31 July 2023
Enjoy the last of our fabulous A to Z of Land Rovers, and join us as we celebrate our own 25th Anniversary
Design changes seemed to happen at a glacial pace at Land Rover until the 1990s, but that was all about to change. Design Director Geoff Upex brought some freshness to the brand from the Freelander to the Range Rover Sport, and the Range Stormer concept.
The newest name to be given to the Range Rover is also the oldest – it was used to mislead people when the prototype Range Rovers were undergoing real world testing before the launch. The new model was unveiled at the London Design Museum in 2017.
Land Rover has liked to push on with technology and 2014’s Discovery Vision showcased loads of kit that would subsequently appear on production models, including the Discovery 5’s offset rear numberplate… Discovery Vision introduced us to the transparent bonnet, social seating, remote control driving and configurable seating, among other things.
We all associate the Vogue name with the Range Rover, and it stems from a special vehicle built in collaboration with Wood & Pickett to be used as part of a photoshoot for the 1981 Lancôme and Jaeger fashion collections. Special edition In Vogue models followed before the name was adopted as a trim level.
Powerful petrol engines have been a thing since 1966’s Golden Rod project first dropped an aluminium V8 into a Series Land Rover. The V8, in different guises and from different manufacturers, went on to feature in all Range Rovers, the Stage 1 Series III and later utilities and Discoverys 1 and 2. As a powerplant a V8 is well-matched to a heavy 4x4 and it was only when turbocharging really took off on diesels in the 1980s that the oil burners were seen as credible alternatives.
Land Rover enthusiasts have always had a sense of humour, and Pete Wilford turned this into an artform with his cartoons. The long-running Dipstick series told of the trials and tribulations of the protagonist and long-suffering wife, while standalone cartoons captured Land Rover life.
Spencer and Maurice Wilks
Brothers Spencer and Maurice (right) were Rover’s managing director and technical director in the 1940s. Maurice had been using a war-surplus Jeep at his home and holiday cottage on Anglesey, finding the go-anywhere nature of the vehicle useful for both work on the land and for the family. When the Jeep expired, Maurice got the approval of Spencer to create a replacement – the basic design was said to have been drawn in the sand on Red Wharf Bay – which went on to become the Land Rover.
A successor to the legendary Pink Panther, Land Rovers fitted with a weapons mounted installation kit (WMIK) are heavily-armed patrol vehicles. Based on the Truck Utility Medium High Specification (Wolf) underpinnings, they’re not your standard military Land Rovers. The chassis is strengthened to cope with the heavier working weights expected of the vehicles and Ricardo Vehicle Engineering further refined the model into the R-WMIK with a 2.8-litre engine and automatic transmission.
This is the codename given to the military high-specification Land Rovers introduced in 1998, powered by the 300Tdi engines. Two models, the Truck Utility Light (90) and Truck Utility Medium (110) were used, mainly in soft top, but also with a removable glassfibre roof. A 130 ambulance (Pulse) was also added. Most of the 90s have now been cast aside by the military.
Arguably one of the most underwhelming special editions, 2000’s X-Tech was a hard top with alloys, County seats and alpine lights. Clearly it worked, though as the company re-used the name for two more special editions in 2003 and 2012.
There are noisy tyres and there are the Goodyear Hi-Miler Xtra Grip, the standard rubber the British Army fits to its Series Land Rovers. If you lived near a barracks during the 1970s and ’80s, you’d know a convoy was due well before it actually appeared thanks to the distinctive howl of the tyres. If you want the retro classic look, the Deestone D503 has the original Xtra Grip pattern.
Sandglow Yellow was used for the Camel Trophy vehicles, but the colour picked for the Defender Works V8 Trophy vehicles was a slightly different hue of Eastnor Yellow. Both are significantly different to the colour the AA painted its Land Rovers.
When was the last time you went to a zoo and didn’t see a Land Rover? Not only have the vehicles been used by staff as runabouts, but hundreds of older models have been turned into exhibits. Some ex-Camel Trophy Land Rovers were donated to zoos for their use.
25 years of Land Rover Monthly
Wow – we’re in our silver jubilee year. How the time has flown since our first purple-topped cover landed on the newsagents’ shelves, ready to entertain you, our readers
Back then Land Rovers with independent suspension were new – the Freelander had only been surging into dealerships for a few months – air suspension was still scary, and the Td5, Land Rover’s best engine ever(?), was yet to be seen in a production vehicle. And although a lot has changed since 1998, some things are reassuringly the same.
Our first issue included a report about the ARC International, held at Eastnor Castle, Land Rover’s proving ground, and some events were organised by the Wye and Welsh Land Rover Club – who are organising this year’s ALRC National Rally in Ebbw Vale at the end of May. And we had a real variety of content – something for everyone, which is what we still aim to do today.
Looking back, the purple background colour to our logo was a bit of a block and it gradually got relegated to a small block – but how many of you still have our old sticker on your Land Rover or toolbox?
They may be faded now, but are as much a part of your Land Rover history as any greenlaning scrape or trialling dent.
By 2004, Land Rover was starting to launch vehicles at quite a rate. We’d seen the Range Rover L322 in 2001, then we had the Discovery 3, Range Rover Sport and Freelander 2 following on from one another. Then the biggest change of them all, the 2007 Defender. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that much of a change, but as early as our May 2004 issue, we were asking for your input into what the next generation Defender should be like; it’s just Land Rover took 15 years to make it. By the mid-2010s, Land Rover announced the end of the Defender as we knew it – which made a great coverline in our December 2015 issue of the magazine.
The LRM World Record at the Billing Show, 2018
Step forward a few years and we had the bonkers idea to try to break the Guinness World Record for the longest parade of Land Rovers, which we set up during the year’s heatwave at the Billing Off Road Show on 30 June 2018. Although the run wasn’t due to start until late afternoon, the trade stands emptied after lunch as drivers headed to their vehicles in preparation for the drive.
Hot and dusty is the best way to describe it, as 908 vehicles set off around the roads and tracks of the Arrowsmith’s farm – and we got the record! It was adjudged to be 640 vehicles due to a maximum distance needing to be kept between vehicles, but it beat the record of 632 vehicles set the month before in Germany. The show also gave us arguably our most dynamic cover ever, with Niall Moore and James Woods’ 500bhp Discovery ‘Bad Cat’.
We hope you've enjoyed our A to Z series as a part of the 75th anniversary of Land Rover and our own 25th anniversary. We also celebrated ourselves earlier this year by launching our first-ever weekend show, LRM Live, at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern on 20-21 May. If you joined us there, we hope you enjoyed your weekend. If not, we hope to see you there next year.
For more info on LRM Live, and the other Spares Day events we have, please visit landrovermonthly.co.uk/information/events for dates, prices and advance booking offers.
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