Land Rover celebrates 70th anniversary
‘Classics, like this Range Rover In Vogue, show the heritage.’
‘No vehicle has done more to open up the world than Land Rover.’
In the first of what’s likely to become an annual event, even if the non-special years aren’t such lavish occasions, celebrities descended on JLR’S Classic Works at Ryton for a special anniversary broadcast on 30 April.
But the day didn’t start there. Groups of heritage vehicles left the Solihull factory to trundle through the Warwickshire countryside, via Packington Hall, where the grounds played a major part in testing models over the years, before regrouping and arriving in chronological order at the Classic Works. All models were represented, from the Series I to the new Velar, and they were greeted by a display of significant Land Rovers, many of which have graced LRO over the years. Inside sat HUE 166 – the first pre-production Land Rover – and L07, one of the Land Rovers displayed at the Amsterdam show 70 years ago.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Tim Slessor (First Overland) and Gavin Thompson (British Trans-americas Expedition) were reunited with the Land Rovers they had spent so much time with,
and Monty Halls and Fearghal O’nuallain (RGS Water Diaries Expedition) represented a younger generation of explorers.
Camel Trophy winners Bob and Joe Ives, Roger Crathorne (Mr Land Rover), Nick Wilks (son of Land Rover Founder, Spencer) as well as longstanding members of staff were also there to enjoy the celebrations, which culminated in the broadcast by Quentin Willson and Andy Jaye.
The broadcast, available at youtube.
com/landrover, gave a potted history of Land
Rover, but didn’t answer the question on most of our lips: what about the new Defender? There wasn’t any reference to it whatsoever – a missed opportunity, we think.
But what we did get to see was the first Land Rover built on the 70th anniversary, a white Discovery Sport made at the Halewood factory – a vehicle that will go on to be part of the company’s Global Technology Project.