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Land Rover celebrates 70 years of 4x4 excellence

The ultimate SUV brand has come a long way since 1948

The earliest Land Rovers looked totally spartan. PHOTO FROM LAND ROVER

Once upon a time—in the ’40s, on the island of Anglesey—Maurice Wilks drew in the sand what he initially thought was a simple replacement for his aging World War II military Jeep. That drawing in the sand would eventually become one of Britain’s most iconic automobiles. A vehicle that just creates its own road where there is none. So, what do you do when you’re a perky off-roader celebrating your 70th birthday? Well, you draw your own picture in the snow, of course.

Just because the raw concept for Land Rover originated from a drawing in the sand. PHOTOS FROM LAND ROVER

Land Rovers were initially conceived as farm vehicles. They had simple aluminum construction, four-wheel drive, torquey petrol engines, and a power takeoff unit that drove anything from water pumps to circular saws. But people recognized more uses for them outside the farm. Land Rovers started venturing out into the forests, the rivers and the snow-capped mountains. Land Rovers became the vehicles of choice by explorers in search of lost civilizations, hidden treasures, and new life forms. In fact, Land Rovers are among very few vehicles with the distinction of having been able to circumnavigate the world.

How Land Rover employees celebrated the young company's first anniversary in 1949. PHOTO FROM LAND ROVER

It isn’t only in the pursuit of new discoveries that Land Rovers have bravely taken part in. These vehicles are also among Britain’s greatest contributions to humanity and ecology. Land Rovers became beacons of hope and rescue for the helpless and the forgotten. They have delivered food and medicine to places where no car had ever been before. It is said that for more than half of the world’s population, the first car they ever saw was a Land Rover.

Land Rovers are some of the toughest motor vehicles on the planet. They just endure. PHOTOS FROM LAND ROVER

The pioneering spirit of Land Rover is not limited to the rough bits. Putting a car-like body and car-like features on top of the tried and tested Land Rover running gear spawned the Range Rover—and thus the modern sport-utility vehicle. Each iteration of the Range Rover and the Discovery over the years has moved the yardstick for luxury and performance. Today, the current series of these models are still the gold standard by which all other SUVs are judged.

Defenders of the off-road motoring lifestyle. PHOTO FROM LAND ROVER

“Above and beyond.” That’s the Land Rover slogan that implies striving for nothing less than the best. Things like hill descent control and terrain response have put Land Rover vehicles at the cutting edge of modern vehicle technology. New design and production processes ensure that Land Rovers are among the best workhorses in their class.

'Go anywhere' and 'no boundaries'. Mere taglines for some brands; way of life for Land Rover. PHOTO FROM LAND ROVER

Seventy years: 7.2 million vehicles from the Solihull factory and 1.4 million units from the Halewood facility. According to the BBC, some 70% of all Land Rovers built are still on the road. It’s no surprise they’re called the best “4×4 by far.”

Happy 70th anniversary, Land Rover!

Miggi Solidum

Miggi is an editor-at-large at VISOR. Professionally speaking, he is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He writes the 'G-Force' column.