Love Land Rovers? Think you know everything about the Land Rover? You probably know everything about them, or so you thought. Check out this trivia and impress your friends with some crazy bizarre Land Rover facts.
Land Rover makes some of the best SUV cars in the world. We all know this. But there are many facts you didn’t know. How many of you knew that the Land Rover were owned by the BMW and that the first car made by this company had steering wheel in the middle (it was redesigned after). Luckily, there are many more interesting facts about this British version of legendary Jeep. Yes, Land Rover started its life as the British version of the Jeep.
Here are 15 of the craziest things we bet you didn’t know about Land Rovers.
1. Land Rovers predate Land Rover by 30 years
The original Series I Land Rover was introduced in April 1948, making the Land Rover the second oldest four-wheel drive vehicles in history after the Willys Jeep.
However, for the first three decades the Land Rover was made by Rover; Land Rover as a company wasn’t actually founded until 1978 during a particularly odd period in the British automotive industry.
2. The first Land Rover had its steering wheel in the middle
Modelled after the US-made Jeeps from the Second World War, the original Land Rover was designed by Rover engineer Maurice Wilks, who owned a farm in Wales.
3. The first Range Rovers were actually known as ‘Velars’
Before the Range Rover entered full production, the first 25 pre-production models were instead badged as the Velar, in a bid to confuse the public so they wouldn’t speculate about the car. The top-secret development versions are now in fact extremely sought after, with one sold for more than £30,000 at auction back in 2013.
4. Land Rover gave vehicles to students to race around the world
In the mid-1950s, Land Rover used to provide vehicles for Oxbridge students to drive across full continents, all in the name of a good education. Land Rover provided Series I models to teams of students from Oxford and Cambridge for two expeditions, one which saw the teams compete against the clock to make it Cape Town and back, and a race from London to Singapore.
5. The Range Rover’s designer used to make jet engines
The man who would go on to design the Range Rover, Charles S. King, got his start developing a jet turbine engine for Rolls Royce before making the switch to the Rover company in the late 1950s.
6. The original Range Rover designer thought using them in towns and cities was stupid.
Charles “Spen” King, who led the first Range Rover design team in the 1960s, was dismayed by the way the car has been adopted by what he called the “pompous, self-important driver”. In 2004, he was quoted as saying “to use them in the school run, or even in towns and cities at all, is completely stupid”. He drove a Volkswagen Golf R32 before he died in 2010 in a cycling accident.
7. Land Rover made the first monster truck
They build it 30 years before the others. Like the Series II Cuthbertson, what’s arguably the world’s first monster truck came as a result of necessity. The British Forestry Commission demanded that Land Rover create a road-going vehicle that could tackle even the deepest puddles.
8. Land Rover made the first crossover in the 1950s
In another first for the company, Land Rover was also responsible for the first crossover SUV as far back as the 1950s, more than half a century before crossovers became popular. Known as the Road Rover, the vehicle was based on a car platform like modern crossovers, and combined the comfort of a regular car with the signature off-road ability that Land Rover’s vehicles became renowned for.
9. Range Rover Change in Ownership
When the Rover group was bought by BMW in 1994, the Germans split Land Rover from Rover before pawning Land Rover off to Ford in 2000. The companies remained separate until Ford bought the Range Rover brand in 2006, while both Land Rover and Range Rover were consolidated into the larger Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover in 2008.
10. The company’s military vehicles made Hummers look like toys
The Land Rover 101 Forward Vehicle was originally built to tow howitzer cannons, and was essentially Britain’s answer to the hard-as-nails Mercedes-engineered Unimog. Drivers sat ahead of the front wheels, hence its name, and the vehicle was so large that Land Rover had to integrate a step into the wheel just so the pilot could climb up into the cabin.
11. Land Rover also made First floating SUV Land Rover Defender
Not content with tackling the earth, Land Rover turned into attention to the sea when it released the unique Floating Ninety Defender, which was copied from the design of several aquatic Series II military prototypes from the 1960s.
More of a river raft than a full-blown sea vessel, the floating Landie nonetheless comes with a dedicated propeller at the back, a rudder to steer and a snorkel to prevent its diesel engine from drowning.
12. The Range Rover was displayed in the Louvre
The Range Rover currently holds the honour of being the only vehicle ever to be displayed in the Louvre gallery in Paris, thanks to the fact that it was considered a masterpiece of industrial design.It’s something that really cheesed off the car’s designers, Charles S. King. He had designed the Range Rover to be a utilitarian vehicle and literally drew a box around the inner components, thinking that the design would be updated at a later date.
13. Land Rover Hollywood Connection
Land Rover built 33 unique and slightly terrifying vehicles for the 1995 Judge Dredd movie starring Sylvester Stallone, including the 101 Forward Vehicle-derived ‘City Cab’.
After filming wrapped up, Land Rover converted most of them back to regular vehicles but left a few of them as they were so they could be driven the premiere of the movie in London.
Land Rover also built 10 LAND ROVER DEFENDER for james bond movie spectre
14. Land Rover won the first Paris-Dakar rally.
The Range Rover might be better known as luxurious transport with occasional ventures into the sand, but it’s more talented than that. The winner of the first ever Paris-Dakar Rally in 1979 was – you guess it – driving a Range Rover. A car that, at the time, was already nearly a decade old. It would win again in 1981.
15. Queen Elizabeth Once Took King Abdullah For A Drive
The queen is rumored to have “terrorized” then-Crown Prince Abdullah with her driving skills, learned during World War II when she was but a princess and trained as a mechanic and military truck driver for the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service of the British Army.
Although she’s been seen behind the wheel of many cars in the course of her lifetime, the Queen’s favourite has always been the Land Rover Defender. Having owned more of these than any other, the unofficial count hovers at around 30 royal Land Rovers.