765.