It is full of unique twists and turns, that continue even today as the company heads in a new direction under new ownership. JUST 4x4s has dedicated this issue to celebrating the Land Rover story. It is a story of ingenuity, of inspired brilliance, of achievement and ultimately one of perseverance and success. The Land Rover was born out of adversity and went on to be the saviour for a foundering Rover company. Much more, the Land Rover went on to become a British icon - as famous, and every bit as tough, as the British bulldog. The concept of 4WD was established many years prior to the advent of the Land Rover, and the Willys Jeep was the vehicle that put 4WD on the map.
The Land Rover was to take the concept of 4WD, and the robust characteristics of the Jeep to create a vehicle that contributed enormously to the development of the four-wheel drive vehicle. More so than the Jeep, Land Rover developed 4WD applications for agriculture, industry, the military and later recreation. The Land Rover was known as the "workhorse of the world" as it played an integral part in the developing British Empire of the 1950s. The Land Rover has endured its fair share of criticism from both enthusiasts and critics, yet has endured like few other vehicles.
Today, Land Rover means a range that extends from its original off road roots, to the leather bound luxury of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. But it has not forgotten its origins. The basic workhorse Defender continues to offer true hard core off road ability, while the range has now expanded to include Discovery, Freelander 2 and the luxury Range Rover duet. We look forward to the continuing evolution of the Land Rover and its special place in the 4WD world.
The first Land Rover - 1948 Series I:
The Land Rover 4WD came about more by default than inspired planning!
The Rover company was known as a manufacturer of luxury cars and during the war had turned their production and engineering facilities over to the war effort. At the end of hostilities the Rover company had production capacity, but was faced with a lack of raw materials, new models and their principle factory was in ruins. They were using their secondary facility at Solihull and could only receive sheet steel supplies if they could produce vehicles that could earn the government export dollars. As a result, Maurice Wilks came up with an idea for Rover to produce a 'stop-gap' vehicle for a few years to carry the company over.
Maurice had seen the Willys Jeep in action and used one on his farm, where he was impressed by its off road capability. This was the inspiration for a multi-purpose 'stop-gap' vehicle that together with his brother Spencer, Rover's Chief Engineer, they believed a 'Rover Jeep' with cross country capability far above the average, might open up entirely new markets for farmers and contractors. The Wilks brothers convinced the Rover Board of the viability of the 'Land Rover' and the rest is history. Under normal circumstances it would never have been contemplated - let alone built by Rover - but the peculiar set of circumstances that the company found itself in at the end of WWII, was the very catalyst that was to deliver the world a robust vehicle that was to go on to be a worldwide automobile success story.
The Land Rover quickly became a reality, with the first prototypes evaluated in 1947. A total of 48 were built for testing, with the official launch occurring at the Amsterdam Motor Show in April 1948. The first production models actually came off the production line in August of the same year. Being a stop-gap vehicle it was a basic design, using other Rover parts and requiring minimal press stamping for body panels. It used the same engine as the 1948 Rover 60 car and a similar gearbox modified to incorporate a two-speed transfer case. Due to the financial constraints of the company, it was essential that the Land Rover be manufactured as cheaply as possible, utilising any existing Rover parts. The 80-inch chassis was the same as the Willys Jeep on which the Series I was based.
The Land Rover utilised a separate box section chassis frame, front mounted engine with gearbox and transfer case running propeller shafts backwards and forwards to live front and rear axles. Semi elliptic road springs were used. The earliest Series Is featured a permanent four-wheel drive transmission with a front wheel selectable 2WD option. The more common 4WD transmission appeared in 1951. To keep costs to a minimum body panels were kept simple and made of aluminium as steel was too scarce. The engine and gearbox unit sat on four rubber blocks on a box frame chassis. Rover could not afford to construct the chassis from steel channel, instead welding four long strips of sheet steel into box sections and then welding them all together. Surprisingly they were exceptionally strong and able to withstand rough treatment.
The engine was the 1595cc four-cylinder petrol engine used in the Rover 60 car. A four-speed synchromesh gearbox (also from the car) was used, onto which a further casting was bolted to form part of the transfer case. It was provided with an alternative set of low range gears and provided a drive system for disconnecting the front drive. Front wheel drive was engaged/disengaged by a dog clutch incorporating a free wheel. The purpose being to allow the front wheels to over-run the rear, thereby stopping transmission windup. Both axles incorporated conventional spiral bevel drive to live half axles, within the case of the front wheels, constant speed universals. The Land Rover featured basic controls in keeping with the intended agricultural use of the vehicle.
Three push/pull knobs were located in the centre of the dashboard above the gear selection lever. These controlled the selection of high and low ratio in the transfer case, the free-wheel lock and the front wheel engagement dog. Another lever was located in a hinged flap in the seat ramp to the side of the driver's seat to control the rear power take-off. Instruments included a speedometer, petrol gauge (10 gallon/45 litres) and ammeter. Warning lights were provided for the engine lubrication system, operation of the choke and the ignition. A hand throttle was also provided for when the engine was providing stationary power.
There were three power take-offs, enabling a variety of external power uses for the Land Rover. From the outset the Land Rover was extremely popular, with demand easily outstripping supply. By the end of 1949, Spencer Wilk's 'stop-gap' philosophy for the Land Rover was in tatters. The Land Rover was the most successful Rover product, with sales having overtaken Rover sedans. It was clear that the Land Rover would be the mainstay of the company for many years to come. As its popularity remained unabated, Land Rover looked at developing the vehicle further.
Things were always under development and change was constant. By the end of 1949 the Land Rover had gained the three-speed gearbox from the Rover sedan and in February 1950 the first hardtop was offered. A new grille exposed the headlights and permanent four-wheel drive was replaced with a part time system. In 1951 the 1.6-litre engine was replaced with a more powerful 2.0-litre unit. To meet customer demands for a bigger rear cargo area, in 1954 the original 80-inch Land Rover was lengthened to 86-inches. Also added to the range was a 107-inch model - initially only available as a pickup. In June 1957, the first diesel Land Rover was introduced.
A year before Land Rover had made a significant change to the two new models - adding 2 inches to their chassis length. The extra two inches were added between the front axle and the bulkhead, rather than the load area, and many astute observers correctly guessed that a new engine was on its way. The 88-inch and 109-inch Land Rovers were introduced in 1956 and immediately replaced the 86 and 107-inch models, except for the 107 Station Wagon. Although in production for just two years, they were built in large numbers and over 40,000 were built in this period.
The extra two inches in the wheelbase accommodated the new diesel engine which was introduced in 1957, after the 88s and 109s had been on sale for a year. Critics have suggested that the new body length and the new engine should have been released together, but Land Rover was so busy, that the new wheelbase was introduced in advance of the engine becoming available to minimise production line disruption, and to spread the cost of the change.
1958 - 10th Anniversary welcomes Series II:
More than 200,000 Land Rovers of the original Series I models had been made when the tenth anniversary was marked in 1958 by the official introduction of the much revised Series II models. They retained the 88-inch and 109-inch wheel bases, but featured re-styled body with side skirts to cover up the exhaust pipe and chassis frame, and rounded body sides, a re-shaped bonnet and neater door hinges. The Land Rover was available in a greater range of colours, and also recognising the vehicles appeal to the private motorist Rover revised the suspension with softer road springs and modified dampers. The Series II also had claimed greater stability, and could be driven at an angle of 45º with safety. The petrol engine was enlarged to 2.3 litres, while the new 2052cc diesel variant was retained.
The diesel engine had been a long time coming with commercial customer interest expressed as early as 1953. Turner Engineering of Wolverhampton had in fact been supplying an aftermarket diesel transplant since 1953, offering a 2-litre, L40 unit and a 3.0 litre L60 unit. It's rare that a company gets it right first time round, but the Range Rover is a perfect example of an instant automotive classic, giving customers just about everything they wanted and needed. The Range Rover was so good, in fact, that it took 25 years before it received its first total makeover. The Range Rover was intended as a low production model, but again Rover got it wrong in this department! From its launch in a Cornwell quarry in June 1970, the Range Rover has been the luxury 4x4 that other manufacturers have aspired.
Rover had previously tried to build a luxury wagon, firstly with the two-wheel drive Road Rover of the 1950s, the 80-inch Land Rover station wagon of 1948 and the Series II Road Rover of 1958. None of these vehicles met with any success and it wasn't until the sixties that the idea of a wagon was revived. In the mid 1960s, Rover's newly formed New Vehicle Projects (NVP) division came back from a visit to America with reams of research data suggesting there was a growing market in four-wheel drive leisure vehicles. Here, the recreational market was booming with the launch of the International Scout 4WD in 1961. In July 1966, NVP started working on a vehicle that was to have saloon car levels of performance, handling, ride comfort and refinement, but with all the ruggedness and ability of a Land Rover, including its four-wheel drive capability.
Initial sketches and layout options devised by the NVP team led by Spen King, head of Rover's research and development, and backed by engineer Gordon Bashford and stylist David Bache, came up with a handsome three-door estate car built on a 100-inch wheelbase. The project was known internally as the 100-inch Station Wagon. Although the new car was to have a tough box-section chassis with a rigid body mounted on top, the new project differed considerably from the Land Rover in having long travel suspension with low-rate coil springs, rather than the traditional leaf springs. The first running vehicle was ready in September 1967. To confuse anyone as to ots origins, it was badged not as a Rover but as a "Velar", an acronym for Vee Eight LAnd Rover.
Seven prototypes of the 100-inch station wagon were built, but no major styling changes were introduced. By Easter of 1969, pre-production prototypes were being built by hand and these were the vehicles that were used for testing. The final production prototype was completed prior to Christmas 1969 and the first of a batch of 25 pre-production cars started coming off the assembly line in January 1970.
The first production Land Rover - No 166 was actually a pilot built for testing in 1947. When the company was finished with it, it was purchased by a Warwickshire farmer from the factory. Years later it was thought to be the first production Land Rover and the company bought it back in 1954 and restored it to original production specifications. The exhaust pipe emerging on the driver's side is a variance from the original specifiaction.
LAND ROVER MILESTONES 1948 - 2008
1948: The first production Land Rover is launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show on April 30th. It is equipped with permanent 4WD, canvas roof & optional doors. Doors become standard within months.
1949: First station wagon
1950: A metal hardtop is offered as an alternative to the canvas roof.
1950: Free-wheel feature is replaced by selectable 2/4WD.
1952: 2.0-litre engine is introduced
1954: First 86-inch wheelbase Land Rover is available.
1954: The first 107-inch, LWB model
1956: Both SWB & LWB Land Rovers gain 2-inches to become 88-inch and 109-inch models respectively.
1957: The first diesel powered Land Rover is produced
1958: The Series II Land Rover with a 2.25-litre petrol engine is launched
1959: In November, the 250,000th Land Rover is produced.
1962: The Series IIA is produced
1962: The Series 11 109-inch Forward Control version is introduced
1966: In April, the 500,000th Land Rover is produced.
1968: The Series IIA's head lamps are moved from the radiator grille to the front mud guards to meet new lighting regulations of several export markets.
1970: In June, the first Range Rover is launched. It is available in just one model - a two door wagon with split folding tailgate and four-speed manual transmission. It is equipped with permanent 4WD, a V8 engine, solid axles and coil springs.
1971: The 750,000th Land Rover is built
1971: In October, the Series III 88" and 109" models are launched with synchromesh gearbox, new radiator grille and new interior.
1972: The 101-inch military forward control model is launched
1972: The Range Rover is the first vehicle to cross the Darien Gap on the British Trans-Americas Expedition
1976: The 1 millionth Land Rover is produced.
1978: Land Ltd. is formed with plans to double production by the 1980s.
1979: The 109-inch Land Rover V8 is launched.
1981: Range Rover wins the Paris Dakar Rally
1982: Land Rover County station wagon becomes available with a more refined interior
1982: Automatic transmission is introduced on Range Rover
1982: In April, the four-door Range Rover is launched
1983: In March, the Land Rover 110 model is introduced with coil spring suspension, 5-speed gearbox, power steering and one piece windshield
1983: Five-speed manual gearbox is introduced in Range Rover
1984: Launch of the Land Rover 90
1984: Introduction of the 2.5-litre diesel engine
1985: V8 engine option for Land Rover 90
1985: Land Rovers now sold in 120 countries
1986: In October, 2.5-litre turbo-charged diesel engine is introduced in the Range Rover Turbo D, the first diesel Range Rover
1987: In March, the Range Rover is launched in North America with a fuel injected V8
1988: In October, the Range Rover chain-driven transfer box and viscous coupled centre differential are introduced - a first in the industry.
1988: 40th Anniversary of the Land Rover; over 1.6 million vehicles sold worldwide
1989: In October, the Range Rover receives a 3.9-litre V8. Four channel anti-lock brakes are introduced.
1989: The two-door Discovery - the first all new Land Rover in 19 years - is introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show with a new turbo-charged, direct injection diesel engine.
1990: The Land Rover 110 is renamed Defender. All diesel Defenders are given the new 2.5-litre direct injection turbo-charged diesel engine
1990: 20th Anniversary of the introduction of the Range Rover.
1991: Discovery is launched in Australia. Four-door Discovery is launched in Europe.
1992: Four door and turbo-diesel Discovery models launched in Australia, and Defender Chassis Cab is introduced
1993: Range Rover LSE is introduced. It has a 108-inch wheelbase and features electronic traction control and electronic air suspension.
1994: Range Rover is acquired by BMW Group
1994: All new Range Rover is launched in the UK?and Europe. It is the first 'clean sheet' redesign of the Range Rover in its 25 year history.
1995: Range Rover 4.0 SE and 4.6 HSE are introduced in Australia
1995: Land Rover tops 1000,000 units per year for the first time
1996: Defender 90 available with automatic transmission
1997: Land Rover launches Freelander, an all new 4WD range, in 3 and 5 door models.
Freelander is the first production vehicle to offer Hill Descent Control.
1998: Freelander is launched in Australia.
1998: April 30th - 50th Anniversary of Land Rover
2000: Range Rover's 30th Anniversary. More than 450,000 Range Rovers have been produced.
2000: Introduction of 400 special edition '30th Anniversary' Range Rovers.
2000: Land Rover Group Ltd, a newly created company separate from the Rover Group, is purchased from BMW by the Ford Motor Company.
2002: New Range Rover released
2002: May - The 500,000th Range Rover was produced at Land Rover's Solihull manufacturing plant, almost 32 years after the first model was built. The historic vehicle, an Epsom Green Range Rover Vogue 4.4 litre V8, was driven off the line by its new owner, England and Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman.
2005: New Range Rover variant, the Range Rover Sport debuts
2006: All new Freelander2 is introduced
2007: May - Four millionth Land Rover rolls off the production line - a Discovery 3
2007: New Defender range released. Range Rover & Range Rover Sport powered by turbo-diesel V8
2008: LRX Concept debuts at Detroit Motor Show
2008: Ford sells Land Rover and Jaguar to India's Tata Motors Ltd for around US$1.5 billion
Australia was in the midst of frantic expansion, with the population booming as migration from war ravaged Europe reached unprecedented levels. Demand for Australian primary products ran at an all time high, but the desperate shortage of machinery created a unique market opportunity for the new Land Rover. Rover Company engaged the services of Hugh A. Francis, an aviation pioneer. In 1948 he ran operations in the early days from his Toorak flat. The first Series 1 Land Rovers, with an 80-inch wheelbase powered by a 50 horsepower 1595cc engine, arrived at the end of 1948.
The first example registered in Australia, R860138, arrived on board the SS Lyttelton, which docked at Sydney on November 26, 1948. That vehicle survives today having been found and restored by Arthur Garthon, one of Australia's longest established Land Rover dealers.
Land Rover made a vital contribution to the success of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme. The Snowy Mountains' harsh terrain quickly became an advanced engineering development test bed for the company. By the mid 1950s there were more than 800 Land Rover vehicles employed on the scheme. Sir William Hudson, Commissioner for the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Authority, said: "Without Land Rovers we would never have been able to keep up to schedule on this project. Instead we are now months ahead."
Land Rovers also made a vital contribution at Woomera Rocket Range, where they were used to chase down range in pursuit of falling pieces of rocket. Around the same time, Len Beadell set off into uncharted regions of outback Australia to find suitable routes for new inland highways in a Land Rover.
An all new 2.0-litre diesel OHV engine had become available on Series I the year before, but 1958 saw Series II introduced ten years after the first ever Land Rovers left the Solihull plant. Its most significant improvement was a new 2.25-litre OHV petrol engine derived from the successful OHV 2.0-litre diesel. The Australian Army purchased the Series II 109-inch petrol model in large quantities. The 1958 contract was to supply 1150 vehicles.
As Australia grew in prosperity, so did Land Rover sales. The vehicles were being built at the Enfield plant, Sydney, and numerous versions of Land Rovers saw service in Vietnam. Land Rover was back in the public eye when a number of its vehicles accompanied Donald Campbell's successful Land Speed record attempt at Lake Eyre in July 1964. Towards the end of 1961 the Land Rover Series IIA was introduced into the Australian market.
In the UK, small volume manufacturers like Rover were going to find it hard to survive in isolation, so Rover Company became part of the Leyland Group. In Australia various distributorships and local assembly operations were rationalised into Leyland Australia. Up until now however, Land Rover had pretty much dominated the Australian 4WD market, but as the Sixties drew to a close it was obvious the Japanese were going to threaten that dominance with more powerful vehicles. A six-cylinder 2.6-litre power unit was fitted to 109-inch Wagons. For the first time there was a Land Rover that was capable of highway cruising at speeds in excess of 100km/h.
June 1970 saw the ground breaking release of Range Rover, originally intended only for low volume production to produce a vehicle that was comfortable, capable off-road, and able to match saloon car performance on sealed surfaces. Range Rover was a hit, becoming an instant status symbol. Demand far exceeded supply for many years, with the first Range Rover arriving in Australia in 1972. In 1971, the Series III Land Rover was introduced. Appearing almost identical to the Series IIA, the vehicle featured an all syncro gearbox and more ergonomic interior.
In 1979, major changes were made to 109-inch Series IIIs. The vehicle was fitted with a de-tuned version of Range Rover's 3.5 litre V8 as well as the gearbox; full-time 4WD transfer case and locking centre differential. The stronger transmission meant the popular 3.9-litre four-cylinder Isuzu diesel could be fitted locally. The result was a superb off-road vehicle with good on-road performance and fuel economy. A new UK government broke up the nationalised British Leyland monolith into product groups that were privatised. Land Rover's survival in this unhappy era is a testament to the brand's strength. Other British icons were not so lucky.
Leyland Australia became JRA, led by ex-Rover employee Phil Hovell. The first new Range Rover model released by JRA was the four-door auto (1982) with a five-speed manual available the following year. Range Rover dominated the luxury 4WD segment during the eighties. Strong demand for an automatic transmission meant that by the time Solihull offered a Torque Flite auto, many aftermarket suppliers offered auto conversions. JRA was responsible for more than 600 local automatic models. The new Land Rover 110 superceded the Series III Land Rover.
The Land Rover styling and aluminium body remained, but an all new coil spring chassis and front disc brakes were significant engineering upgrades. Australia took only the petrol 3.5 litre V8 option, though in 1984 the 3.9 Isuzu diesel became an option. This model was unique to Australia. In 1984 the Australian Army again chose Land Rover to replace the petrol 2.6 Series III fleet. By the time the initial contract ended in 1992, more than 2500 4x4 and 600 6x6 vehicles had left the JRA Liverpool, NSW, plant to serve with Australia's armed forces.
The popular ABC series, Bush Tucker Man, saw Les Hiddins and his 110 Land Rover inseparable. Les Hiddins was to become a champion of the brand in the decade to follow. A turbo diesel powered five-speed manual Range Rover became available in Australia, and for Vogue and Vogue SE V8, a quieter chain driven transfer case was introduced. Range Rover was improved again in 1989. Engine size was boosted to 3.9 litres and ABS brakes were fitted. The worldwide recession hit Australia hard. Spiraling interest rates and an economy going backwards were bad enough, but a luxury sales tax imposed on vehicles costing more than $40,000 signaled the end of JRA. But Australia had become an important market to Land Rover, which was in 1998 owned by British Aerospace.
Rover Australia was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Rover Group. The organisation opened in April 1991 with John Shingleton (formerly sales and marketing director of JRA) as managing director. Discovery had been introduced to the UK market at the end of 1989 but early carburetor V8 models would not have complied with Australian emissions laws. So it was not until the introduction of the V8i fuel injected engine a year later that Discovery came to Australia. The first models to arrive here in late 1991 were basic three-door (sub-luxury tax) specification.
With luxury vehicle taxes relaxed, many new Land Rovers poured into Australia. The Discovery Tdi powered by Land Rover's fabulously frugal 2.5 intercooled turbo diesel, was an instant hit. At the same time, a five-door V8i Discovery was released. Locally, many manufacturers saw unsold stock build up alarmingly. There was, however, a waiting list for Discovery. But it wasn't just Discovery that was creating a sensation in Australia's crowded four-wheel drive market. New versions of Range Rover, equipped with electronic air suspension, defied the financial gravity of the time and sold like hot cakes.
Rover Australia became a leading specialist importer with one percent of the total Australian vehicle market, and the fastest rising star among mid-priced heavy duty 4WD wagons. This was achieved by an organisation of around 50 personnel, with sales skyrocketing an incredible 159 percent over those the previous year. The 'traditional' Land Rover, this time called a Defender 110 Cab Chassis, returned. The name was new, but power was supplied by the successful 2.5 Tdi unit from turbo diesel Discovery.
Wagon and Hardtop models, all powered by the 2.5 Tdi soon joined defender 110 Cab Chassis. Early in 1993, the V8i engine was enlarged from 3.5 to 3.9 litres, and sales of all Land Rover products were booming, reflecting an expansion of the traditionally urban-based dealer network throughout regional Australia. Discovery Tdi and Defender popularity was soaring in rural areas.
All versions of five-door Discovery, plus Range Rover Vogue and Vogue SE, were re-specified with ABS twin airbags as standard equipment. The V8i power unit was improved with a single ancillary drive belt, and the quieter and more powerful 300 Tdi engine replaced the 200. Tdi Discovery was offered with the four-speed auto ZF gearbox, and Discovery ES was launched with leather interior and state of the art ICE. The Australian Army ordered a further production run of 'Perentie' vehicles. British Aerospace, under subcontract to Rover Australia, built 350 6x6s and 61 4x4s under the project name 'Bushranger'.
In March, BMW purchased Rover Group for $A1.8 billion. BMW chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder stated at the time that by 2000, BMW could have maneuvered its way into a blind alley by relying on the premium end of the market. The takeover was greeted in all Land Rover, markets with relief and enthusiasm. The spotlight turned to Range Rover. with its first complete re-design for 25 years; the new Range Rover was released in the UK at the end of 1994, a time when local demand for Range Rover was at an all-time high.
The first of the new Range Rovers arrived in Australia early in 1995, and the vehicle was launched to the press at Rock-hampton, Qld. The combination of an upgraded EAS (electronic air suspension), Wabco ABS brakes (then the most advanced fitted to any production vehicle) and an advanced four-speed ZF auto transmission mated to a re-designed powerful V8 engine, made the new Range Rover undeniably the world's best 4WD. The Defender 130 Crew Cab and 130 Cab Chassis made their significant, though less frenzied, debut in the same year. The 130 Crew Cab offered for the first time in the Australian heavy-duty working 4WD sector, a unique combination of abilities.
Discount 'drive-away' pricing syndrome peaked in Australia. Many manufacturers traded profit heavily for market share. Rover Australia countered by re-specifying Discovery to meet market expectations without eroding the marque's high-retained value. The entry level price was held under $40,000. Land Rover Centres were introduced in Australia after success in the US market, and marked a radical change in retailing. Freelander, a vehicle totally different to any preceding Land Rover, was announced at the end of 1997.
Significantly, it featured unitary construction and no low-range gearset. Its engines, either a 1.8 litre petrol or 2.0 litre turbo diesel, were transversely mounted. Freelander marked the introduction of Land Rover's HDC (Hill Descent Control) system, which uses the ABS braking system to maintain a comfortably low target speed on steep descents, despite the absence of low-range gearing.
1998 marked the 50th anniversary of Land Rover. During Easter, 50th anniversary celebrations for Land Rover in Australia were held in Cooma, ACT. Early 1998 saw Range Rover 4.0 litre announced, with a sub-$80,000 price tag. The entry made Range Rover ownership a possibility for buyers of the former Range Rover's 'Classic' model, many of who were priced out of the market when the new Range Rover arrived in 1995.
Discovery II made its Australian debut. Significantly, the vehicle represented the first comprehensive redesign of Discovery since its 1989 introduction. There was a new five-cylinder Td5 turbo diesel engine with electronically controlled 'unit' injector technology. The 4.0-litre petrol V8 engine, first used in Range Rover, was further enhanced and added to the Discovery II line-up with increased power and torque, reduced emissions and much improved NVH suppression. A new dual-mode, intelligent, electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission was also made available with either engine.
July 1 saw the Ford Motor Company purchase Land Rover from BMW. In November 2000, new Freelander V6 and Td4 arrived in Australia with added power and refinement.
Defender 90 goes on sale in Australia for the first time. New Range Rover introduced in March.
Discovery 3 arrives
Range Rover Sport debuts in Australia.
Freelander is introduced. Range Rover Vogue TDV8 available.
New Defender range introduced
LRX Concept shown at Melbourne Motor Show