Land Rover is a UK-based manufacturer of luxury four-wheel-drive vehicles. It started life with the now defunct Rover Company and has been part of Leyland Motor Corporation, British Leyland, BMW and Ford. Currently, it operates as a division of Indian automotive giant Tata Motors.
Land Rover Information
Spencer Wilks |
|Headquarters||Whitley, Coventry, United Kingdom|
|Current owner||Tata Motors|
|Past owners||Ford Motor Company |
British Leyland Motor Corporation
Leyland Motor Corporation
Land Rover History: From Rover and Jeep
Land Rover was launched in 1948 by the Rover Company and remained a model in the carmaker’s line-up. It was only in 1978 that it developed into a brand encompassing a range of four-wheel-drive models.
The Wilks brothers were brought in from Hillman Motor Car Company in 1929 and 1930 as a measure to restructure and recover the ailing Rover Company which had been producing cars since 1901.
During World War II, Maurice Wilks was involved in a gas turbine engine for aircrafts. It was eventually passed to Rolls Royce but Maurice kept tinkering with the design and also launched a gas turbine powered car – first of its kind.
The idea of Land Rover was born at Maurice’s farm in Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey during post-war years. In 1947, Maurice was joined by his brother Spencer who was the managing director of Rover Company at the time and both brothers came up with the idea of developing a utility four-wheel-drive vehicle for farmers.
Maurice was already using an army surplus Willys Jeep for farm work and it became the basis for further development. By 1947, the team had developed a prototype, named Center Steer (yes, it had steering wheel in the middle!!!), and the vehicle was eventually launched in 1948. Needless to say, the model was a runaway hit and the rest is history.
Land Rover Logo Meaning and History
The Land Rover emblem isn’t exactly a piece of art and it was never supposed to be one. Since Land Rover was a utilitarian product, its badge simply carried the name LAND ROVER in italics font on a black oval nameplate. The words appeared in two lines and were joined (or rather struck through) by a line making a Z-shaped pattern. The line represented the difficult terrain that the vehicle was capable of navigating and was an early hint to what would evolve into the ‘Above and Beyond’ philosophy in later years.
This way, the badge projected Land Rover as a no-nonsense, utilitarian tool which can be put to a wide range of uses. The oval casting also carried SOLIHULL, WARWICKSHIRE and ENGLAND in the empty space, referring to the place of production. An extra plate below mentioned FOUR WHEEL DRIVE STATION WAGON.
This badge continued for a long time and it was only in 1971 that the company went for a new representation which was rectangular and contained LAND-ROVER with a hyphen. It was clearly not a very good sign for an iconic brand and thus, the company went back to the original oval when it introduced the Defender models in 1984. The secondary plate simply stated if the model was a DEFENDER 90 or DEFENDER 110.
The next big change came in 1989 when the company opted for a more traditional logo. The new oval-shaped Land Rover logo was created with a vivid green background and carried the brand name in off white colour. The Z-shaped strike through line was reduced to what looks like a set of single quotation marks. All other text inscriptions were dropped and the oval was surrounded by a white border.
There is an unconfirmed story that the symbol is inspired by an oval-shaped oil drop that the logo designer noticed while having lunch. However, this may just be, well a story. Another theory behind the choice of green color is that it represented a move closer to nature.
While there may be nothing remarkable about Land Rover emblem, it is visually distinct as well as elegant and has gained wide acceptance among car users.