Monday April 30, 2018
On 30th April 1948, visitors to the Amsterdam Motor Show were able to appreciate a new Rover product, one that was far removed from the marque’s image of providing transport for bank managers, doctors and solicitors. Today, it is impossible to even envisage an automotive landscape without the Land Rover for it is one of the very few vehicles that may truly be said to have re-defined motoring. The 70th anniversary will be marked by an attempt at the Billing Off Road Show with Land Rover Monthly and sponsored by Lancaster Insurance - https://www.thebillingoffroadexperience.co.uk/the-billing-off-road-show/ - on Saturday 30th June to break the world record for the largest parade of Land Rovers in a convoy. The L-R will also be celebrated at the Lancaster Insurance Classic and Supercars Show at Sherborne Castle on the 15th July - www.classic-supercars.co.uk - and for today here is ten examples of period footage to illustrate the first twenty years of its production:
1948 – British “Jeep” To Help Farmers
‘It’s called the “Land Rover”’, notes the announcer, for the benefit of the many cinema patrons who would be totally unfamiliar with this new vehicle. ‘It’s expected to cost about four hundred and fifty pounds, and has passed a number of very severe tests…’
1953 – Car Tests
The location is the Motor Vehicle Research Association testing ground Warwickshire and although Eammon Andrews’ voiceover is best described as ‘relentlessly jocular’ the footage does illustrate how a Land Rover was equipped to cope with the many and various challenges of the Commonwealth export markets. The footage of the L-R undergoing the water splash is priceless although the film does make one feel quite sorry for that Humber Hawk.
1954 – Caravan Tests
Or, how a L-R takes part in what can only be described as an early form of extreme caravanning in the middle of Lincolnshire.
1957 – Ready for Anything
The diesel plant was a milestone in the history of Rover and aides from the engineering, the principle fascinations of this company PR film are the scenes of the L-R in action, those incredibly 1957-vinagte pumps at a fuel station, plus a message to all female drivers. ‘So, if your wife, like thousands of others, finds the Land Rover useful for shopping, she’ll find no difficulty in handling the diesel version’. No comment.
1957 – Jungle Course
Some utterly and totally priceless scenes of the company’s Jungle Track, with Alec Joyce displaying a few of the techniques for driving in extremely demanding terrain. Asides from the chance to see in L-R in action, the other detail that fascinates about this Pathé film is that collars and ties were evidently regarded as de rigueur for taking part on the course.
1958 – Bred in The Bone
A promotional film to celebrate the launch of the Series II and the overall mood of one of obvious and justifiable pride in ten years of achievement. It must also be said that moment when the footage transforms into colour to promote the new model is a charming coup de cinema.
1964 – Land Rover Rally
Colour footage, jazzy incidental music, tweed jackets and the Land Rover Owners’ Club in action – who could possibly demand more from a newsreel? The event took place near Solihull and virtually every second of the running time is a splendid advertisement for the L-R so watch – and enjoy!
1964 – Bomb Disposal
No account of the L-R would be complete without a tribute to its years of public service and this film celebrates the work of the Royal Navy Bomb Disposal unit. This footage truly is remarkable for both its pin-sharp definition – and the understated bravery of all involved.
1965 – Farm Power
A short but vivid insight into the importance of agricultural machinery but I suspect that L-R enthusiasts will be rather more taken with the Rover display at Kenilworth – especially the shot of the test driver executing a very tricky reverse manoeuvre.
1948 – The Commercial Motor Show
It was here at Earls Court that British motorists first encountered the Land Rover. And just how many of the show-goers could have possibly envisaged the new utility vehicle on the Rover stand becoming an icon of industrial design…