First about the name Land Rover Defender: it has only been officially used since 1990, to clearly distinguish it from the then introduced Land Rover Discovery. From 1983 to 1990, the official name was Land Rover 110 (long wheelbase) and 90 (short wheelbase). Before that it was simply Series I (1948-1958), II (1958-1971) and III (1971-1984).
After the war, the brothers Maurice and Spencer Wilks built the first four-wheel drive Rover based on a Jeep. They wanted to improve the concept of the Jeep: the car had to be able to serve as a tractor on the field, as a generator, and as a car for the public road.
The fact that green became such a characteristic color for the Land Rover is due to the paint shortage after WWII. The green paint was left over from the war when it was used for fighter aircraft. The aluminum body was also created out of sheer necessity. There was a major shortage of steel in Europe after the war.
The Land Rover did not make its world debut in England, but at the AutoRAI in 1948. The steering wheel of the first Land Rover prototype was in the middle.
The British Royal Family got its first custom Land Rover in 1953. Queen Elisabeth had learned to drive military vehicles in WWII.
In the fifties you could order a Land Rover with tracks or tractor tires. You could also buy a Road Rover, a Land Rover that was slightly more comfortable on the public road. This was actually the predecessor of the Range Rover from 1970. Land Rover experimented in the 1960s with an amphibious Defender, with a propeller on the back, a rudder and a snorkel that prevented the diesel engine from drowning.
Land Rover has only existed as an independent brand since 1978, before that it was part of Rover. Land Rover was part of the Rover Group until BMW separated the brands in 2000. Land Rover was sold to Ford.
The Defender has been featured in many Hollywood blockbusters, such as Lara Croft: Tomb-Raider, The Da Vinci Code, and the James Bond film Spectre. Production of the first Defender stopped in January 2016, more than 2 million units were built. Due to safety requirements, it was no longer available in the US since 1997.
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