Sunday, February 22, 2009
Ranting Stan's Sunday Drive: The Land Rover
As this is aimed at classic cars I do, of course, mean the original Land Rover Series (I,II,III) originally launched in 1948 - a vehicle which has become so iconic that the term "land rover" came to refer to virtually any vehicle that could go off road before the phrase 4x4 or SUV became common.
The farmers favourite is the original peoples 4x4 - the first SUV - and it was with this in mind that Land Rover soon followed up the rather basic model with a "station wagon" version in 1949. Over the years the Land Rover was available in a number of different sizes, shapes and forms from basic pick up to seven seater, five door family saloon with all the trim.
These early Land Rovers are characterised by the headlamps which were mounted inboard of the wings behind the radiator grille. Later versions would see the headlights moved forward so that they were in front of the grille and, later still, moved to the conventional wing position.
More than sixty years later and the original Land Rover concept is still more or less in production in the form of the Defender and in that time the Land Rover has demonstrated it's immense off road capabilities in virtually every corner of the globe.
Conceived when we were still recovering from the shock and devastation of WW2 the Land Rover proved the ability of British technology to still produce a world beating vehicle and also serves as a metaphor for the Britain of old in the way it changed lives and brought modernity and civilisation to every nation of the world.
Most of all it serves as a symbol of the conversion of Britain from a "can do" society to a "can't be bothered" society.