Land Rover Logo

Land Rover: Celebrating 70+ Years of the Iconic 4x4

29th Apr 2021

70+ years of 4x4 excellence

Since the launch of the first ever Land Rover Series I in 1948 at the Amsterdam motor show, UK manufacturer Land Rover has gone on to sell more than 7 million models.

During more than 70 years of Land Rover, the off-road maker has developed itself quite the reputation, and is considered the pinnacle in off-road vehicles. Legendary 4x4 vehicles such as the Defender and Range Rover are hugely popular throughout the world. We take a look at some of the key moments in their incredible history.


01 January

Land Rover Series I

Land Rover Series I

The legendary Land Rover name started 70 years ago, with the birth of the iconic Land Rover Series I.

Offered in a single paint colour, light green, the Series I was launched as a multipurpose off-road vehicle and delivered just 50bhp from a 1.6-litre petrol engine, however, its 80Ib-ft of torque was impressive.

It became a roaring success for Land Rover and in 1949, the decision was made to paint all Land Rovers in the British Army's dark green as they ordered so many of these vehicles.


01 January

Land Rover Series II

Land Rover Series II

Ten years later, the Land Rover Series II was launched and the model continued to be made for over 13 years.

Receiving a major upgrade, the petrol engine's capacity increased to a 2.3-litre unit producing 77bhp. Whilst the diesel engine was also upgraded to the same capacity with 62bhp in 1961, when the Series IIA was introduced.

It helped Land Rover go from strength to strength and by the end of the ‘50s over 250,000 Land Rovers had been sold worldwide.


01 January

Land Rover Range Rover

Land Rover Range Rover

Another important milestone in the history of Land Rover, the birth of the legendary Range Rover.

A rare combination, at the time, of elegance and capability; it was the first vehicle to feature permanent 4-wheel drive in addition to the, now iconic, split tailgate.

Coming with headline features such as independent suspension and of course a new iconic V8 engine, the Range Rover was instantly recognised for its luxurious stance.


01 January

Land Rover Series III

Land Rover Series III

Running from 1971 to 1985, the Land Rover Series III continued to sell as well as its predecessors.

The introduction of a moulded grille and a refreshed interior were the main features which differentiated the Series III from the Series II.

However, in 1979 a significant development was made to the Series III as the Stage I V8 engine, based on the already familiar 3.5-litre engine in the original Range Rover, was born. Delivering 91bhp and plenty of torque, off-roading enthusiasts were most pleased with this advancement.


01 January

1 Million

Land Rover Series I

An incredible achievement was made by in the mid ‘70s, with Land Rover producing their 1 millionth vehicle, clearly a brand that was going places.


01 January

Land Rover Range Rover 4-door

Land Rover Range Rover 4-door

Interestingly, it was not until 11 years after the Range Rover Classic 2-door was launched that Land Rover followed up with a 4-door variant.

Just a year later an automatic gearbox was introduced to the model range and the first diesel Range Rover arrived in 1986.

With a 26 year lifespan, it is clear to see why the first generation Range Rover was such a hit and the current model continues to be a popular SUV today.


01 January

Land Rover One Ten

Land Rover One Ten

An updated addition to the Land Rover line-up, the One Ten featured coil spring suspension from the Range Rover to deliver a more comfortable drive as well as better on-road dynamics.

The One Ten followed on from the Series I, II and III.


01 January

Land Rover Ninety

Land Rover Ninety

Joining the long-wheelbase One Ten, the Land Rover Ninety featured new one-piece doors with wind-up windows.

A natural evolution of the very first Land Rover, the Ninety and One Ten gradually became more refined as they increasingly began to appeal to family buyers.


01 January

40th anniversary of Land Rover

Range Rover

The late ‘80s saw Land Rover reach its 40th anniversary with total sales of over 1.6-million vehicles worldwide.


01 January

Birth of the Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover Discovery

Just before the nineties, Land Rover launched their first new model since the Range Rover back in 1970.

Named the Discovery, it was designed to be an everyday family car and featured a distinctive single rear door where the spare wheel was mounted.

Seating five occupants, with the option to add an extra two jump seats in the rear, the Discovery made not only a great family car but also gained a fantastic reputation as a versatile towing vehicle.


01 January

Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender Range

Due to the introduction of the Discovery in 1989, there was some confusion with the naming of Land Rover's vehicles so the original Land Rover gained its own name; Defender. This name was chosen as a nod to its service to the armed forces.

Retaining its recognisable looks from the very first Land Rover Series I launched in 1948, with the iconic boxy proportions, the Defender simply built on the success of its predecessors.


01 January

Range Rover - second generation

Range Rover Second Generation

Replacing the original Range Rover Classic, the second generation delivered heightened luxury and introduced even more features and technology such as satellite navigation, which was cutting-edge in 1994.

Certain design elements seen in the second generation Range Rover are still recognisable in the present day such as the rectangular headlamps and the iconic silhouette.


01 January

Freelander is launched

Land Rover Freelander

The late nineties saw another completely new Land Rover model, in the form of their first compact SUV; the Freelander.

It was offered in two bodystyles, a conventional 5-door and a more sports-focused 3-door.

Pioneer of the compact premium 4x4 class, Freelander 1 had 16 patented features including Hill Descent Control (HDC), Immediate Reduction Drive (IDR), a vicious-coupling (VCU) and an innovative ABS system designed specifically for off-road situations.


01 January

Discovery 2

Land Rover Discovery 2

Longer and wider than its predecessor, Discovery 2 boasted more interior space, as well as improved ride and handling, thanks to Self-Levelling Suspension and Active Corner Enhancement.


01 January

Range Rover - third generation

Range Rover Third Generation

Continuing to evolve, the design of the third generation Range Rover was inspired by The Italian Riva speedboat and was the first to be built with a monocoque single shell body.


01 January

BBC Top Gear name Land Rover ‘the greatest car of all time’

Land Rover Defender

An icon since 1948, the original Land Rover (now known as the Land Rover Defender) is aptly named 'the greatest car of all time' by viewers of popular television motoring programme Top Gear.


01 January

Discovery 3

Land Rover Discovery 3

The launch of the Discovery 3 in 2004 saw the vehicle receive a massive refresh compared to the original Discovery, launched 15 years before.

Although the Discovery 3 retained its classic exterior features, it was actually an entirely new vehicle underneath.

Reimagined for the 21st century, the vehicle's infotainment received major upgrades and it even features the highly-acclaimed Terrain Response system.


01 January

Range Rover Sport

Range Rover Sport

During 2005, Land Rover launched their first performance-focussed vehicle in the Range Rover family, the Range Rover Sport.

Powered by an almighty 4.2-litre petrol engine, which delivered rapid acceleration, the Range Rover Sport offered cross-linked air suspension, providing drivers with optional ride height to optimise comfort and 4x4 driving.


01 January

Defender Evolution

Land Rover Defender Evolution

The 122bhp 5-cylinder Td5 engine, which had been the standard Defender engine since 1998, was replaced in 2007 with the 122bhp Puma/DuraTorq TDCI 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine.

Further changes included the addition of a 6-speed gearbox, a safer and more modern dashboard as well as forward-facing rear seats in the Station Wagon.


01 January

Discovery 4

Land Rover Discovery 4

Mechanical updates such as the introduction of a larger capacity diesel engine and external cosmetic enhancements were seen with the introduction of the Discovery 4 in 2009.

The introduction of both Trailer Stability Assist and Hitch Guidance technology led the Discovery 4 to being awarded the 'Tow Car of the Decade' accolade by the Tow Car Awards


01 January

Freelander 2

Freelander 2

Having received a new upgraded diesel engine, with stronger performance and improved efficiency, as well as an updated exterior and interior; the Freelander 2 was released in 2010.

The key difference between the Freelander 2 and the original Freelander was the option to choose a two-wheel drive variant.


01 January

Range Rover Evoque is launched

Range Rover Evoque

A new stylish premium compact SUV, the Range Rover Evoque was launched as a 3-door but was later joined by a 5-door variant in 2013.

Appealing to a wide global market, the Evoque quickly became Land Rover's greatest sales success story.


01 January

Range Rover - fourth generation 

Range Rover Fourth Generation

Being the first to feature a lightweight all-aluminium body, the fourth instalment of the Range Rover was as capable and luxurious as ever.

Receiving enhancements to the Terrain Response® system, a revised exterior design and improved interior equipment levels; the Range Rover was still recognisable thanks to its long wheelbase and floating roof.


01 January

Jaguar Land Rover Merger

Jaguar Land Rover Merger

In 2013 Land Rover merged with Jaguar to create Jaguar Land Rover. Producing an exciting array of performance, luxury and off-road vehicles.

01 January

Range Rover Hybrid

Range Rover Hybrid

Delivering improved fuel economy and reduced emissions the first hybrid of the Range Rover family was just as capable as its siblings.

Embarking on a 16,000km journey from Solihull to Mumbai, via the Himalayas, the Range Rover Hybrid proved its remarkable capabilities.

01 January

Range Rover Sport - second generation

Range Rover Sport Second Generation

Modernised design features and increased efficiencies from the 3.0-litre V6 engine were the key upgrades for the second iteration of the Range Rover Sport.

Certain streets in New York were temporarily closed for the spectacular launch event where James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, unveiled the revised model.


01 January

Discovery Sport

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Launched as the world's most versatile premium compact SUV, the Discovery Sport displayed bold and progressive design cues already recognised in the popular Discovery.

Built with the spirit of the Freelander, the Discovery Sport has the same do-it all attitude and delivers a confident drive on and off-road.


01 January

Special Vehicle Operations (SVO)

Range Rover Sport SVR

Meet the fastest Land Rover ever, the Range Rover Sport SVR, the pinnacle of refinement and luxury, the Range Rover SVAutobiography and the first armoured Land Rover, the Range Rover Sentinel.

Each of these outstanding vehicles were created by the Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) Team.

Luxury, performance and capability are taken to new levels to create these unique ultra-high performance SUVs.

01 January

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

Range Rover's may be well-known for their all-terrain 4x4 capabilities but in 2015 we saw a new 'first' from the Land Rover brand; the Range Rover Evoque Convertible.

The Z-Folding Roof added to the eye-catching looks of the stunning premium compact convertible SUV.


01 January

Discovery 5

Land Rover Discovery 5

A design revolution was seen with Discovery 5 receiving the biggest makeover yet.

The exterior looks may be sleeker than the Discovery 5's predecessors, however, the vehicle is just as a capable as the first generation Discovery.

There are not many vehicles that can be described as both a family car and a 'workhorse' but the Discovery 5 is just that and does both jobs extremely well.


01 January

Range Rover Velar Launched

Range Rover Velar

The avant-garde Range Rover, the Range Rover Velar sits between the entry-level Evoque and Range Rover Sport in the Range Rover range.

Judged the most beautifully designed vehicle on the planet, winning the World Car Design of 2018 at the World Car Awards, the Velar is effortlessly refined and capable.


01 January

First Land Rover plug-in hybrid vehicle

Range Rover Sport PHEV

With electric power high on the agenda for car manufacturers everywhere, Land Rover chose 2018 to release their first plug-in hybrid vehicle, in the form of the Range Rover Plug-In Hybrid and the Range Rover Sport Plug-In Hybrid.

Both models retain their high-quality and luxurious features, yet offer intelligent hybrid technology.

01 January

Defender Works V8 70th Edition

Land Rover Defender V8

Despite the Defender ending production in 2016, almost 70 years after its Land Rover Series birth in 1948, Land Rover decided to bring back the Defender one last time as a 70th birthday celebration.

In doing so, they have created the most powerful and refined Land Rover Defender ever.

The V8 powered 400bhp, limited-run, special edition can accomplish 60mph from zero in just 5.6 seconds.

01 January

Range Rover Evoque - second generation

Range Rover Evoque Second Generation

The original Range Rover Evoque took the world by storm and created a whole new segment, known as the compact SUV.

Evolving into an even more refined and luxury vehicle, the second generation Evoque was launched not only with the conventional petrol and diesel engines but also as either a mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid.

01 January

Discovery Sport - second generation

Land Rover Discovery Sport Second Generation

Not only does the second generation Discovery Sport embody new design elements and electrified engines, it possesses all the benefits from the successful previous version.


01 January

New Land Rover Defender 110 is launched

Land Rover New Defender

Reimagined for the 21st Century, the new Land Rover Defender was launched at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Retaining its instantly recognisable silhouette and character, the iconic vehicle is capable of handling all terrains whilst providing a safe and comfortable ride.


11 June

Along came the Defender 90

Defender 90 First Edition

Just as capable as the larger 110, the 90 is a 3-door short wheelbase version of the iconic vehicle. Powered by the same range of engines, the 90 is still capable of seating up to six occupants.

01 January

Hard Top Commercial models added to the Defender family

Land Rover Defender Hard Top

Practical commercial versions of both the 90 and 110 join the Defender family and restore the 'Hard Top' name to the iconic 4x4.

01 January

Plug-in hybrid powertrains added to multiple Land Rover vehicles

Range Rover Evoque PHEV


01 January

Defender V8 joins the range

Land Rover 90 V8

Fastest and most powerful Defender ever to be made, the potent Defender V8 90 and 110 was added to the range.

The new 525hp supercharged V8 petrol engine propels the 90 from 0 to 60mph in just 4.9 seconds.

Experience the capabilities of the Land Rover range

Iconic vehicles feature throughout Land Rover's impressive history, from the utilitarian Land Rover Series I, II and III to the immensely capable and luxurious Range Rover Classic.

Despite Land Rover's present day range of vehicles displaying modern design elements and state-of-the-art technology equipment, each vehicle pays homage to the originals; retaining the instantly recognisable silhouettes.

Contact your nearest Stratstone Land Rover retailer to explore the Land Rover new car range and experience the sheer driving pleasure these vehicles offer with a test drive.