75 years of the Land Rover celebrated at Clonoulty vintage day

Born in 1948, the Land Rover became a legend in its own life, coming to enjoy a reputation for go-anywhere versatility and, later on, earning the respect as a luxury mode of cross-country travel in the form of the Range Rover.

The brand is still with us even though the original Land Rover, conceived as a dual-purpose farm vehicle, has long departed, subsumed by the shenanigans that saw the demise of the British motor industry and the later buy outs within the trade.

Gathering in Tipperary

It was this 75 years of production history that was being celebrated at the annual Clonoulty Vintage Rally in Co. Tipperary recently, with 220 Land Rovers turning up from all over Ireland and the UK for the tribute event.

Series 2 Land Rover
The series II Land Rover gained infamy due to chassis corrosion, but the marque soldiered on and the problem was addressed, if not entirely solved, in later models

The oldest present was a 1949 Series I and the furthest traveled came from Germany, joining the event, which was raising money for South Tipperary Hospice, while on a tour of Ireland.

Thanks to the wide range of machines that turned up, the development of the brand could be traced back to the early Series 1 days of the 1950s where the slab sided and totally utilitarian style was established.

Four door Range Rover in black
The Range Rover quickly became an icon in its own lifetime

Styling cues from these earliest models can still be seen in the latest Slovakian-built Defenders although, in all other respects, they share nothing in common with the original models, not even the famous ladder chassis which was such a hallmark of the design.

Land Rover Defender

The old series models were finally withdrawn in 1985 after Defender became available two years earlier, but by now the rest of the car-making world had caught up and competition from Japan, in various guises, and the US brands with four-wheel drive pick -ups had both expanded the market and squeezed Land Rover to one side.

Land Rover Defender 130
The Land Rover 130 offered a 20in wheel base extension, bringing the Defender back to its roots as a working vehicle

Having established the luxury off-road sector back in 1969 with the Range Rover, the company pulled off a repeat of the trick 20 years later with the launch of the Discovery which enjoyed instant success.

Land Rover Discovery
This particular example of the Discovery was finished in tough coating, normally used for pick-up load areas

The Land Rover brand is now part of the JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) group which is ultimately owned by the Indian company, Tata.

Land Rover logo from the air
The famous land Rover Logo was replicated on the field by visiting vehicles

The name is still being applied to off-road vehicles although purists would argue that the spirit of practical utility has been diluted over the decades, a development which has not gone unnoticed by others, resulting in the INEOS Grenadier, which has faithfully copied the Defender’s styling, although it is built in France.


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