63 years ago today, at an auto show in Amsterdam, the world first met the Land Rover. The rugged British made utility vehicle would go on to earn a reputation for its toughness during cross continental torture tests as well as day to day use. While they are often thought of as exotic exploration vehicles, Land Rovers were originally built with a more practical purpose in mind.
Maurice Wilks, chief designer for British car company Rover, was inspired to design the Land Rover after using an left over World War II era Jeep on his farm one summer. The Series 1 Land Rover was conceived as a more versatile alternative to a tractor for farm use. Featuring 4 wheel drive and a no frills utilitarian design, the Land Rover was a capable and rugged vehicle. It didn't take long for the Land Rover to earn itself a devoted following once it went into regular production.
Although some Land Rovers were put to agricultural use, the utility vehicles proved useful for a wide variety of tasks beyond just agriculture. By 1976 over a million Land Rovers had been built, and an updated version of the original model was produced through 1985. Land Rover has repeatedly claimed 70% of the Series I, II and III models built between 1948 and 1985 are still in use today which given the vehicle's reputation isn't nearly as hard to believe as it might sound.