Land Rover Series 1

Land Rover Series 1

Landrover, Land-Rover, Laro… What is in a name? After the 2e World War I, Rover tried to restart car production as soon as possible. One of the projects was the development of a British replacement for the American CJ-2 Jeep. passenger cars. This type became known only later as 'Land Rover Series 80', when the Series 1 appeared in 1958.

Land Rover: The best 4 by 4 by far

The world premiere of the vehicle took place at the Amsterdam auto show in the RAI. The order book quickly filled up and production of the Land-Rover (then with a dash in between) started. Rover's all-rounder was built around a steel ladder chassis, leaf springs and rigid axles (from the Rover P2). And the body of the Land Rover Series 1 consisted of easy-to-manufacture aluminum panels.

The four-cylinder 50 HP 1595 cc petrol engine and gearbox were the same as those of the Rover P3. The first versions of the Land-Rover had permanent 1951-wheel drive until 4. In fact, only one body variant was possible with the Land Rover Series 1: the 80-inch version with hood. Although a dense station wagon has been designed and sold in small numbers by bodybuilder Tickford with Rover's approval. Tickford later also made the most exclusive Tickford über Capri, which we previously had in AMK.

Land Rover and the tax authorities

Due to the British tax system, most of the approximately 650 copies were for export. More body styles became available from 1950. A metal hardtop, a closed pick-up (truck cab) and specialized commercial vehicles. In that year, the grille was also slightly adjusted, so that the headlights were released. In 1952 the 1595 cc petrol engine was replaced by a 1997 cc 52 HP version.


To transport more volume in the Land Rover Series 1, the 1954-inch wheelbase was extended by 80-inches for model year 6 and the rear of the vehicle extended by 3-inches. This resulted in 25% extra loading space. Meanwhile, the Land-Rover was not only used as a military vehicle, but also all kinds of agricultural accessories were designed. They could be powered by one of the 3 PTO's (power take offs = branches of the engine).
The 86-inch grille had evolved into an inverted 'T' mesh, with the headlamps remaining within the wheel arches but clear of the mesh.

The wire mesh grille was used for barbecuing in Australia, but that aside. New body styles were added for the 86-inch. An 86-inch station wagon. Similar to a hardtop, but with rear seats, side windows and a double roof. Plus a 107-inch long wheel base (LWB), first only as a pick-up, later also as a station wagon. The LWB 107-inch was an important 2e model, next to the short wheel base (SWB) 86 inch.

The diesel time, 88-inch and 109-inch

The 1957 cc 2052 HP diesel engine developed in 51 needed more space in the engine compartment. So that the wheelbase had to be increased to 88-inch and 109-inch. The 2 liter diesel was later used as the basis for the 2286 cc petrol and diesel versions in the Series 2. The first Series 2 Land-Rovers became available in 1958. So there are relatively few Land Rover Series 1 with 88- or 109-inch wheelbase. The LWB Stationwagon variant was never equipped with the diesel engine and remained on a wheelbase of 107-inch.

Also interesting to read:
- Range Rover Classic. The niche far beyond
- Range Rover 1.0
- Toyota Land Cruiser. The iconic Toyota
- AutoRAI Land Rover. Lost, recovered and back on the road after 50 years
- Homage: Last Land Rover Defender by Piet Boon


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  1. Beautiful pictures Dolf lasting memory of your visit to us and the extensive article in AMK. Jean-Jacques is currently on his way with his Land Rover for a camping holiday with a roof tent, this classic is not yet retired!

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