From our earliest days, the desire to create a vehicle that will tackle any terrain has made Land Rover famous around the world. Over the past 65 years, the Land Rover family has grown into the highly respected range of vehicles that are sold in record numbers today. As Land Rover continues to go from strength to strength, we thought it was time to look back at the milestones in our history that have got us here. The last 65 years have been an adventure. Here’s to 65 more…

FROM 1948…


1948            First Land Rover launched

1948            Station wagon version

1950            First selectable 4WD

1957            Diesel engine introduced

1958            Series II Land Rover

1959            250,000th car built

1961            Series IIA with 2.25 diesel

1966            500,000th Land Rover produced

1971            Series III introduced

1990            First Defender built

2007            Major Defender evolution

2011            DC100 concept cars shown at Frankfurt

2013            LXV Special Edition celebrates 65 years of Land Rover

SALES TO DATE: 2,008,179


Maurice Wilks devised the Land Rover to replace a willys jeep that he used on his land




A Land Rover appeared in the film ‘Ice Cold In Alex’, even though the movie was set before Land Rover existed…

The first Land Rover design sketch was made in the sand on the beach at Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey by the engineering director of the British motor manufacturer, Rover. Maurice Wilks (right) owned land on the island and wanted a versatile vehicle that could double as a light tractor and off-roader. It was christened the ‘Land Rover’ and he showed the proposal to his brother Spencer, Rover’s managing director.

The project was approved in 1947 and a prototype was soon built using an American Willys Jeep. To counter the shortage of steel in post-war Britain, the Wilks brothers opted to clad the Land Rover in aluminium alloy, which was in plentiful supply and had the added benefit of being lightweight and resistant to corrosion.

Production proper began at Solihull in the summer of 1948. The original model was powered by a 1595cc engine that drove a permanent four-wheel drive transmission with low ratio gearing to increase off-road capability – a hallmark of every Land Rover to come.

The famous Land Rover oval logo has undergone many changes in its 65-year history. The original inspiration is said to have come from a pilchard tin. Part of a designer’s lunch, it left a mark on his drawing board which he copied for the vehicle’s badge.

As first introduced, the Land Rover was available only as an open utility vehicle with a wheelbase of 80 inches and a launch price of £450. To target the vital agricultural market, power take-offs could be fitted to enable the car to drive farming equipment. Specialist vehicles in the shape of a fire engine and mobile welder were soon developed.

What had once been considered as a stop gap until Rover could introduce a new post-war car, ended up being produced in greater numbers than the Rover themselves – an event anticipated by the board as early as November 1948.

An early attempt at building a more comfortable Land Rover came in 1948 when the first seven-seater station wagon, with a coachbuilt body by Tickford, was introduced. In the UK, it attracted Purchase Tax, from which the utility version was exempt. This made it very expensive, restricting its success in the UK, although many were sold overseas. The basic vehicle was also exported to the USA, generating crucial dollar revenue needed to repay Britain’s war debt.

The first year’s production was only 1758 vehicles but rose rapidly to 12,395 in 1949 and 16,795 in the following year. By the Land Rover’s 10th anniversary, production had topped 25,000; it was nearly 47,000 in 1968.

In 1949, the British Army ordered its first Land Rovers, quickly realising that the car could fulfil all of the roles of the complex and more expensive Austin Champ. The British Armed Forces eventually adopted Land Rovers in many different forms as their standard four-wheel drive vehicle.

In 1950, the permanent four-wheel drive system was replaced by a more conventional selectable arrangement. Four-wheel drive was engaged in low range and could also be selected in high range when required. Two years later the relatively underpowered 1.6-litre engine was replaced by a 2.0-litre unit.

More than 200,000 Series I Land Rovers had been made when the 10th anniversary was marked in 1958 by the launch of the Series II model; recognisable by its restyled body with side sills and rounded shoulders in the side panels. The petrol engine was enlarged to 2¼ litres and a redesign of the diesel followed in 1961. With the introduction of the new diesel, Land Rovers were redesignated as Series IIA.

In 1971 the upgraded Series III Land Rover was unveiled, featuring a new moulded grille, upgraded fascia and a full synchromesh gearbox was also fitted. In 1976 another milestone for the model line was reached when the millionth Land Rover (a Series III model) was built.

In 1984 Land Rovers received certain creature comforts – like wind-up windows – for the first time with the introduction of the Land Rover 90.

The Land Rover was renamed ‘Defender’ in 1990, a year after the new Discovery model went on sale. A major revamp in 2007 introduced such luxuries as a six-speed gearbox and even an MP3 music player connector. Around 25,000 are sold each year across the world and existing models show no signs of giving up. Series I Land Rovers sent to Costa Rica to work on coffee plantations in the 1950s are still being used to this day.

Unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Land Rover DC100 and DC100 Sport were two concept models that showcased a host of new technologies from Land Rover, including Terrain i-scanning, ‘always on’ communication telematics and Wade Aid – which is now available on the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

A number of updates introduced in 2012 saw the Defender equipped with a 2.2-litre diesel engine that delivered the same power and economy as its 2.4-litre forebear, making this the cleanest Defender yet. The optional Off-Road pack featured ABS, heavy duty rims and MTR tyres, a tow ball and under-ride protection bar.

Land Rover continued to champion innovation when it unveiled an Electric Defender research vehicle at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The research vehicle delivers zero emissions while retaining its tough, go-anywhere capability – even wading to 800mm. The diesel engine and gearbox have been replaced by a 70kW (94bhp), 330Nm electric motor twinned with a 300-volt, 27kWh lithium-ion battery, giving a range of more than 50 miles. In low-speed, off-road use it can last for up to eight hours before recharging.

The new Defender LXV Special Edition (below) has been built to celebrate 65 years of Land Rover and features orange contrast stitching to the interior to complement exterior LXV decals and unique leather seats with LXV embossed headrests. The LXV is available in a choice of two exterior body colours – Santorini Black and Fuji White.


From the day the first Land Rover rolled off the production line, those with a sense of derring-do recognised its ideal qualities as the vehicle of choice for budding explorers. For the first time, previously unexplored areas of the planet were made accessible to scientists, environmentalists, naturalists and good old-fashioned thrill-seekers, who used their Land Rovers to access some of the world’s most inhospitable regions.

A British Army team, led by Major John Blashford-Snell, affirmed the all-terrain properties of the original Range Rover when in 1972 they drove two cars from the north of Alaska to the southernmost tip of Argentina, crossing the infamous Darién Gap – a dense forest and swamp that prevents road access between central and South America.

Packed with everything from rubber boots and tinned custard to full dress uniforms, the vehicles fared better on the gruelling six-month journey than many of the team, 30 of whom had to be flown out due to insect and snake bites.

Land Rover’s spirit of adventure didn’t stop there, however. The famous Camel Trophies of the 1980s and 1990s saw Range Rovers, Series III Land Rovers, Defenders, Discoverys and Freelanders all tackle the so-called ‘Olympics of 4×4’. From the Amazon to the Far East, Australasia, Africa and Siberia, the Camel Trophy evolved from an all-out driving challenge to tests of human endurance, such as kayaking, mountain biking and water sports.

In 2003, Land Rover threw down a new gauntlet in the guise of the G4 Challenge, in which teams competed in the ultimate global adventure. Combining demanding 4×4 driving and extreme adventure sports with mind-bending strategy, the challengers competed in four week-long stages covering New York and the Eastern Seaboard, South Africa, Western Australia and the Wild West.

The 2006 Challenge saw competitors cross thousands of miles, through four countries on two continents – Thailand, Laos, Brazil and Bolivia – in support of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies (IFRC).


8,000 Miles 50 Days


Across 8,000 miles the expedition suffered only four punctures due to rutted roads

On 29th February 2012, the one millionth Land Rover Discovery rolled off the production line at Land Rover’s Solihull plant to embark, with two Discovery support cars, on a 50-day, 8,000-mile Journey of Discovery from Birmingham to Beijing.

Inspired by the first Land Rover six-month overland journey from London to Singapore in 1955 – a journey which covered 18,000 miles and wove its way through India, over the jungle-clad mountains of Assam, across northern Burma to Thailand and into Malaya – Land Rover had decided to embark on another ambitious Journey of Discovery to mark this one millionth milestone, with the aim of raising £1 million for a much needed water sanitation project in Uganda.

The expedition of four Land Rover Discoverys wound its way over 8,000 miles of varied terrain, via 13 countries, and travelled through a mix of urban and off-road destinations, revealing some fascinating stories along the way: from avalanches in Italy’s spectacular Aosta Valley to a police escort in Budapest’s Heroes Square, to the ghost town of Pripyat in Chernobyl and the once top-secret Balaklava underground submarine shelters in the Black Sea.

This contemporary Journey of Discovery took in an exclusive tour of the Kremlin, went gliding
in the Uzbekistan desert, met camels in Dunhuang’s Gobi desert, and after a stop at the Great Wall, raced along the home straight to the Beijing Auto Show in China. Together with the One Millionth Land Rover Discovery, these road-hardened vehicles proved themselves, beyond a doubt, to be the world’s most capable and versatile SUVs.

The Land Rover ‘Journey of Discovery’ succeeded in raising £1million for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in support of a Ugandan water sanitation project. The IFRC is Land Rover’s global humanitarian partner and this project was in addition to a three-year “Reaching Vulnerable People Around the World” global initiative. Launched in 2010, this initiative provides additional support for IFRC programmes in over 15 countries worldwide.

FROM 1970…


1970     Two-door Range Rover launched

1971     750,000th Land Rover built

1994     2nd generation Range Rover

1996     Range Rover Classic bows out after total production of 317,615 units

2001     Third-generation Range Rover with all-round independent air suspension

2005     4.4-litre V8 and 4.2-litre V8 supercharged engines added

2006     Terrain Response® and TDV8 diesel introduced

2012     All-new Range Rover launched – the world’s first all-aluminium SUV

SALES TO DATE: 821,406



By the mid 1960s, Rover’s market research team were reporting the emergence of a new market in America for recreational off-road vehicles. Following the evaluation of a number of American products, Rover began development of the ‘100-inch Station Wagon’, which would eventually emerge as the Range Rover.

A 20-strong team of engineers under the watchful eye of Charles Spencer King began to give flesh to the bare bones of the ‘civilised’ Land Rover concept. Amazingly for such an iconic design, very little ‘styling’ was actually carried out. According to ‘Spen’ King, the Range Rover’s design ‘evolved naturally… the shape just came as we worked out what was needed in terms of space’.

Despite the seemingly ad hoc approach to the car’s aesthetics, its design was rightly recognised throughout the world. It was the first car to be displayed at the Louvre
in Paris, where it was recognised for its design excellence.

Under the skin the Range Rover was remarkable, too. A strong ladder-type chassis ensured off-road durability and long-travel coil spring suspension (with up to 11 inches of axle movement) provided a very sophisticated ride for a 4×4 vehicle.

Coping with the higher power output of a 3.5-litre all-alloy V8 engine also necessitated some careful thought in the transmission and braking departments. An all-new, permanent four-wheel drive set-up was designed with a lockable centre differential. To stop this powerful vehicle it was obvious that conventional drum brakes would not be up to the task, so four-wheel disc brakes were adopted – still quite novel for the time.

At its launch in June 1970, the Range Rover was available in two-door guise, with an opening tailgate and a comparatively spartan interior – suitable for hosing out the dirt and debris expected to collect there. The reception accorded the car was astonishing; press coverage was immense and virtually every report was ecstatic. Orders came flooding in and the company once again found itself with order books full to bursting.

The demand for Range Rovers grew so fast that a ‘black market’ formed, with customers prepared to pay over the asking price in order to jump the lengthy waiting list. By the beginning of the 1980s, it was also obvious that much greater profits could be achieved with more luxurious vehicles. Consequently, the Range Rover was eased up-market. As a result, significant developments took place, including a 1981 four-door version.

The vehicle’s luxury status was further enhanced by an automatic transmission and an ‘In Vogue’ limited edition – the ‘Vogue’ name was later adopted in some markets for top-of-the-range variants.

In 1992, the LSE (or County LWB as it was known in the US) was launched with its wheelbase extended from 100 to 108 inches. At the same time, electronic air suspension was made available on both short and long-wheelbase models.

In 1994 BMW acquired the Rover Group. Later that same year the second-generation Range Rover was launched. An all-new vehicle, it featured an integrated and elegantly restyled body, while retaining the 108-inch wheelbase of the LSE, albeit on a new chassis. Power came from a choice of 4.0-litre or 4.6-litre V8 engines, or a 2.5-litre six cylinder diesel.

The 1999 London Motor Show saw the introduction of the most expensive Land Rover yet. The Range Rover Linley was produced in a strictly limited edition of only six vehicles, each with a £100,000 price tag.

The dawn of the new millennium saw a change in ownership for Land Rover as it became a member of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, alongside Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lincoln and Volvo. Work had begun on a new Range Rover almost as soon as BMW acquired the company in 1994 but the fruits of the development didn’t appear until 2001.

Larger than the second generation, the third Range Rover echoed the design themes of the original, while yacht styling and textures provided inspiration for the interior. With extremely stiff monocoque architecture and independent suspension, this Range Rover had impeccable road manners, while cross-coupled air springs provided the ground clearance for true Land Rover off-road capability. Power came from BMW’s 4.4-litre V8 and 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engines.

2005 saw the introduction of new 4.4-litre V8 and 4.2-litre V8 supercharged engines derived from Jaguar’s acclaimed AJ-V8 unit. A year later, a 3.6-litre V8 turbodiesel was added to the powertrain line-up and all models were fitted with the award-winning Terrain Response® system.

Launched at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the all-new fourth-generation Range Rover promised to be the most capable and most luxurious Land Rover yet. Lighter, stronger and with new levels of refinement, the Range Rover was developed from the ground up, with the end product still capturing the innovative spirit and iconic design of the original model which was launched over 40 years ago.

The revolutionary lightweight all-aluminium monocoque body structure was a world first for an SUV. At 39 per cent lighter than the steel body of the outgoing model, it enabled total vehicle weight savings of up to 420kg. The lightweight aluminium platform delivers significant enhancements in performance and agility, along with a transformation in fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

In addition to the strong and rigid lightweight body, an all-new aluminium front and rear chassis architecture was developed with completely re-engineered four-corner air suspension. While the luxurious ride has been retained, the vehicle’s handling and agility are significantly improved. The new suspension architecture delivers flatter, more confident cornering, along with a natural and intuitive steering feel.

To ensure exceptional durability and reliability, the new model has been subjected to Land Rover’s punishing test and development regime, with a fleet of development vehicles covering millions of miles over 18 months of tests in more than 20 countries.

A range of advanced engines are available for the Range Rover, including a new supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol unit that delivers exceptional power and torque and CO2 emissions of 254g/km – a 15 percent reduction over the 5.0-litre naturally aspirated unit.


Ever since the Wilks brothers improvised their way to a lightweight, cost-effective Land Rover in tightly rationed post-War Britain, innovation – with a touch of ingenuity – has played a big part in the development of every Land Rover.

During the genesis of the very first model, cost constraints and a short supply of sheet steel ruled out the use of pressed chassis members. The innovative solution that the Rover engineers adopted was to fabricate the chassis by welding together strips of steel ‘cast offs’ into box-shaped members that were then combined into a ladder frame.

Charles Spencer ‘Spen’ King – a nephew of the Wilks brothers and an engineer who would later play a fundamental role in the Range Rover story – credited Rover manufacturing engineer Olaf Poppe with this solution which resulted in a stronger and more durable chassis than anything seen before. It saved both time and money and would remain a Land Rover construction hallmark for many years.

Another Land Rover trademark in the making was a sophisticated four-wheel-drive transmission. In order to avoid wind-up in the transmission – with consequent tyre scrub – the engineers fitted a freewheel device between the transfer box and the front propeller shaft, thereby allowing the front wheels to overrun the rear ones if required. This was a typically thoughtful touch – the Willys Jeep of the same era, for example, had relied upon a simple dog clutch to engage four-wheel drive, with terrible tyre scrub on bends, which the Land Rover sailed through.

By the advent of the Range Rover in 1971, Land Rover’s understanding of four-wheel drive systems was truly world-beating. The first Range Rover employed a sophisticated locking centre diff to eliminate tyre scrub and also used disc brakes to ensure class-leading stopping power – highly unusual on cars at that time.

The advent of the micro-processor meant engineers could apply serious computing power to advanced electronic safety and traction systems. In the 1990s, the Discovery was the first car of its type to introduce an Active Cornering Enhancement (ACE) system to ensure car-like response on-road while retaining its legendary Land Rover off-road abilities. ACE was combined with air-sprung Self-Levelling Suspension (introduced in 1992) to ensure superb ride comfort. Further developments in ACE have followed.

Controlled descents of steep inclines were first governed by low ratio gearing on early Land Rovers, but the Freelander saw the introduction of a sophisticated Hill Descent Control programme which used the anti-lock braking system to maintain a safe descent speed on the most severe of hills. This system was recognised with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation in 2001.

Land Rover’s commitment to sustainable technology is unceasing. As the world demands greater environmental awareness, state-of-the-art solutions such as forthcoming diesel hybrids for the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are indicators of Land Rover’s adoption of exciting yet responsible automotive engineering.




The all-new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are the world’s first SUV vehicles to feature a lightweight all-aluminium body structure, which not only contributes to outstanding agility and driving dynamics, but also delivers significantly reduced weight and enhanced sustainability.

This new and advanced aluminium monocoque body structure employs a combination of pressed panels, plus cast, extruded and rolled aluminium alloy parts, so the strength is concentrated precisely where the loads are greatest. The vehicle’s platform is 39 percent lighter than the previous model.

Not only the lightest in its class by a significant margin, the aluminium structure is also incredibly strong too. The body has been engineered to withstand the same punishing off-road impacts as all Land Rovers.

Land Rover engineers have combined the state-of-the-art lightweight structure with substantial weight reductions throughout both vehicles, to deliver total weight savings up to an impressive 420kg.

Their class-leading status is enhanced through the introduction of the ground-breaking next-generation version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response® system, which takes the capabilities of the award-winning system to a new level.

Developed by a small team of Land Rover specialists, Terrain Response® 2 features an Auto setting which uses sophisticated ‘intelligent’ systems to analyse the current driving conditions, and automatically select the most suitable terrain programme.

Ensuring that the vehicle is always driving using the optimum mode, the new system is able to switch completely automatically between the five settings: General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand and Rock Crawl. Like all Terrain Response® systems, each setting optimises driveability and traction by adapting the responses of the car’s engine, gearbox, centre differential and chassis systems to match the demands of the terrain.

While it functions completely automatically, Terrian Response® 2 will also provide the driver with additional advice, such as when to select low range or the off-road ride height, when the system calculates that it is necessary.

FROM 1989…


1989     Discovery launched

1990     Five-Door Discovery on sale

1994     Discovery launched in USA

1994     Discovery facelift

1998     Discovery Series II launched

2004     Discovery 3/LR3 launched

2009     Discovery 4/LR4 unveiled

2012     Discovery 4/LR4 gets tech upgrades

SALES TO DATE: 1,051,139





In the mid-1980s, Land Rover began to explore the idea of a junior Range Rover, effectively filling the shoes of the original, which had gradually shifted up-market. ‘Project Jay’, as it was called, was loosely based on the Range Rover but with a new body, capable of seating up to seven people, and with a radical new interior design.

To ensure that contemporary design influences were reflected in the new car, Land Rover turned to outside agencies including the highly respected Conran Design Studio to help produce the vehicle’s interior. Similarly, a new diesel engine was developed to provide an economical alternative to the powerful V8. This was a 2.5-litre turbocharged, intercooled diesel with the latest direct injection technology – the 200 Tdi.

The result of Project Jay, the Land Rover Discovery, emerged at the Frankfurt Motor Show in three-door form in September 1989. With the addition of a five-door version the following year, and a facelift in March 1994, the Discovery carved out a new niche for Land Rover as the ‘family 4×4’ and proved to be enormously successful.

In 1995, Land Rover production reached more than 100,000 vehicles in one year for the first time. Its best-seller was now the Discovery, and a version fitted with the 2.0-litre petrol engine from Rover’s car range was added to the line-up in 1993 to take advantage of European tax positioning. The Discovery was now also available with a 3.9-litre V8.

1998 saw the launch of a second-generation Discovery. The Series II version shared the 100-inch wheelbase of the original, but was longer to enable the sixth and seventh passengers to sit in forward-facing seats. The Series II included new technologies such as Active Cornering Enhancement and Self-Levelling Suspension, which gave a level ride under all load conditions.

The first two production Discovery Series II vehicles were driven around the world in the ambitious ‘New Discovery Trek’ which started in London and finished at the Paris Motor Show for the vehicle’s launch in 1998.

A three-car Discovery support team assisted the BMW motorbike team in the 1998 Paris-Dakar rally raid. Despite having virtually standard engines, gearboxes and axles, they all finished the difficult event. One, now in the Heritage Motor Centre collection at Gaydon, finished in a very impressive 31st place.

In 2004, Land Rover would raise the bar once again with the launch of the award-winning Discovery 3/LR3 at the New York Motor Show. Discovery 3 introduced a new vehicle architecture: Integrated Body Frame technology, which combines the best of monocoque and chassis design by using new production methods such as hydroforming.

Independent air suspension is available on Discovery 3/LR3 which is powered by a new 2.7-litre V6 diesel engine developed in collaboration with Peugeot. The alternative power units were a 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine and in some markets a 4-litre petrol V6. The uncompromising exterior design by Geoff Upex featured original Discovery themes such as the stepped roof and asymmetric rear glass. The vehicle was launched in America and the Middle East as the LR3.

Terrain Response® made its production debut on Discovery 3/LR3. In the finest tradition of Land Rover, this new system ensures outstanding levels of on- and off-road grip on the most challenging terrains at the turn of a dial. The 2007 ‘Road to the Clouds’ expedition took a fleet of Discovery 3/LR3s to 5000m in north-west Argentina – possibly the highest a Land Rover has ever been driven.

The fourth generation of Land Rover’s supremely versatile seven-seat vehicle was unveiled in 2010. Powerful and highly efficient new engines, a fresh exterior identity and more premium cabin ensured the Discovery continued to be hugely popular around the world.

Star billing on the Discovery 4/LR4 went to two highly efficient and refined new engines: the LR-TDV6 3.0 twin-turbo diesel and LR-V8 direct-injection petrol engine, which delivered massive improvements in fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

Land Rover’s engineers also transformed the on-road ride and handling for the new generation Discovery 4/LR4, and even improved on the near-legendary off-road capabilities of its predecessor. The comprehensive changes included new suspension components, revised steering, larger brakes, improved traction control, and enhancements to the award winning Terrain Response® system.

In 2012 the car was improved yet again with even more power, further reductions in emissions and the introduction of state-of-the-art technologies such as an eight-speed automatic transmission and ‘Say What You See’ voice activation system.



In 2012 Land Rover announced a major support programme for a team of wounded British soldiers as they bid to overcome the challenges of their injuries and complete the most gruelling off-road racing challenge in the world – the 2013 Dakar Rally, which covered over 5,000 miles (9,000 km) in 15 days through Peru, Argentina and Chile.

Land Rover’s support of Race2Recovery included the supply of engines for use in the team’s race vehicles, Land Rover Discovery support vehicles, off-road driver training and a parts supply arrangement. The four Qt Wildcat rally raid vehicles that Race2Recovery entered in the Dakar Rally are based on the Land Rover Defender, sharing running gear and some external visual similarities. Several elements of standard Land Rover vehicles are retained on the Wildcat including engines, axles and some cosmetic parts.

Set up in 2011 by a group of wounded soldiers who were inspired to take up cross-country racing, Race2Recovery’s goal was to participate in and complete the Dakar Rally.

“Race2Recovery is immensely proud that Land Rover chose to support our ethos and determination to succeed in the Dakar,” said Captain Tony Harris, driver of one of the Dakar Wildcats. “The Dakar was an opportunity to push the boundaries of the possible and to challenge the human spirit of adventure and ensure that our injuries do not dictate our lives.”

It proved to be an inspired partnership. On 20 January 2013, the Wildcat race vehicle of driver Major Matt O’Hare and co-driver Corporal Phillip Gillespie crossed the finish line in Santiago, Chile to signal the end of an extraordinary two weeks of racing.

Major O’Hare said: “It’s not quite sinking in that we’ve actually done it. To complete the Dakar Rally is an incredible achievement in itself, but to become the first ever disability team to cross that finish line lifts the achievement to a whole other level.”

The team even received Royal backing when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who had followed Race2Recovery’s progress since day one, sent a personal message of congratulations to the team.

Go to to donate to the Race2Recovery fundraising campaign.

FROM 1997…


1998    Freelander used on Camel Trophy in Tierra del Fuego

1999     Top-selling European SUV

2000     Freelander V6 launched

2004     Major facelift for Freelander

2006     All-New Freelander 2/LR2

2006     UK carbon offset programme

2011     New 2.2-litre engine and new look exterior

SALES TO DATE: 880,613





The Freelander was a completely new concept for Land Rover, with monocoque bodywork, independent suspension and transverse engines originating from Rover cars. Four-wheel drive was achieved through a front-mounted Intermediate Reduction Drive and a viscous coupling unit in the drive shaft to the rear axle.

Launched in 1997, Freelander contained ground-breaking technology. In the absence of a two-speed transfer box, downhill control was achieved by Hill Descent Control, which used the ABS braking system to limit the vehicle’s speed. The model range comprised a five-door station wagon and a three-door model with a folding softback or detachable hard top. As the fourth Land Rover model, the Freelander gave the brand an entry into the small/medium 4WD leisure sector.

Under new owner Ford, the model range enjoyed a major evolution in 2001, including a new top-of-the-range derivative with leather seats and air conditioning as standard. Land Rover introduced a new V6 engine, a new and improved turbodiesel engine, a new automatic Steptronic transmission, and extensive improvements throughout the range. The changes further enhanced the appeal of the Freelander, already Europe’s best-selling 4×4 and enabled the Freelander to be sold in more markets, including the USA, Japan and the Middle East, greatly boosting total Freelander production.

The 2001 model engines were developed to meet Land Rover’s exacting all-terrain standards. The compact all-alloy 2.5 litre V6 engine had an advanced quad-cam, 24-valve layout and developed 177Ps (130kW) and 240Nm – an increase of 50% in power and torque over the 1.8-litre Freelander, for smooth and effortless performance.

Freelander’s 2001 2.0-litre diesel engine replaced the L-series unit and offered significant gains in performance, refinement and economy. Power increased from 97PS (71.6kW) to 112PS (82kW), while torque rose from 210Nm to an exceptional 260Nm at only 1750rpm, with a torque curve specifically tailored to the Freelander’s capabilities on- and off-road.

The three millionth vehicle built by Land Rover was driven off the production line on 1 October 2001, 53 years after the first vehicle was made at the company’s Lode Lane assembly plant in Solihull. The historic vehicle, a Monte Carlo blue Freelander V6 bound for the United States, marked a further milestone in the continuing success of Land Rover.

The 2006 British Motor Show saw the launch of the all-new Freelander 2/LR2. The vehicle was larger than its predecessor but was every inch a Freelander, with the design team using significant Freelander themes such as the ‘clamshell’ bonnet and faceted shoulder line. The interior was also a quantum leap in design, fit and finish.

Power came from a 3.2-litre six-cylinder in-line petrol engine or a 2.2-litre common-rail, four-cylinder diesel. Both power units were mounted transversely as in the original Freelander, but drive to the rear axle was now controlled by a pre-charged, electronically controlled coupling to give instant response.

The Freelander 2/LR2’s petrol engine, dubbed the i6, was married to a six-speed automatic gearbox while the diesel version, the Td4, had a six-speed manual gearbox with automatic transmission available as an option. The Freelander 2/LR2 was also fitted with Terrain Response®, modified to suit its capabilities. From 2009, a Stop/Start manual diesel Freelander called the TD4_e went on sale with a fuel consumption 10% lower than that of the previous model.

As the Freelander 2 entered its fifth year on sale its popularity remained undimmed. For 2011 it benefitted from a new 2.2-litre diesel engine, available with either 150PS or 190PS outputs, and a new look exterior.

Land Rover’s new turbo diesel engine was available with a manual transmission and intelligent Stop/Start technology as standard. This new engine was quieter, more efficient and had 20Nm more torque than the outgoing engine. Despite reductions in consumption and emissions, there was no compromise in performance. The flagship 190PS Freelander SD4 accelerated from rest to 60mph in 8.7 seconds with an increased top speed of 118mph.

As an addition to the Freelander 2 range, Land Rover offered UK customers a two-wheel drive alternative. The Freelander 2 eD4 was the most efficient Land Rover ever produced, with fuel consumption of 47.2mpg combined, and CO2 emissions of just 158g/km.

For 2013, with the Freelander 2 still enjoying record sales, the car receives a premium overhaul, with interior equipment including a brand new centre console, 7-inch colour touch-screen with enhanced audio systems from Meridian and 7-day timed climate system.

Exterior design details are revamped for an co-ordinated appearance, including LED lights front and rear and a new signature graphic in the front running lights. The six-cylinder Si6 petrol is replaced by the

FROM 2005…


2004     Range Stormer concept

2005     Range Rover Sport launched

2006     New TDV8 diesel version introduced

2006     Range Rover Sport is best-selling Land Rover

2010     Sport receives engineering and design changes

SALES TO DATE: 399,260



Land Rover design and technology skills blossomed under Ford ownership and were revealed with the Range Stormer concept vehicle (right), introduced at the 2004 Detroit Show. Finished in stunning burnt orange paintwork, the Range Stormer had a two-door body, similar to early Range Rovers, but on this acclaimed show car the doors opened in extravagant gull-wing fashion.

The futuristic Range Stormer concept showcased the latest Land Rover off-road technology – Terrain Response®, which tuned the vehicle systems to various on and off-road surface conditions at the twist of a knob – and was clear inspiration for the next model in the Land Rover line-up.

Designed to take on the new breed of sporting 4x4s, the Range Rover Sport featured a suspension optimised for on-road handling while not compromising off-road capability. This was helped by Dynamic Response, a hydraulically operated ride-levelling system that sensed cornering forces and acted to optimise body control and handling.

A new power unit, the 4.2-litre V8 supercharged petrol engine debuted in the Range Rover Sport, with a naturally aspirated V8 petrol and 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel also being available. The vehicle, in supercharged guise the most powerful Land Rover had ever produced, was an instant success. Since its debut in 2005, Land Rover’s most performance-oriented vehicle has been consistently in high demand, leading to waiting lists in many markets.

The introduction of a powerful and brand new V8 turbodiesel as a fourth engine option in 2006 completed the launch phase of the Range Rover Sport.

The model received a comprehensive package of engineering and design changes for the 2010 model year. Exterior changes created a more sporting and aerodynamic stance whilst three powerful and efficient new engines – the LR-TDV6 diesel, the LR-V8 5.0 naturally aspirated petrol and the LR-V8 Supercharged – provided significant improvements to both on-road and off-road driving dynamics.


The fastest, most agile, most responsive Land Rover ever

The high-water mark for the Range Rover Sport would come in 2013, with the dramatic launch of an all-new model unveiled in New York by James Bond actor Daniel Craig. Exploiting Land Rover’s breakthrough lightweight suspension design and innovative dynamic chassis technologies, the Range Rover Sport’s all-new, advanced aluminium architecture achieves a weight saving of up to 420kg. This transforms the vehicle’s dynamic performance, enabling it to offer a unique mix of sporting luxury with a dynamic, connected driving experience and exceptional comfort, together with CO2 emissions reduced to 194g/km.

The new Range Rover Sport has been engineered to deliver dramatically improved on-road driving dynamics with more connected and agile handling complemented by enhanced ride and refinement. A choice of two full-time 4WD systems are offered and long wheel-travel provides exceptional wheel articulation to deal with the very toughest of conditions.

Available engines include two diesel V6 units and two petrol engines – a 340PS supercharged 3.0-litre V6 and a 510PS 5.0-litre supercharged V8, which is the performance pinnacle of the Range Rover Sport line-up. With huge reserves of power and torque, the scale of the performance on offer is reflected in the 0-60mph time of sub-5.0 seconds which is achieved with a rich sporting soundtrack generated by a carefully tuned exhaust system and sound symposer on the intake system.

Underpinning the enhanced driving capability of the Sport is a fully independent aluminium suspension that is double isolated, with wide-spaced double wishbones at the front and a multi-link layout at the rear.




In June 2012 Land Rover entered into a formal partnership with Bowler, the UK-based manufacturer of all-terrain performance cars and rally raid vehicles.

The Bowler EXR and EXR S are the marque’s market-leading rally raid cars. Both carry the ‘Powered by Land Rover’ motto that signifies the advanced 5.0-litre V8 engine that powers the EXR in some of the world’s toughest rally raid events, including the Dakar Rally, Silk Way Rally and FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. The new EXR S is the first Bowler-engineered car for road use. It shares the EXR’s hydro-formed base chassis and is fitted with a modified supercharged V8 engine from the Range Rover Sport which produces 550bhp and 705Nm of torque. In a package as light as 1800kg, this can power the Bowler to 60mph in just 4.2 seconds.

FROM 2008…


2008     LRX concept unveiled

2008     LRX promises significant future fuel efficiency savings

2011     Range Rover Evoque goes into production

2012     Victoria Beckham Special Edition Evoque announced

SALES TO DATE: 165,306



Land Rover’s appearance at the 2008 Detroit Motor Show was to be its last under Ford ownership. For Land Rover and Jaguar Cars’ parent company announced in March 2008 that it had reached an agreement to sell the British marques to Tata Motors.

In a fitting swansong to Ford’s ownership, Land Rover used the Detroit Motor Show to unveil the LRX concept vehicle – an exciting pointer to Land Rover’s future as an environmentally aware creator of exciting all-terrain vehicles.

As a demonstration of Land Rover’s commitment to sustainability, the LRX was a showcase for new technologies, lightweight design and environmentally responsible materials. Conceived with a hybrid 2.0-litre diesel engine, the LRX also featured an Electric Rear Axle Drive system, first seen on the Land_e concept car.

Lightweight materials and advanced manufacturing techniques kept the LRX concept’s weight low with the aim of reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The interior featured recyclable materials including vegetable-tanned leather. LRX was described as a cross-coupé and was conceived as a premium car, designed to appeal to new customers in the luxury and executive sector who wanted the benefits of a 4×4 and the presence of a larger vehicle, but in a more compact package.

Entering production in 2011, the new Range Rover Evoque varied little from the LRX concept upon which it was based. With design overseen by Land Rover’s Design Director, Gerry McGovern, and meticulous engineering, the Evoque evolved from the LRX concept in a manner that never compromised the core Range Rover values of luxury, refined performance and all-terrain capability. Offering CO2 emissions below 130g/km and fuel economy of 58mpg combined, the Evoque was the lightest Range Rover ever.

The Evoque was also the first Range Rover to offer customers a choice between a full-time four-wheel-drive system, which was capable of delivering outstanding performance and traction on all surfaces, and a low carbon, front-wheel-drive option for further enhanced fuel economy. The Range Rover Evoque’s formidable all-terrain potential was further enhanced by the latest version of the company’s signature Terrain Response® system.

The Range Rover Evoque’s turbocharged powertrain line-up offered smooth and responsive performance, blending four-cylinder efficiency with six-cylinder refinement and power. Customers could choose between two comprehensively updated 2.2-litre turbodiesel derivatives, with 190PS or 150PS.

A new 240PS, 2.0-litre Si4 petrol engine was also available and combined direct fuel injection, turbocharging and twin variable valve timing for exceptional driveability
and fuel efficiency.

The Range Rover Evoque offers customers more choice with three design themes – ‘Pure’, ‘Prestige’ and ‘Dynamic’ – each with its own distinctive character, exterior treatment and carefully co-ordinated interior package.

Even greater personalisation for Evoque came in 2013 with the unveiling of a Black Design pack for Dynamic models that includes 20-inch gloss black wheels, sport spoiler and darkened lamps.

At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover announced the world’s first 9-speed automatic transmission for a passenger car, designed to enhance all-terrain capability at the same time as reducing fuel economy.


The Evoque Convertible Concept was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, marking the first time the world saw a premium SUV as a convertible. It was a bold design study that built on the current model’s success and reflected Land Rover’s expertise at identifying and leading new market segments. The soft-top concept vehicle featured a fully retractable premium roof with a Roll Over Protection System [ROPS]. The convertible cleverly combined capability and versatility with a drop-down tailgate and a comfortable four-seat set-up. Whilst there are no current plans to put the Evoque convertible into production, Land Rover displayed the car to gauge reaction to the concept.

Official Land Rover Press Release Celebrating 65 Years of Innovation