Land Rover … is one of the most storied brands in the history of the automobile, but there are some facts about the brand that would surprise all but the most die-hard fan of the British automaker. The brand occupies a unique space in the world of automobiles due to its heritage, luxury status, and commitment to off-road prowess, but I bet its ownership, origins, and source of major components would surprise many car fans.
Land Rover Make Created in the ’70s, Arrived in the US in the ’80s
For 30 years, Land Rover was merely a model of vehicle sold and produced by the Rover brand, but in 1978, Land Rover became its own individual company. Also, the Range Rover, Land Rover’s flagship luxury SUV offering, was not released in the United States until 1986, despite being sold in Europe since 1970.
Range Rover Evoque Is a Ford?
The entry-level Range Rover Evoque has brought the Range Rover nameplate to the masses and been a major sales success for the storied maker of luxury SUVs and crossovers. The platform that underpins the Range Rover Evoque model is a highly modified version of Ford’s EUCD platform which can also be found under many mid-’00s Volvos and Ford MPVs like the S-Max and Galaxy, as well as the Ford Mondeo sedan. The 2.0-liter engine from the Range Rover Evoque is also a Ford product and can be found in blue oval products like the Edge, Explorer, and Taurus, as well as the Volvo S60.
Posh Spice, Car Designer?
For the 2013 model year, Victoria Beckham was contracted to design a special edition Range Rover Evoque model that would sport her name. From a technological standpoint, the special edition Evoque was identical to mainstream models, but the limited run of 200 crossover SUVs featured very posh interior adornments and details that set it apart from the more pedestrian interiors that usually define the Range Rover Evoque model.
Range Rovers Powered by Buick Engines
Some people may scoff at the Range Rover Evoque for utilizing a platform and engine from Ford, but those people should look to Land Rover’s history for some perspective. The Buick 215 engine which powered Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Pontiacs in the early ’60s was a crucial component of many Land Rover products. In fact, this Buick V-8 engine could be found in the Defender 90/110, first-generation Range Rover, and first-generation Discovery.
Range Rover Sport Is A Discovery 3/LR3
The first-generation Range Rover Sport was produced from 2006 through 2013, but the model’s name was somewhat confusing to those who did not study the architecture underpinning the vehicle. While this sporty Land Rover was named the Range Rover Sport, it was not built on the Range Rover’s chassis, but rather the lower-end Discovery 3/LR3 platform, creating huge profit margins for the British automaker.
First Land Rovers Built on Jeeps
The American Jeeps that helped the Allies win World War 2 left a profound influence on the European people due to their rugged nature and utilitarian ideals. In fact, the first Land Rovers from 1948 actually utilized the chassis from those iconic Jeeps that were used during the wartime efforts.
The First Car Seen By Most of the World’s Population
If you asked the average person what was the first car seen by most of the world’s population they would probably guess something like a Volkswagen Beetle or Golf, Toyota Corolla, or something similar. Those people would have failed to take into account how many remote places in the world were first traveled by old school Land Rover products . British imperialism and the rugged build of old Land Rovers made them the first car seen by much of the world’s population for many decades.
Defender’s Never-Ending Production
The Land Rover Defender name was not adopted until the early-’90s, but the vehicle was a direct decedent of the original Land Rover from 1948. While many Americans assume that the Defender is no longer in production since American Land Rover dealerships are now exclusively populated with luxury models like the Range Rover, the Defender remains for sale in Europe, although production is scheduled to halt in December of 2015.
Resale Value of the Iconic Defender 90
The Land Rover Defender 90 models that made their way over to the United States during the ’90s were true to their utilitarian roots. The Defender 90 eschews soft, hand-sewn leather, beautiful hand-polished wood trim, and power gadgets for rough and tough build and a vehicle that is essentially an Anglophile Jeep Wrangler. Many people are shocked when they find out what these utility vehicles sell for on the used market, though. As of the spring of 2014, Land Rover Defender 90s were trading for between $25,000 and $60,000 in the United States.
Owned by Tata Motors?
Land Rover, like many British car makers, has a history filled with financial troubles and multiple ownership changes. In 2008, Ford’s Premier Automotive Group sold off Land Rover to Tata Motors of India. The irony of a British vehicle historically used to traverse the United Kingdom’s colonial conquests falling into the hands of an Indian company shows just how fascinating globalisation and the consolidation of the auto industry can be, at times.