In 1947, British engineer Maurice Fernand Cary Wilks stumbled upon a moment when he took time to study the design and technicalities of an American World War II Jeep which he used one summer holiday in his vacation farmhouse in Newborough, Isle of Anglesey, Wales.
Working as the Chief Engineer in the Rover Company, he immediately thought of designing a prototype, which used the Jeep’s chassis and suspension. After a year’s worth of research and development, the first Land Rover was born. Nicknamed the “Centre Steer”, its main purpose is to be used for farming, transporting people and goods to different places, and other industrial tasks. As a prototype, it underwent further refinements, until the first officially-produced Land Rover rolled out of the assembly line in 1948 known as the Land Rover Series I.
Land Rover, as we know it today, had its own share of highs and lows. In 1967, after the production of the Land Rover Series II and Land Rover Series II-A, Wilks’ Rover Company became part of the British Leyland, and was rebranded as the Rover Triumph. Three years later, the first ever Range Rover made its debut, followed by the Land Rover Series III launch, a year after. All was good until 1975 when the company lost its ground, but it did not stopped the Land Rover from progressing, as it levelled up to be a separate company called the Land Rover Leyland Group, a milestone which prompted the production of the 1-millionth Land Rover unit in 1976. In 1983, after another turnaround in management, the Land Rover 90 was introduced, and was renamed as the Land Rover Defender in 1990.
After the brand’s ownership under BMW AG in 1994, it was bought by Ford Motor Company in 2000 until 2007. Now, Indian carmaker Tata owns the rights to the Land Rover brand, along with Jaguar Cars, thus continuing what was left behind by the previous generations towards success.
Here in the Philippines, Coventry Motors Corporation is the official importer and distributor of Jaguar and Land Rover models. The first official dealer under Coventry Motors is the All British Cars, Inc. that showcases the Jaguar models in its Greenhills (EDSA) showroom.