Autocar Awards Readers' Champion - Land Rover

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Fireplace engine, farm runabout, explorer, household hauler, builder… the Land Rover has completed all of it
Is the unique Land Rover your favorite automotive icon? Learn what we predict and solid your vote

The Land Rover is within the working to be this yr’s Autocar Awards Readers’ Champion. Every day a special member of the Autocar workforce will champion one of many 17 vehicles, however just one may be the Icon of Icons and it’s as much as you to determine – vote right here.

When the final Defender chugged out of Solihull on 29 January 2016, a wave of grief swept the nation.

An all-new mannequin is due this autumn – the hubbub round which speaks volumes in itself – however again then it was all dewy eyes and fond, nostalgic recollections to rival the passing of Sir Roger Moore. Whereas my colleagues champion their chosen contenders elsewhere, most have a Land Rover reminiscence or two that additionally makes this a particular automobile to them. Andrew Frankel handed his take a look at in a Sequence three, James Ruppert pulled a home down utilizing one other. Matt Prior rallied a Defender 90 and I drove one by way of two miles of the North Atlantic. You in all probability have your individual ‘Landie’ story. 

Even automotive agnostics who assume each supercar is a Ferrari recognise the Land Rover’s inimitable, upright kind, the main curve of a 1948 Sequence 1’s entrance wings as simply recognized in a 2016 Defender as its step-sided doorways and twin spotlights. 

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Good-looking although it’s, the Land Rover’s distinctive silhouette was born of necessity, not aesthetics. A utility car conceived to satisfy post-war authorities export targets in assist of Rover’s saloon automobile vary, it was solely meant to be an interim product, developed shortly and cheaply utilizing as many present components and as little rationed metal as doable (therefore the aluminium bodywork). It was innovation within the face of adversity. 

Utility was the important thing phrase, with Land Rovers of numerous physique configurations serving in agriculture, fire-fighting, building, rescue, restoration and the ambulance service. Its energy take-offs might provide something from saws and threshers to tillers and welding gear. Globetrotting expeditions selected Land Rovers, whereas particular navy variations have served from the Korean Warfare to Afghanistan, together with eccentric 6×6, tracked and amphibious configurations.

And from the beginning, the Land Rover was an enormous worldwide success, with 74% of the primary 250,000 shipped overseas. Knock-down kits have been assembled in numerous abroad crops together with Chile, Ghana, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the Philippines, little question prompted by the car’s simplicity and ease of upkeep. As Solihull veteran Roger Crathorne says: “It’s a no-frills, no-fuss car that may be serviced below the shade of a tree.” 

It was wholly that method for a very long time: regardless of the latest rash of kerb-crawling, air-conditioned, hide-lined Defenders, it was solely with the plusher County variants of the early 1980s that the thought of Land Rovers as household vehicles actually gained momentum (plush being a relative time period – the primary One Ten County boasted the likes of rubber pedal finishers, mud flaps and a reversing gentle as concessions to luxurious). 

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Over 68 years and two million models, probably the most important change was a swap from leaf springs to coils in 1983. Even when the Defender badge was launched in 1990, its structure remained largely trustworthy to the unique. There are older nameplates, and far bigger-selling ones, too, however for a mass-produced automobile to retain such lineage is outstanding. 

In its time, the Land Rover hasn’t turn into an icon, it’s turn into a number of: farmer’s good friend, builder, life-saver, explorer, firefighter, warrior and much-loved household automobile.

Click on right here to vote for the Land Rover to be named our icon of icons

Learn extra

Saying goodbye to the Land Rover Defender – an Autocar particular​

Land Rover Discovery vs. Sequence One: The Technology Recreation

New Land Rover Defender: reveal confirmed for 2019


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