75 years of Land Rover: Part 3


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Part three begins with a G... : credit: © Nick Dimbleby, JLR
This time around, our A to Z takes us from G4 Adventures to Mountain Rescue...

G4 Challenge

Full-on off-road adventures typified by the Camel Trophy could no longer happen, despite the good work they did. Instead, Land Rover created the G4 Challenge – a global event on four continents. It was due to run every three years, but only the 2003 a nd 2006 events happened; the global downturn in 2008 saw Land Rover receiving financial assistance from the UK government and it was felt inappropriate to be seen using taxpayer’s money to run the 2009 event.

Headlight positions

The headlights on the Series I started off in the radiator panel, initially hidden behind the grille, before having their own cut-outs. They stayed in the panel until new legislation arrived requiring them to be moved to the wings. ‘Bug-eye’ vehicles were produced initially, with the headlamps mounted on plain wings, but by March 1969 new recessed housings were introduced, with a new surround.


No hearse has probably received as much media coverage as the Defender coffin bearer used to transport Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to his final resting place. A lifelong Land Rover enthusiast, Prince Philip had helped design the military-styled Bronze Green Td5-engined 130 at Land Rover. Two were built – one was a backup that was destined never to be used.

Highways Agency

Keeping an eye on the nation’s dual carriageways is a role that falls to Highways England, and it uses some suitably-modified Discovery 5s for the role. As well as the crew of two, the vehicles carry more than 600kg of kit, from cones to safety barriers and gear to tow stranded vehicles. They’re expected to cover 250,000 miles in four years’ service.


Playing on the safari theme, Land Rover compared the Freelander to hippos in this advert

Home mechanics

It’s often been joked that Land Rovers have been turning owners into mechanics since 1948, but there is some truth to that. Look at the early owner’s handbooks and you’ll find all the information you need to keep your Land Rover on the road. Land Rover produced its own workshop manuals, which are available from Brooklands Books, but many owners will have bought one of the manuals aimed at owners, from Autobooks or the ubiquitous Haynes manuals.


The engine family fitted to much of the range now is built at the huge Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton. The first versions were fitted to the Discovery Sport in 2016; four- and six-cylinder petrol or diesel versions are available.

Project Jay

This was the project name for the vehicle that became the Discovery – and to keep it within budget, it borrowed heavily from the Range Rover on which it was based.

Charles Spencer King

Spen King, as he was known, played a key role in Land Rover’s fortunes, proposing the basic design of the 100in crossover vehicle that would become the Range Rover. He was honoured for his work with 1990’s two-door CSK limited edition.


Luxury shouldn’t come at a cost, and Kvadrat is a premium textile made from recycled plastics. Initially available in the Velar, it is now available on many of the models.



2006’s Land_e project was created to look at ways to improve fuel economy by 30 per cent as well as lowering emissions. Among the kit it brought us was the ERAD, Integrated Starter-Generator which later appeared on the MHEV models, Propshaft With Seamless
Re-connect – a version of which is used on the 2nd gen Evoque and Discovery Sport, plus electric power steering, which arrived with Evoque.


Until the Series II was announced in 1958, the Series I was just a Land-Rover – and loads happened in the decade before it was replaced. Starting life as just a short-wheelbase 80in wheelbase version available with a canvas tilt, the wheelbase stretched to 86 inches in 1953 and 88 in 1956. A long-wheelbase version was also introduced in 1953 with a 107in wheelbase, which increased to 109in for 1956. Hard tops and station wagons also became available.

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The Landy and Fender stories, created by Veronica Lamond, have thrilled countless children since Landy hit bookstore shelves in 2010. There are now eight books in the series, plus a load of teaching resources on Veronica’s website.


It wasn’t until the Defender L663 was launched in 2019 that an official Lego set of a vehicle became available and another model – an expedition Defender 90 – has just been launched. But that wasn’t Land Rover’s first collaboration with the brand; a record-breaking 13-metre high, 5,805,846 Lego brick replica of London’s Tower Bridge was built for the launch of the Discovery 5 in 2016.


When the military started looking for a replacement for the 101 gun tractor in 1985, Land Rover raided the parts bin and submitted the Llama for testing. With a 1¾-ton payload, and tilting cab, it could have been a formidable tool, but was rejected because it wasn’t stable enough off-road and didn’t have a powerful enough engine.


The sleek concept vehicle that would become the Range Rover Evoque was shown to the world at the Geneva motor show in 2008.


These headlights use LEDs to project light onto the road in vertical sections, and onboard cameras to work out where other road-users are, dimming the light to avoid dazzling them.

Gerry McGovern

Land Rover’s Chief Creative Officer has been responsible for keeping the brand fresh since 2006 and, in terms of design, the Range Rover Velar is arguably the pinnacle of his work for the company so far.


The military was interested in Land Rovers from the very start and vehicles were taken for military trials early on. Various models were used over the years, and although they looked similar in appearance to civilian models, the chassis were often different and parts were slightly higher spec.


The Belgian company started to build Land Rovers under licence in 1951, using Solihull-supplied chassis, engines and transmissions with a locally fabricated steel body with its distinctive sloping front wings.

Model kits

Kids have loved building plastic models since they were invented and there has been no shortage of Land Rover kits to keep modellers happy over the years, and more are still being launched.


Meaning North American Specification, it was initially used to describe the Defender 90s and 110s sold in the US in the 1990s, but is also used describe parts specific to those territories.


As part of its testing, Land Rover took a Supercharged Range Rover Sport SVR to the Nürburgring and set an SUV lap record, taking just 8 minutes 14 seconds to drive the 12.9-mile Nordschleife circuit – an average of 94mph.


Coming up in part four, we'll be looking at Pre-Pros and Range Stormers...


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