Land Rover History

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* 1948: Land Rover is designed by the Wilks Brothers and is manufactured by the Rover Car Company
* 1958: Series II launched
* 1961: Series IIA began production
* 1967: Rover becomes part of Leyland Motors Ltd, later British Leyland (BL) as Rover Triumph.
* 1970: Introduction of the Range Rover
* 1971: Series III launched.
* 1975: BL collapses and is nationalised, publication of the Ryder Report recommends that Land Rover be split from Rover and be treated as a separate company within BL and becomes part of the new commercial vehicle division called the Land Rover Leyland Group
* 1976: One millionth Land Rover leaves the production line.
* 1978: Land Rover Limited formed as a separate subsidiary of British Leyland
* 1980: Rover car production ends at Solihull with the transfer of SD1 production to Cowley, Oxford; Solihull is now exclusively for Land Rover manufacture. 5-door Range Rover introduced.
* 1983: Land Rover 90 (Ninety)/110 (One-Ten)/127 (Land Rover Defender) introduced.
* 1986: BL plc becomes Rover Group plc; Project Llama started.
* 1988: Rover Group is privatised and becomes part of British Aerospace, and is now known simply as Rover.
* 1987: Range Rover is introduced to the U.S market March 16.
* 1989: Introduction of the Discovery ("Disco I" to enthusiasts)
* 1994: Rover Group is taken over by BMW. Introduction of second-generation Range Rover. (The original Range Rover was continued under the name 'Range Rover Classic' until 1995)
* 1997: Land Rover introduces the Special Edition Discovery XD with AA Yellow paint, subdued wheels, SD type roof racks, and a few other off-road upgrades directly from the factory. Produced only for the North American market, the Special Vehicles Division of Land Rover created only 250 of these bright yellow SUV's. Official formation of the Camel Trophy Owners Club by co-founders Neill Browne, Pantelis Giamarellos and Peter Sweetser.
* 1998: Introduction of the Freelander
* 1999: Introduction of the second generation of Discovery (Disco II)
* 2000: BMW breaks up the Rover Group and sells Land Rover to Ford for £1.8 billion
* 2002: Introduction of third-generation Range Rover
* 2005: Land Rover 'founder' Rover, collapses under the ownership of MG Rover Group.
* 2005: Introduction of the third-generation Discovery/LR3
* 2005: Introduction of Range Rover Sport
* 2005: Adoption of the Jaguar AJ-V8 engine to replace the BMW M62 V8 in the Range Rover
* 2006: Announcement of a new 2.4 litre diesel engine, 6 speed gearbox, dash and forward facing rear seats for Defender. Introduction of second generation of Freelander (Freelander 2). Ford acquires the Rover trademark from BMW, who previously licensed its use to MG Rover Group.
* 8 May 2007: 4,000,000th Land Rover rolls off the production line, a Discovery 3 (LR3), donated to The Born Free Foundation.
* 12 June 2007: Announcement from the Ford Motor Company that it plans to sell Land Rover and also Jaguar Cars. This effectively dissolves the Premier Automotive Group (PAG) which previously included Aston Martin, until it was sold into private ownership by Ford in March 2007; at this time Ford has made no announcement regarding Volvo Cars.
* August 2007: India's Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra as well as financial sponsors Cerberus Capital Management, TPG Capital and Apollo Management expressed their interest in purchasing Jaguar Cars and Land Rover from the Ford Motor Company.
* 26 March 2008: Ford agreed to sell their Jaguar Land Rover operations to Tata Motors.
* 2 June 2008:Tata Motors finalised their purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford.

The Land Rover was conceived by the Rover Motor Company in 1946 during the aftermath of World War II. Rover's usual products were luxury cars which were not in demand in the immediate post-war period and raw materials were strictly rationed to those companies building construction or industrial equipment, or products that could be widely exported to earn crucial foreign exchange for the country. Also, Rover's original factory in Coventry had been bombed during the war, forcing the company to move into a huge "shadow factory" it had built during the war in Solihull near Birmingham to construct aircraft. This factory was now empty but starting car production there from scratch would not be financially viable. Several plans for small, economical cars were drawn up, but all would be too expensive to produce.

Maurice Wilks, Rover's chief designer came up with a plan to produce a light agricultural and utility vehicle, of a similar concept to the Willys Jeep used in the war, but with an emphasis on agricultural use. He was possibly inspired by the Standard Motor Company, who faced similar problems and were producing the highly successful Ferguson TE20 tractor in their shadow factory in Coventry. More likely, he used his own experience of using an army-surplus Jeep on his farm in Anglesey, North Wales. His design added a power take-off (PTO) feature since there was a gap in the market between jeeps and tractors (which offered the feature but were less flexible as transport). The original Land Rover concept (a cross between a light truck and a tractor) is similar to the Unimog, which was developed in Germany during this period.

The prototype Land Rover was developed in 1947 and had a distinctive feature—the steering wheel was mounted in the middle of the vehicle. It hence became known as the "centre steer". It was built on a Jeep chassis and used the engine and gearbox out of a Rover P3 saloon car. The bodywork was hand-made out of surplus aircraft grade aluminium, mainly an aluminium/magnesium alloy called Birmabright, to save on steel, which was closely rationed. Paint was also in short supply, resulting in the first production vehicles making use of Army surplus green paint.

Tests showed this prototype vehicle to be a capable and versatile machine. The PTO drives from the front of the engine and from the gearbox to the centre and rear of the vehicle to allow it to drive farm machinery, exactly as a tractor would. It was also tested ploughing and performing other agricultural tasks. However, as the vehicle was readied for production, this emphasis on tractor-like usage decreased. The steering wheel was mounted off to the side as normal, the bodywork was simplified to reduce production time and costs and a larger engine was fitted, together with a specially-designed transfer gearbox to replace the Jeep unit. The result was a vehicle that didn't use a single Jeep component and was slightly shorter than its American inspiration, but wider, heavier, faster and still retained the PTO drives.

The Land Rover was designed to only be in production for 2-3 years to gain some cash flow and export orders for the Rover Company so it could restart up-market car production. Once car production restarted, however, it was greatly outsold by the off-road Land Rover, which developed into its own brand that remains successful today.


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Land Rover entered production in 1948 with what was later termed the Series I. This was launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show. It was originally designed for farm and light industrial use, and had a steel box-section chassis, and an aluminum body.

Originally the Land Rover was a single model offering, which from 1948 until 1951 used an 80 in (2032 mm) wheelbase and a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing around 50 bhp (37 kW; 51 PS). The 4-speed gearbox from, the Rover P3 was used, with a new 2-speed transfer box. This incorporated an unusual 4-wheel drive system, with a freewheel unit (as used on several Rover cars of the time). This disengaged the front axle from the manual transmission on the overrun, allowing a form of permanent 4WD. A ring-pull mechanism in the driver's footwell allowed the freewheel to be locked to provide more traditional 4WD. This was a basic vehicle, tops for the doors and a roof (canvas or metal) were optional extras. In 1950, the lights moved from a position behind the grille to protruding through the grille.

From the beginning it was realised that some buyers would want a Land Rover's abilities without the spartan interiors. In 1949 Land Rover launched a second body option called the "Station Wagon", fitted with a body built by Tickford, a coachbuilder known for their work with Rolls-Royce and Lagonda. The bodywork was wooden-framed and had seating for seven people. Tickfords were well equipped in comparison with the standard Land Rover, having leather seats, a heater, a one-piece laminated windscreen, a tin-plate spare wheel cover, some interior trim and other options. The wooden construction made them expensive to build and tax laws made this worse — unlike the original Land Rover, the Tickford was taxed as a private car, which attracted high levels of Purchase Tax. As a result, fewer than 700 Tickfords were sold, and all but 50 were exported. Today these early Station Wagons are highly sought after. Fewer than 10 are still known to exist, mainly in museums, and they can change hands for as much as £15,000.

In 1952 and 1953 the petrol engine was replaced with a larger 2.0-litre I4 unit. This engine was "siamese bore", meaning that there were no water passages between the pistons. At the same time the unusual semi-permanent 4WD system was replaced with a more conventional setup, with drive to the front axle being taken through a simple dog clutch. The Land Rover could be 2WD or 4WD in High Range gears, but 4WD was automatically selected in Low Range. Around this time the Land Rover's legal status was also clarified. As mentioned above, the Land Rover was originally classed as a commercial vehicle, meaning it was free from Purchase Tax. However, this also meant it was limited to a speed of 30 mph (48 km/h) on British roads. After an appeal to the Law Lords after an owner was charged with exceeding this limit, the Land Rover was classified as a "multi-purpose vehicle" which was only to be classed as a commercial vehicle if used for commercial purposes. This still applies today, with Land Rovers being registered as commercial vehicles being restricted to a maximum speed of 60 mph (as opposed to the maximum 70 mph (110 km/h) for normal cars) in Britain, although this rule is not often upheld nowadays.

1954 saw a big change: the 80 in (2032 mm) was replaced by an 86 in (2184 mm), and a 107 in (2718 mm) "Pick Up" version was introduced. The extra wheelbase was added behind the cab area to provide additional load space.

1956 saw the introduction of the first five-door model, on the 107 in (2,718 mm) chassis known as the "Station Wagon" with seating for up to ten people. The 86 in (2,184 mm) model was a three-door seven-seater. The new station wagons were very different to the previous Tickford model, being built with simple metal panels and bolt-together construction instead of the complex wooden structure of the older Station Wagon. They were intended to be used both as commercial vehicles as people-carriers for transporting workmen to remote locations, as well as by private users. Like the Tickford version, they came with basic interior trim and equipment such as roof vents and interior lights.

The Station Wagons saw the first expansion of the Land Rover range. Station Wagons were fitted with a "Safari Roof" which consisted of a second roof skin fitted on top of the vehicle. This kept the interior cool in hot weather and reduced condensation in cold weather. Vents fitted in the roof allowed added ventilation to the interior. While they were based on the same chassis and drivetrains as the standard vehicles, Station Wagons carried different chassis numbers, special badging, and were advertised in separate brochures. Unlike the original Station Wagon, the new in-house versions were highly popular.

Wheelbases were extended by 2 in (51 mm) to 88 in (2235 mm) and 109 in (2769 mm) to accommodate the new diesel engine, to be an option the following year. This change was made to all models with the exception of the 107 Station Wagon, which would never be fitted with a diesel engine, and would eventually be the last series I in production.

Finally, in 1957, the "spread bore" petrol engine was introduced, followed shortly by a brand new 2.0-litre Diesel engine that, despite the similar capacity, was not related to the petrol engines used. The petrol engines of the time used the rather out-dated inlet-over-exhaust valve arrangement; the diesel used the more modern overhead layout. This diesel engine was one of the first high-speed diesels developed for road use, producing 52 hp (39 kW) at 4000 rpm.

This engine was slightly longer than the original chassis allowed, so the wheelbase was increased from 86 to 88 in (2235 mm) for the short-wheelbase models, and from 107 to 109 in (2,769 mm) on the long-wheelbases. The extra two inches were added in front of the bulkhead to accommodate the new diesel engine. These dimensions were to be used on all Land Rovers for the next 25 years

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The successor to the successful Series I was the Series II, which saw a production run from 1958 to 1961. It came in 88 in (2235 mm) and 109 in (2769 mm) wheelbases (normally referred to as the 'SWB' and 'LWB'). This was the first Land Rover to adopt a relatively modern shape, and used the well-known 2.25-litre petrol engine, although early short wheelbase (SWB) models retained the 2.0-litre petrol engine from the Series I for the first 1500 or so vehicles. This larger petrol engine produced 72 hp (54 kW) and was closely related to the 2.0-litre diesel unit still in use. This engine became the standard Land Rover unit until the mid-1980s when diesel engines became more popular.

The 109-inch (2,800 mm) Series II Station Wagon introduced a 12-seater option on top of the standard 10-seater layout. This was primarily to take advantage of UK tax laws, by which a vehicle with 12 seats or more was classed as a bus, and was exempt from Purchase Tax and Special Vehicle Tax. This made the 12-seater not only cheaper to buy than the 10-seater version, but also cheaper than the 7-seater 88-inch (2,200 mm) Station Wagon. The 12-seater layout remained a highly popular bodystyle for decades, being retained on the later Series and Defender variants until 2002, when it was dropped. The unusual status of the 12-seater remained until the end- such vehicles were classed as minibuses and thus could use bus lanes and (if registered correctly) could be exempt from the London Congestion Charge.

There was some degree of over-lap between Series I and Series II production. Early UK-market Series II 88-inch (2,200 mm) vehicles were fitted with the old 2-litre petrol engine to use up existing stock (all export models received the new 2.25-litre engine from the beginning), and production of the Series I 109-inch (2,800 mm) Station Wagon continued until late 1959 due to continued demand from export markets and to allow the production of Series II components to reach full level.

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The SII and the SIIA are very difficult to distinguish. There were some minor cosmetic changes, but the most significant change was under the bonnet in the guise of the new 2.25-litre Diesel engine. Body configurations available from the factory ranged from short wheelbase soft top to the top of the line five-door Station Wagon. Also the 2.6-litre straight six petrol engine was introduced for use in the long wheelbase models in 1967, the larger engine complemented by standard-fit servo-assisted brakes.

From February 1969 (home market) the headlamps moved into the wings on all models, and the sill panels were redesigned to be shallower a few months afterwards.

The Series IIA is considered by many the most hardy Series model constructed. It is also the type of classic Land Rover that features strongly in the general public's perception of the Land Rover, from its many appearances in popular films and television documentaries set in Africa throughout the 1960s, such as Born Free. Certainly it was whilst the Series IIA was in production that sales of utility Land Rovers reached their peak, in 1969-70, when sales of over 60,000 Land Rovers a year were recorded (for comparison, the sales of the Defender in recent years have been around the 25,000 level since the 1990s). As well as record sales, the Land Rover dominated many world markets- in Australia in the 1960s Land Rover held 90% of the 4x4 market. This figure was repeated in many countries in Africa and the Middle East.

The oldest Series 2a is called Pilgrim and has just been shipped over to Washington, D.C. U.S.A.

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The Series IIA FC launched in 1962 was based on the Series IIA 2.25-litre petrol engine and 109 in (2,769 mm) chassis, with the cab positioned over the engine to give more load space. Export vehicles were the first Land-Rovers to get the 2.6-litre petrol engine. Most examples had an ENV rear axle, a matching front axle came later. Tyres were large 900x16 types on deep-dish wheel rims to provide extra floatation for this heavy vehicle. These vehicles were somewhat underpowered for the increased load capacity (30 cwt - 1520kg), and most had a hard working life. Less than 2500 were made, and most had a utility body, but surviving examples often have custom bodywork. With an upgraded powertrain, they can be used as a small motorhome.

The Series IIB FC produced from 1966 was similar to the Series IIA Forward Control but added the 2.25-litre diesel engine as an option. The 2.6 L engine was the standard engine for this model, the 2.25 litre engine being only available for export.

Heavy duty wide-track axles (designed by ENV) to fitted to improve vehicle stability, as was a front anti-roll bar and revised rear springs which were mounted above the axle rather than below it. In the process the wheelbase was increased to 110 in (2,794 mm). Production ended in 1974 when Land-Rover rationalised its vehicle range. Many IIB components were also used on the "1 Ton" 109" vehicle.

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The Series III had the same body and engine options as the preceding IIa, including station wagons and 1 Ton versions. Little changed cosmetically from the IIA to the Series III. The Series III is the most common Series vehicle, with 440,000 of the type built from 1971 to 1985. The headlights were moved to the wings on late production IIA models from 1968/9 onward (ostensibly to comply with Australian, American and Dutch lighting regulations) and remained in this position for the Series III. The traditional metal grille, featured on the Series I, II and IIA, was replaced with a plastic one for the Series III model. The 2.25 L engine had its compression raised from 7:1 to 8:1, increasing the power slightly (the high compression engine had been an optional fit on the IIa model for several years). During the Series III production run from 1971 until 1985, the 1,000,000th Land Rover rolled off the production line in 1976. The Series III saw many changes in the later part of its life as Land Rover updated the design to meet increased competition. This was the first model to feature synchromesh on all four gears, although some late H-suffix SIIA models (mainly the more expensive Station Wagons) had used the all-synchro box. In keeping with early 1970s trends in automotive interior design, both in safety and use of more advanced materials, the simple metal dashboard of earlier models was redesigned to accept a new moulded plastic dash. The instrument cluster, which was previously centrally located, was moved to the driver's side. Long-wheelbase Series III vehicles had the Salisbury rear axle as standard, although some late SIIA 109-inch vehicles had them too.

In 1980 the 4-cylinder 2.25-litre engines (both petrol and diesel) were updated with five-bearing crankshafts to increase strength in heavy duty work. At the same time the transmission, axles and wheel hubs were re-designed for increased strength. This was the culmination of a series of updates to the transmission that had been made since the 1960s to combat the all-too-common problem of the rear axle half-shafts breaking in heavy usage. This problem was partly due to the design of the shafts themselves. Due to the fully-floating design of the rear wheel hubs, the half shafts can be removed very quickly without even having to jack the vehicle off the ground. The tendency for commercial operators to overload their vehicles exacerbated this flaw which blighted the Series Land Rovers in many of their export markets and established a reputation that continues in many markets to the present day. This is despite the 1982 re-design (mainly the changing of the driveshafts from 10 driving-splines to 24 to reduce stress) all but solved the problem.

Also, new trim options were introduced to make the interior more comfortable if the buyer so wished (many farmers and commercial users preferred the original, non-trimmed interior).

These changes culminated in 1982 with the introduction of the "County" spec Station Wagon Land Rovers, available in both 88-inch (2,200 mm) and 109-inch (2,800 mm) types. These had all-new cloth seats from the Leyland T-45 Lorry, soundproofing kits, tinted glass and other "soft" options designed to appeal to the leisure owner/user.

Of more interest was the introduction of the High Capacity Pick Up to the 109-inch (2,800 mm) chassis. This was a pick-up truck load bay that offered 25% more cubic capacity than the standard pick-up style. The HCPU came with heavy-duty suspension and was popular with public utility companies and building contractors.

From 1979 until 1983, the more powerful 3.5-litre V8 petrol engine as used in the Range Rover (albeit detuned to 91 horsepower), was used in the 109-inch (2,800 mm) wheelbase Land Rover V8, commonly known as the "Stage 1". This term refers to the first stage of investment by the British Government in the company to improve the Land Rover and Range Rover product offerings, which eventually lead to the Land Rover 90 and 110. The use of the Range Rover engine and drive train made it the only Series III vehicle to have permanent four wheel drive.

The 1 Ton 109" - produced from 1968 to approx 1977, covering late IIa and early series III Models. It was basically a Series IIb Forward Control built with a standard 109" body, featuring 2.6 L petrol engine, lower ratio gearbox, ENV front and rear axles, (Salisbury front and rear on Series III) though during the transition period some were fitted with ENV axles in front and Salsbury on the rear. The chassis frame was unique to the model and featured drop-shackle suspension similar to the military series Land Rovers. 900x16 tyres were a standard feature and these machines were commonly used by utility companies and breakdown/recovery firms. Only 170 IIa and 275 (approx) Series IIIs (1 Ton) were built for the home market.

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Warning: Although the following information may be used to upgrade your Rover, it may cause unnecessary stress to the gearbox and the overall drivetrain and may result in unexpected breakdowns. Remember that the standard drum brakes do not improve just because the car can go faster.

There is much potential that can be squeezed from the venerable 2.25liter motor while keeping it stock for all but the keenest eyes.
Increasing the compression ratio is one easy way to increase power. Early 2.25 motors had a 7:1 compression ratio head- These can be planed down to 8:1. Later 2.25 motors had an 8:1 head that can be planed down to 9:1.
Installing a new cam is also a very easy way to increase power. Fitting the cam shaft from a 2.5liter rover motor greatly increases high end torque without affecting the low end.
To fully optimize these modifications a larger carburetor could also be fitted. There are many options; the greatest of these is a dual barrel Weber, followed by a Rochester, and single barrel Weber. Changing the Air cleaner also makes a huge difference on the highway. The original oil bath air filter is perfect for dusty environments, but greatly hinders highway revs. Simply fitting a K&N on the end of the air horn can make a huge difference when large flow is needed. When needed one can simply reconnect the flex hose back to the air horn to permit dusty trails.

Gearing Change

Adding power to the series motor opens the possibility of driving comfortably on the freeway. There are several ways to increase gearing, each with its own drawbacks.
Fitting early range rover differentials is the cheapest modification. These differentials must be from a pre-94 Range Rover, that still has 10-spline axles. They fit in place of the original series diffs, with no modification needed to axle housings, or axles fitted. These diffs can be found around $50 each from people parting out old range rovers. Fitting the new diffs take about half an hour for the rear and 2 hours for the front axle, and must be installed together. Upside of fitting new differentials is the price, and almost the same end gearing as running an overdrive. The downside is not only a 28% increase in gearing (both in high and low range), but also a 28% jump between gears.
Fitting an overdrive is the easiest and most popular way to increase gearing, but has a steeper price than changing differentials. An overdrive fits into the back of the gearbox, in the hopefully unused PTO port. Fitting the overdrive takes under an hour, while installing the additional gear lever can take another hour. The greatest upside in an overdrive is the ability to split gears while going up a steep grade. The only real downside to an overdrive is the weak nature of the planetary gear, care needs to be used when engaged so as to not destroy it.
The least common and most expensive is a transfer case modification. This requires the transfer case housing to be swapped with one that has been rebuilt. This rebuild enables the existing gears be used, but in different sequence. The benefit is that high range is 30% higher, while keeping low range the same. The downside is a 30% change in ratios between gears, and the very high costs.

Suspension Improvements

The land rover series vehicles have a very distinct ride, connecting the passengers to the road in a way not possible with today’s air ride suspension. The truth is it is hard to enjoy the trail fully if you just glide over the top of it. But for those who don’t like their necks sore after a ride to the grocery store, there are a number of suspension improvements that can have your old Rover floating like its new rover brothers.
Parabolic leaf springs, paired with new gas shocks offer the best ride available on a pre-coil sprung rover. The only possible downside can be seen with station wagon models that have been modified, making them a bit more top heavy. These include Dormobiles, ambulances, or RVs. This leaning can be overcome with the addition of sway bars, that were common with military ambulance conversions.

Australia has always been an important export market for Land Rovers of all sorts, but especially the utility models. 80-inch Series I models were imported by the Australian government in the late 1940s for work on civil engineering projects such as dams and road construction, which brought the vehicle to the buying public's attention. Large sales followed and in the 1950s Land Rover established a factory in Australia to build CKD kits shipped from the Solihull factory. The Land Rover continued to sell well throughout the 1960s in Series II guise, commanding some 90% of the off-road market, and with practically every farm having at least one Land Rover. The lack of power was often resolved by replacing the engine with a Holden 173 engine for which conversion kits were readily available.

The Series III continued this success in the early 1970s, but from the middle of the decade sales declined. A combination of increasing competition (mostly from Japanese vehicles such as the Toyota Land Cruiser) and increasingly poor quality of the parts being shipped from Britain meant that Land Rover's dominance slipped. The problems faced by Land Rover were the same throughout its export markets- compared to the Japanese competition, the Land Rover was underpowered, unreliable and slow with a poor ride quality, despite their superior off-road ability. Poor rust-proofing and low-quality steel in comparison to the Japanese vehicles turned the buyers away in large numbers and by 1983, with the introduction of the One Ten, the Land Cruiser was the best selling 4x4 in Australia.

In the early 1980s, Land Rover Australia had made some changes to the vehicle to try and combat this sales decline. As well as the fitting of the V8 petrol engine in the 1979 "Stage One", as in the rest of the world, Australia also received the same vehicle with the option of a 3.8-litre 89 hp (66 kW) Isuzu diesel engine. This helped slow the sales decline, but the rest of the vehicle's shortcomings let it down. The One Ten was also available with this engine, which was later turbocharged to produce in excess of 100 horsepower (75 kW).

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The Land Rover Defender is a British four wheel drive Off-road utility vehicle. It is the product of continued development of the original utility Land Rover Series I launched in 1948. Using the basic yet robust underpinnings of a ladder frame chassis and aluminium body, the Defender is available in a huge variety of body types (as of 2007, 20000 major body types are available from the factory, plus many more specialist versions such as fire engines, hydraulic platforms and military versions). Defenders are used for a very wide variety of purposes- from agricultural and industrial users to a large number of military customers. Defenders are also a common choice for use on expeditions and surveys throughout the world. As well as these more traditional roles, in recent years the Defender has been increasingly used by families and individuals as a private car.

The Defender was not an entirely new model at launch. It used engines and body panels carried over from the Series III Land Rover; gearbox, axles and suspension from the Range Rover.

Production of the model now known as the Defender began in 1983 as the Land Rover One Ten, a simple name which reflected the 110 inch (2.794 m) length of the wheelbase. The Land Rover Ninety, with 93 inch (2.362 m) wheelbase, and Land Rover 127, with 127 in (3.226 m) wheelbase, soon followed.

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Outwardly, there is little to distinguish the post-1983 vehicles from the Series III Land Rover. A full-length bonnet, revised grille, plus the fitting of wheel arch extensions to cover wider-track axles are the most noticeable changes. Mechanically the Ninety and One Ten were a complete modernisation of the former Series platform. Specifically:

* The use of coil springs, whereas Series vehicles had leaf springs. This gave a more comfortable ride and improved axle articulation.
* A permanent four-wheel drive system as used since 1970 on the Range Rover, featuring a two-speed transfer gearbox with a lockable centre differential.
* As part of the update, a new series of progressively more powerful and more modern engines were designed, although the Series III engine line-up remained in place when the vehicles were first launched.
* The interior was modernised; a taller one-piece windscreen replaced the split-screen of the Series models.

The One Ten was launched in 1983, and the Ninety followed in 1984. From 1984, wind-up windows were fitted (Series models and very early One Tens had sliding panels), and a 2.5-litre, 68 hp (51 kW) diesel engine was introduced. This was based on the earlier 2.3-litre engine, but had a more modern fuel-injection system as well as increased capacity. A low compression version of the 3.5-litre V8 Range Rover engine was available too which transformed performance.

This period saw Land Rover market the utility Land Rover as a private recreational vehicle. Whilst the basic pick-up, Station Wagon and van versions were still working vehicles, the County Station Wagons were sold as multi-purpose family vehicles, featuring improved interior trim and more comfortable seats. This change was reflected in Land Rover starting what had long been common practice in the car industry - detail changes and improvements to the County model from year to year in order to attract new buyers and to encourage existing owners to trade in for a new vehicle. These changes included different exterior styling graphics and colour options, and a steady trickle of new "lifestyle" accessories that would have been unthinkable on a Land Rover a few years ago, such as radio/cassette players, styled wheel options, headlamp wash/wipe systems and new accessories such as surfboard carriers and bike racks. The switch from leaf- to coil spring suspension was crucial to the new models' success. It offered improved off-road ability and load capacity for traditional commercial users, whilst the improved handling and ride comfort now made the Land Rover attractive to the general public

The Defender name wasn't adopted until 1990 as a measure to distinguish the utility Land Rover model from the Discovery and Range Rover. Between 1983 and 1990 the coil-sprung utility Land Rovers were officially known as the Land Rover Ninety or One Ten, with the number spelled out in full in advertising and in handbooks and manuals. These vehicles carried badges above the radiator grille that (rather confusingly) said Land Rover 90 or Land Rover 110, with the number rendered numerically. From late 1989, following the introduction of the Discovery, the front badge simply said 90 or 110. From 1991, when the Defender name was adopted the vehicles became the Defender 90 or the Defender 110. These carry front badges that say Defender, with a badge on the rear of the vehicle saying Defender 90 or Defender 110. Just to add to the confusion, the 127-inch (3,226 mm) wheelbase available from 1985 was always marketed with the name rendered numerically (i.e. as the Land Rover 127). Following the adoption of the Defender name, it became the Defender 130, although the wheelbase remained unchanged.

In the United States and Canada, the Defender was sold between 1993 (the only year 110's were sold) and 1997 (the 90 was sold between 1994 and 1997). The hood of the North American Specification , or NAS, said only 'Land Rover' - no indication of 'Defender' or '90' or '110'.

From 1985 Land Rover introduced a third wheelbase to its utility line-up, a 127-inch (3,226 mm) twin-axle vehicle designed to accommodate larger, heavier loads than the One Ten. Naturally called the Land Rover 127, it was designed specifically with use by utility and electrical companies in mind, as well as military usage. In its standard form it is a five-door six-seater consisting of the front half of a One Ten Station Wagon, and the rear of a One Ten High-Capacity Pick Up (HCPU). The logic was that this allowed a workcrew and their equipment to be carried in one vehicle at the same time. The 127 could carry up to 1.4 tons payload, compared to the 1.03 tons payload of the One Ten and the 0.6 tons of the Ninety.

127s were built on a special production line, and all started life as One Ten Station Wagon chassis (the model was initially marketed as the One Ten Crew Cab, before the more logical 127 name was adopted). These were then cut in two and the 17 inches (432 mm) of extra chassis length welded on before the two original halves were reunited. 127s did not receive their own dedicated badging like the other two models, instead they used the same metal grille badges as used on the Series III 109 V8 models, that simply said Land-Rover.

Although the standard body-style was popular, the 127 was a popular basis for conversion to specialist uses, such as mobile workshops, ambulances, fire engines or even flatbed transports. In South Africa, the Land Rover assembly plant there offered a 127 Station Wagon with seating for 15. Land Rover also offered the 127 as a bare chassis, with just front bodywork and bulkhead, for easy conversion.

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Initially held back by the low power of the Land Rover engines (other than the thirsty V8 petrol engine), the 127 benefited from the improvements to the line-up, and by 1990 was only available with the two highest power engines, the 134 hp (100 kW) 3.5-litre V8 petrol, and the 85 hp (63 kW) 2.5-litre

The original One Ten of 1983 was available with the same engine line-up as the Series III vehicles it replaced, namely 2.25-litre petrol and diesel engines, and a 3.5-litre V8 petrol unit. The intention had always been to provide more powerful engines as soon as the new vehicles had found their feet and the Series III had ceased production. Indeed, in 1981 the 2.25-litre engines had been upgraded from 3- to 5-crankshaft bearings in preparation for the planned increases in capacity and power.

The 2.5-litre version of the diesel engine, producing 68 hp (51 kW), was introduced in both the One Ten and the newly-arrived Ninety. This was a long-stroke version of the venerable 2.25-litre unit (the new version displaced 2495cc), fitted with updated fuel injection equipment and a revised cylinder head for quieter, smoother and more efficient running. A timing belt also replaced the older engine's chain.

In 1985 the petrol units were upgraded. An enlarged 4-cylinder engine was introduced. This 83 horsepower (62 kW) engine shared the same block and cooling system (as well as other ancillary components) as the diesel unit. Unlike the diesel engine, this new 2.5-litre petrol engine retained the chain-driven camshaft of its 2.25-litre predecessor. At the same time, the 114 hp (85 kW) V8 was also made available in the Ninety- the first time a production short-wheelbase Land Rover had been given V8 power. The V8 on both models was now mated to an all-new 5-speed manual gearbox.

1986 saw an important development. For many years Land Rovers had been criticised for their low-powered engines, which, despite the recent improvements, still lagged a long way behind much of the competition. Designed to be simple and durable, the engine had worked for decades, but the venerable engines began to feel old-fashioned and underpowered in an era of high horsepower motors. Drivers were less inclined to use the gearbox to compensate for the older motor's relative lack of power. The "Diesel Turbo" engine was introduced to make up for this long-standing shortfall. The engine was essentially a lightly-turbocharged version of the existing 2.5-litre diesel, with several changes to suit the higher power output, including a re-designed crankshaft, teflon-coated pistons and nimonic steel exhaust valves to cope with the higher internal temperatures. Similarly, an 8-blade cooling fan was fitted, together with an oil cooler. The 2.5 diesel, 2.5 petrol and Diesel Turbo engines all shared the same block castings and other components such as valvegear and cooling system parts, allowing them to be built on the same production line. The Diesel Turbo produced 85 hp (a 13% increase over the naturally-aspirated unit, and a 31.5%increase in torque to 150 lb·ft (203 N·m) at 1800 rpm). This finally provided a powerful yet economical powerplant for the vehicle. Externally, turbodiesel vehicles differed from other models only by having an air intake grille in the left-hand wing to supply cool air to the turbo. The engine was only intended to be a short term solution to compete with more advanced Japanese competitors, but was quickly adopted as the standard engine for UK and European markets.

Early turbodiesel engines gained a reputation for poor reliability, with major failures to the bottom-end and cracked pistons. A revised block and improved big end bearings were introduced in 1988, and a re-designed breather system in 1989. These largely solved the engine's problems, but it remains (like many early turbodiesels) prone to failure if maintenance is neglected. Well-maintained engines are capable of long service lives in excess of 150,000 miles (240,000 kilometres). Despite its early problems, the Diesel Turbo was a popular engine choice in its time, especially since it offered improved power, torque and economy over the 2.5-litre petrol engine. Contemporary road-testers compared the engine favourably to its Japanese competitors, despite the age of the basic design. Whilst not being able to match the performance of a V8-engined Land Rover, the Diesel Turbo provided adequate performance for most commercial and private buyers and was a key aspect in Land Rover's sales revival.

At the same time that the Diesel Turbo was introduced, the V8 engine was upgraded. Power was increased to 134 hp (100 kW), and SU carburettors replaced the Zenith models used on earlier V8s.

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The biggest change to the Land Rover came in late 1990, when it became the Land Rover Defender, instead of the Land Rover Ninety or One Ten. This was because in 1989 the company had introduced the Discovery model, requiring the original Land Rover to acquire a name. The Discovery also had a new turbodiesel engine. This was also loosely based on the existing 2.5-litre turbo unit, and was built on the same production line, but had a modern alloy cylinder head, improved turbocharging, intercooling and direct injection. It retained the block, crankshaft, main bearings, cambelt system and other ancillaries as the Diesel Turbo. The breather system included an oil separator filter to remove oil from the air in the system, thus finally solving the Diesel Turbo's main weakness of re-breathing its own sump oil. The 200Tdi as the new engine was called produced 107 hp (80 kW) and 188 lb·ft (255 N·m) of torque, which was nearly a 25% improvement on the engine it replaced (although as installed in the Defender the engine was de-tuned slightly from its original Discovery specification (111 horsepower) to suit the prolonged periods of low speed, high revving operation that Land Rovers experienced in commercial use, such as when towing heavy loads).

This engine finally allowed the Defender to cruise comfortably at high speeds, as well as tow heavy loads speedily on hills while still being economical. In theory it only replaced the older Diesel Turbo engine in the range, with the other 4-cylinder engines (and the V8 petrol engine) still being available. However, the Tdi's combination of performance and economy meant that it took the vast majority of sales. Exceptions were the British Army and some commercial operators, who continued to buy vehicles with the 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated diesel engine (in the Army's case, this was because the Tdi was unable to be fitted with a 24-volt generator). Small numbers of V8-engined Defenders were sold to users in countries with low fuel costs or who required as much power as possible (such as in Defenders used as fire engines or ambulances).

Along with the 200Tdi engine, the 127's name was changed to the Land Rover Defender 130. The wheelbase remained the same; the new figure was simply a tidying up exercise. More importantly, 130s were no longer built from "cut-and-shut" 110s, but had dedicated chassis built from scratch.

1994 saw another development of the Tdi engine, the 300Tdi. This was the same capacity, and both the Defender and the Discovery had engines in the same state of tune (111 bhp, 195 lb·ft), and had the same basic layout, but had over 200 changes to improve the refinement and on-road performance of the engine. However, in the process the economy of the engine was reduced slightly, as was the ability for it to be serviced by the owner.

Throughout the 1990s the vehicle attempted to climb more and more upmarket, while remaining true to its working roots. If ordered without any optional extras, the Defender was a basic working tool. If the owner so wished, any number of options and accessories could transform it into a vehicle that was perfectly acceptable as an everyday method of transport, while still retaining excellent off-road abilities. This was epitomised by limited edition vehicles, such as the SV90 in 1992 with roll-over protection cage, alloy wheels and metallic paint and the 50th Anniversary 90 in 1998 equipped with automatic transmission, air conditioning and Range Rover 4.0-litre V8 engine.

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From Spring 2007 a series of long-anticipated changes were made to the Defender, most of which were implemented to meet emissions and safety legislation. The biggest change was to the drivetrain. The Td5 engine was replaced by an engine from Ford's DuraTorq line, built in their factory in Dagenham, making the Td5 the last Land Rover engine to be built in-house at Solihull. The engine chosen was from the ZSD family, being a version of the 2.4-litre four-cylinder unit also used in the highly successful Ford Transit. The engine's lubrication and sealing system has been adapted for use in wet, dusty conditions and to maintain lubrication at extreme angles in off-road use. Re-tuning the engine means that the power level remains the same (122 horsepower), but with a lower power peak speed to provide better performance when towing and better acceleration. Torque output rose from 221 lb·ft (300 N·m) to 265 lb·ft (359 N·m) due to the fitting of a variable-geometry turbocharger. This also helps produce a much wider spread of torque than the Td5, from 1500 rpm to 2000 rpm.
2007 Defender

The engine is mated to a new 6-speed gearbox. 1st gear is lower than the previous gearbox for better low-speed control, whilst the higher 6th gear is intended to reduce noise and fuel consumption at high speeds.

The other major changes were to the interior. The dashboard layout of the original One Ten from 1983 (which was in turn very similar to that used on the Series III from 1971) was replaced with a full-width fascia and different instrumentation. Instruments came from the Discovery 3, and some of the centre panels come from the Ford Transit. Some switchgear was carried over from the previous interior. A new heater/ventilation system vastly improved de-misting and heater performance.

Other interior changes were to the seating layout. Legislation from the European Union outlaws the inward-facing seats used in the rear of previous Land Rover Station Wagons. The 2007 Defender replaced the 4 inward-facing seats with two forward-facing seats. This makes the Defender 90 Station Wagon a 4-seater vehicle (reduced from 6 or 7), and the Defender 110 Station Wagon a 7-seater (reduced from 9). Whilst this is a big reduction in capacity, it brings the Defender in line with its competitors which have generally used this layout for many years.

The only external changes were detail changes. The bonnet was reshaped with a bulge to allow the new engine to fit in the engine bay whilst meeting pedestrian safety rules. The new dashboard and ventilation system necessitated the removal of the distinctive air vent flaps underneath the windscreen which had been a feature of all previous Land Rover utility models. Whilst the flaps have been deleted, the bulkhead pressing remains the same, so the outlines of where the flaps would be are still present.

Now, more than ever, there is a strong division in sales pitch between the Station Wagon versions and the commercially-intended Pick-Ups and Van-bodied versions. The "XS" Station Wagon was introduced in 2002 as a top-spec level and the "County" package could be applied to every model in the line-up. XS models come with many "luxury" features, such as heated windscreen, heated seats, air conditioning, ABS and leather seats. Popular with buyers in the UK and other developed countries, who either used the vehicle for on-road duties such as towing or people-moving, or simply as an interesting and fashionable alternative to an estate car.

At the other extreme, basic models were still popular with farmers, industrial and commercial users, as well as the emergency services. It finds willing buyers in over 140 countries. Land Rover still provides a staggering range of special conversions such as hydraulic platforms, fire engines, mobile workshops, ambulances and breakdown recovery trucks. The 130 remains available with the 6-seater HCPU bodystyle as standard.

The Defender is still largely hand assembled, and unlike most modern cars and trucks, all the major body panels and sub-assemblies simply bolt together. A Defender can literally be broken down to its chassis with simple hand tools — there is no unibody structure. This is actually an advantage when used extensively for off road travel — unibody vehicles can weaken over time, but there are no such stress points on a Defender. This feature allowed Land Rover vehicles to be shipped anywhere in the world as "complete knock down" (CKD) kits, but has become a liability because of the high cost of labour in the UK where the vehicles are primarily manufactured today.

Both enthusiasts and commercial users appreciate the bolt-together construction of the vehicle, for it not only means that modifications and accessories are easy to fit, but dented or damaged panels can easily be replaced. It also means that the bodywork of the vehicle gives limited structural strength (it can be completely removed, leaving just the chassis and bulkhead/firewall if needed). This has its advantages in that modifications, damage or corrosion in the bodywork cannot compromise the vehicle's strength, but also means that the upper bodywork offers little protection in the event of the vehicle rolling over. The simple construction of the vehicles has another advantage in that given a basic set of spanners, an individual vehicle can be switched between many of the various body styles available. For example, it is not uncommon for enthusiasts to fit a "Soft Top" canvas hood during the summer months, switching to an aluminium panel "Hard Top" van-back during the winter. Only long-wheelbase Station Wagons cannot be changed to other body types because of their unique five-door arrangement, the lack of any lateral interior bulkheads and a differently-shaped chassis to accommodate the central row of seats. Whilst these procedures could in theory still be carried out on even the latest vehicles, the amount of interior trim, panelling and electrical wiring carried in the roof and side panels of a more modern Land Rover means that such swapping is not as quick or practical as it once was.

A single link between the Series 1 (1948) and 2009 Defender remains; the swivel housing filler plug is the same part and interchangeable.

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The Discovery is a four wheel drive on-road and off-road vehicle from the British car maker Land Rover. There have been three generations of the vehicle, which is less expensive than the company's top Range Rover model. The Discovery was introduced in the late 1980s and is the most popular model from Land Rover. It is less utilitarian than the Defender, but it is very competent off road. The current Discovery Series III is marketed in North America as the LR3.

The Discovery was introduced into the United Kingdom in 1989. The company code-named the vehicle "Project Jay", and came close to calling it either "Highlander" or "Prairie Rover" until the decision was made to improve the overall branding strategy, eventually leading to the Land Rover name becoming detached from any specific model (at the launch of the "Defender" name.) The new model was based on the chassis and drivetrain of the more upmarket Range Rover, but with a lower price aimed at a larger market segment and intended to compete with Japanese offerings.

The Discovery was initially available in a three door version, partly to avoid eating into the market of the more expensive Range Rover. The five door became available the following year. Both were fitted with five seats, and an option was made available to have two further seats fitted in the "boot" area at the back of the car. In a move almost unique at the time, Land Rover employed an external consultancy, Conran Design Group in London, to design the interior. The brief was to ignore current car interior design and position the vehicle as a 'lifestyle accessory', a new concept in the late 80's which was enormously influential in automotive design in the years to follow. Discovery's Mk 1 interior incorporated a number of original features, though as with all design projects, many ideas shown on the original interior mock-ups constructed inside a Range Rover bodyshell at Conran's workshops were left on the shelf, such as a custom sunglasses holder built into the centre of the steering wheel (these were pre-airbag days). Despite this the design was unveiled to critical acclaim, and won a British Design Award in 1989.

A two-seater, three-door Discovery Commercial version, lacking rear windows, was later offered by Land Rover Special Vehicles. Pre-1994, the Discovery was available with either the 2.5 litre 200 Tdi engine or the 3.5L Rover V8. Early V8s used a twin SU carburettor system, moving over to Lucas fuel injection in 1990. In the UK, V8 models are comparatively rare, the majority of Discovery owners preferring the more economical diesel engines. Consequently, resale prices of V8-engined vehicles are lower than the more popular diesel counterparts. In the North American market, the only engine available was the V8. A two litre petrol engine from the Rover stable was briefly available in a model known as the 2.0 Mpi I4. This was intended to attract fleet managers, since UK (and also Italian) tax laws benefited vehicles under two litres. A combination of changes in taxation and the engine being underpowered for such a heavy vehicle led to the demise of this engine, despite the kudos of being the engine fitted to several Discoveries supplied to the British Royal family, most notably driven by Prince Philip around Windsor Great Park, in his position as Park Ranger of the park.

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In 1994, many changes were made to the Discovery I and reached some markets as "Discovery 2"; the 200Tdi and 3.5L V8 engines were replaced with the 2.5L 300TDi 4-cylinder and 3.9L Rover V8 engines, the 300Tdi introducing a Bosch electronic emissions control for certain models and markets. At around this time a stronger R380 gearbox was fitted to all manual models combined with the flexible cardan coupling GAJ-1 from SGF for more comfort. The newer models featured larger headlamps and a second set of rear lights in the bumper. The new rear lights had the wiring changed several times to meet real or expected European safety legislation. Some vehicles are left with an arrangement where the vulnerable bumper contains the only working direction-indicator lights; other examples have these lights duplicated in the traditional rear pillar location.

The designers of the original model had been forced to economise and use the "parts-bin" of the then parent-company, Rover. The 200 series used the basic bodyshell structure from the Range Rover, door handles from the Morris Marina, tail lights from the Austin Maestro van, and interior switchgear and instrumentation from the Rover "parts bin". The favour was returned when the facelifted Discovery dashboard was also fitted as part of the final facelift to the first-generation Range Rover, though with minor differences reflecting the vehicle's higher status, such as an analogue rather than digital clock.

1994 (model year) marked the first year that the Discovery was sold in the United States. Airbags were incorporated into the design of the 1995 model to meet the requirements of US motor vehicle regulations, though they were not fitted as standard in all markets. 1995 models sold in the US utilised the 3.9L V8 from the Range Rover SE models, later models saw a displacement increase to 4.0L. [1]

As with all Land Rover vehicles designed since the Series models which had switchable two and four-wheel drive, the transmission is a permanent four wheel drive system, with a locking centre differential at the transfer box. In common with much of the rest of the Land Rover range, the handbrake acts on the transmission at the back of the transfer box.

In Japan, a badge-engineered version of the Series I was offered, called the Honda Crossroad. (The Rover companies had cross-holding relationship with Honda U.K. since early 80's. The relationship ended after Rover was taken over by BMW in 1994.) (Honda revived the nameplate 'Crossroad' in another small sport utility vehicle in 2007.) As of recent times the Land Rover Discovery has became the vehicle of choice when owners want to enhance the car to improve its offroad capability or when offroaders are looking for a tough vehicle. Many owners will build up their Discovery with offroad modifications like suspension lifts, bullbars, larger tyres and traction differentials. There are various companies that are making addons for the Discovery and the Discovery is a sought after 4x4.

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The Series II Discovery debuted in autumn 1998 and in the US in 1999. Land Rover promoted that the Discovery 'Series II had been extensively modified to the extent of no less than 720 'differences', albeit most were very subtle. The interior and exterior was re-worked to be less utilitarian, but it was still very similar to the Series I. However, every body panel was new (and incompatible) except the rear door outer skin. The rear body was extended to improve load space but at the expense of added rear overhang, which adversely impacted off-road ability. However, overall off-road ability remains impressive and in practical terms, choice of tyres is far more relevant. Changes to the diesel engined models saw the 2495 cc Td5 (in-line direct-injected 5 cylinder) engine introduced, in line with the updated Defender models. This electronically managed engine was smoother, producing more usable torque at lower revs than its 300 Tdi predecessor. The Td5 engine is often mistakenly attributed to BMW but the engine was derived from the Rover L-series passenger car engine and developed by Land Rover. The 3948cc V8 petrol version was given a revised intake system, and rebadged as 4.0 litres at the same time, despite no actual increase in cc over the previous "3.9". ACE (Active Cornering Enhancement, an electronically controlled hydraulic anti-roll bar system) was fitted to some versions, which reduced cornering roll to insignificant proportions. Self-levelling air springs were fitted to some models and European type-approval for 7-seat vehicles was only given for air-sprung cars.

The locking centre differential was still fitted until early 2001, although the linkage to operate it was not attached, as Land Rover believed that the traction control and newly-developed Hill Descent Control would render it redundant. The actual locking mechanism was removed in early 2001, before being fully reinstated (with linkage) when the face-lifted model arrived in 2003. Whilst the traction control system worked very effectively, it did not offer the same level of control and smooth operation as the vehicles fitted with the diff lock. Aftermarket manufacturers began offering kits to allow the lock to be fully operational, which simply consists of a linkage on pre 2001 models, but requires the linkage and locking mechanism to be installed on 2002 models. Customer demand saw the diff-lock controls fully reinstated as a cost option only (standard on top of range HSE/ES vehicles) on UK/Irish models. The "face-lift" models are easily identified by new "pocketed" headlamps which matched the Range Rover and face-lifted Freelander models. As with earlier models, however, this can be deceptive since kits are available to modify 1998 - 2002 vehicles with the newer lights.

A small number of Discovery II Commercial models were produced by Land Rover Special Vehicles, this time based on the five-door bodyshell but with the windows rendered opaque to give van-like appearance and security. Normal vehicles were exported to Republic of Ireland, where the rear side windows were smashed and rear seats were destroyed in the presence of a Revenue official, to offer a model that avoided the usurious Vehicle Registration Tax (saving approximately 40%).

In the final production run of the Discovery II, only two models were offered for sale in the UK market, the 'base' Pursuit, which still retained a high level of equipment as 'standard' and the 'top spec' Landmark, which offered all Leather interior, twin sunroofs, ACE (Active Cornering Enhancement) 6 Disc CD player and Heated Windscreen. The final vehicles left the production lines in late May 2004 to make way for the all new Discovery 3 (LR3) models

The Commercials released by Special Vehicles came with rear self levelling suspension as standard, and on the 02+ facelifted vehicles the rendered windows are fixed in place so a retrofit of seats is not viable without significant effort. The last revision of this vehicle still had a high spec and came with climate control, roof bars, alloy wheels & marine ply boarding in the loadspace as standard.

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On 2 April 2004, owners Ford Motor Company introduced a new Discovery 3 (or LR3 in North America) for the 2005 model year.

The Series II Discovery was long over-due for replacement. Although still a capable and popular vehicle, its chassis, coil-spring suspension and beam-axle layout had changed very little since the launch of the original Discovery in 1989. In turn, that vehicle used essentially the same underpinnings as the original Range Rover, launched in 1970. The Discovery II was beginning to lose sales to more sophisticated 'working' 4x4 vehicles from Japan (such as the Toyota Land Cruiser and Mitsubishi Shogun) and 'sports' 4x4s from Europe (such as the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class). A replacement vehicle had been planned for many years, but the project had been delayed many times due to the break up of the Rover Group in 2000 and the need to replace the Range Rover in 2001.

The Discovery 3 was an entirely new design, sharing not a single component with the outgoing model. Its styling is still traditional Land Rover, with function dictating the look, rather than fashion, and with lots of horizontal and vertical lines. It retains the key features of the Discovery, such as the stepped roofline and steeply-raked windscreen. The LR3 name was chosen for North American markets due to negative quality associations with the Discovery name and (according to Land Rover) a preference in the American market for alpha-numeric model designations (the Freelander 2 would also be re-designated for the North American market as the LR2).

Construction-wise, Land Rover developed an all-new method which they called Integrated Body Frame (IBF). The previous Discovery models had used a traditional, strong ladder-frame chassis. Whilst tough in off-road use, these are heavy and detract from the on-road handling of the vehicle. Monocoque vehicles are more rigid, giving improved high-speed handling, but can be damaged by the stresses involved in heavy off-road use. In the IBF the body, the engine bay and passenger compartment is built as a monocoque, which is mated to a basic ladder-chassis holding the gearbox and suspension. It claimed to combine the virtues of both systems, but does make the Discovery 3 uncommonly heavy for its size stunting on-road performance and off-road agility, especially in soft ground such as sand. This was one of the reasons that the new Discovery became the first Land Rover to be offered with a rear locking differential.

Another big change was the fitting of full independent suspension (FIS). Like the Series III Range Rover, this was an air suspension system, which allowed the ride-height of the vehicle to be altered by simply pumping up or deflating the air bags. The vehicle can be raised to provide ground clearance when off-road, but lowered at high speeds to improve handling. FIS had been seen as inferior to the older beam-axle when off-road due to its tendency to make the vehicle bottom out. Land Rover developed 'cross-linked' air suspension to solve this problem- when needed, the suspension mimics the action of a beam axle (as one wheel drops, the other rises). Further more, if the chassis of the vehicle contacts the ground when the suspension was at its 'off road' height, the system senses the reduction in load on the air springs and raises the vehicle an extra inch. In the UK and European markets, a coil-spring independent suspension system was offered on the base model. This model was unique in the range by having only 5 seats and only being available with the 2.7-litre diesel engine. This model lacked the Terrain Response system (see below).

All this was designed to make the new vehicle suitable for a changing 4x4 market. Ultimate off-road ability was becoming less important compared to refined on-road manners. Land Rover were determined that the Discovery 3 would retain the brand's reputation as a top-performing off-road vehicle, whilst also being a good road car. Whilst the Discovery 3 was not as good in the handling stakes as some of the competition, it was much improved over the previous models and its off-road credentials remained intact.

The engines used in the Discovery 3 were all taken from Land Rover's sister company, Jaguar. A PSA Peugeot-developed 2.7-litre, 195 horsepower (145 kW) V6 diesel engine (the TdV6) was intended to be the biggest seller in Europe. For the US-market and as the high-performance option elsewhere, a 4.4 litre petrol V8 of 300 horsepower (223 kW) was chosen. A 216 hp (161 kW) 4.0-litre SOHC V6 petrol engine taken from the Ford stable was available in North America and Australia. Before launch, there were rumours that Land Rover may introduce the diesel unit to the American market, but the use of high-sulphur diesel fuel there, for which the TdV6 is not designed, made this fitment unlikely.

The gearboxes on the Discovery 3 were also all-new. For the diesel engine, a 6-speed manual gearbox was standard. As an option, and as standard on the V8 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission was available. Both came with a 2-speed transfer box and permanent 4-wheel-drive. A computer controlled progressively locking central differential ensured traction was retained in tough conditions. A similar differential was available on the rear axle to aid traction.

The Discovery 3 was fitted with Land Rover's full armoury of electronic traction control systems. Hill Descent Control (HDC) prevented vehicle 'runaways' when descending steep gradients and 4-wheel Electronic Traction Control (4ETC) prevented wheel spin in low-traction conditions. An on-road system, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) prevented skidding when steering and braking at speed.

Arguably the biggest feature of the new vehicle was the innovative 'Terrain Response' system (this system won a Popular Science award in 2005). Previously, off-road driving had been a skill that many drivers found daunting. A wide-ranging knowledge of the vehicle was needed to be able to select the correct gear, transfer ratio, various differential systems and master various techniques required for tackling steep hills, deep water and other tough terrain. Terrain Response attempted to take away as many of the difficulties as possible. The driver selected a terrain type on a dial in the cab of the vehicle (the options are "Sand", "Grass, Gravel & Snow", "Mud & Ruts" and "Rock Crawl".) The on-board computer systems then select the correct gearbox settings, adjust the suspension height, adjust the differential lock settings and even alter the throttle response of the engine suitable for the terrain. For example, in "Rock Crawl", the suspension is raised to its maximum height and set to allow maximum wheel articulation, the differentials are locked, the driver is prompted to switch to Low Range, and the throttle response is altered to provide low-speed control. In "Sand" mode, the traction control system is 'primed' to be more sensitive to any wheelspin, the differential locks are partly locked up and the throttle response is re-mapped to produce high power outputs with short pedal movement. The driver retained some manual control over the off-road systems, being able to select the Transfer Box ratio and the suspension height manually, although use of the Terrain Response system is needed to allow full use of the vehicles' capabilities.

As well as new mechanical and electronic systems, the Discovery 3 introduced much more advanced and modern design to the interior and exterior of the vehicle. The original 1989 Discovery's looks had been determined by limited funds and the consequent use of first-generation Range Rover components. These continued to influence the Series II. The Discovery 3 was able to have a fresh, minimalist style. The interior was much improved, with a highly flexible 7-seat layout. Unlike the older models, adults could comfortably use all 7 seats. Passengers in the rearmost row now entered through the rear side doors, instead of the tailgate as in previous versions. The driver benefited from a modern DVD navigation system. This system was unique to Land Rover because, in addition to the typical road map navigation, it included an off-road navigation and four-wheel drive information mode. When in four-wheel drive information mode, the screen showed a schematic of the vehicle, displaying the amount of suspension movement, angle the front wheels were steering, the status of the locking differentials and icons showing which mode the Terrain Response was in, and what gear was selected on automatic versions.

The vehicle was very well received by the press on its launch, with the Terrain Response system, vastly improved on-road dynamics and clever interior design being selected for wide praise. The new look was disliked by some (descriptions such as 'van-like' were used), and the large, blank rear panel, now devoid of the spare wheel, was a controversial point. Others pointed out that the diesel engine still lagged behind the competition in power (especially given the weight of the vehicle), but overall the vehicle scored highly. A high-point in the new Discovery's launch season came when Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC's Top Gear motoring show drove one to the top of Cnoc an Fhreiceadain, a 307 m mountain near Tongue in northern Scotland, where no vehicle had previously reached. Richard Hammond, also of Top Gear fame, lauded it as the "Best 4X4 of all time".

In Australia, the vehicle was awarded "4WD of the Year" by virtually all of the 4WD press, impressing often conservative journalists of "hard-core" magazines after it effortlessly ambled where the traditionally highly-rated Toyota LandCruiser and Nissan Patrol had to scramble. It was widely hailed as the first time that electronics actually out-performed trusted mechanical systems, although most sounded a note of caution about long-term reliability and serviceability. Despite these reviews, and a price tag very similar to the LandCruiser, it did not set the market alight.

Amongst the off-road driving and Land Rover enthusiast community, the all-new Discovery has gradually gained acceptance. Given the improved road-going qualities of the vehicle, many were worried that the vehicle's off-road abilities would be compromised, and others expressed doubts about relying on electronic systems in extreme conditions. However, by 2006, 2 years after the vehicle's launch, the vehicle's abilities and reliability have been proved both by the press and private owners. Land Rover and many aftermarket companies have developed off-road equipment such as winch, bull-bars, under-body protection kits, snorkels and roof-racks for the new Discovery, to optimise its off-road use.

In 2006 Land Rover used the Discovery 3 in its G4 Challenge, alongside the Range Rover Sport. The vehicles used are all in standard mechanical form, and are fitted with equipment from the standard Land Rover brochures.

Since its launch, Discovery 3 / LR3 has won 97 international awards, including 'Best Compact 4x4' at the WHATCAR? awards,North American Truck of the Year award and won Motor Trend magazine's Sport/Utility of the Year for 2005. It also won a Popular Science award on account of its ground-breaking on-board systems. 97 international awards for just one production 4x4 is considered to be a world record.

The first all-new model placement since the Freelander, the Range Rover Sport is based on the Discovery 3 platform, rather than on the larger Range Rover.

There is a facelift model of the Discovery 3 SE which will be made in the UK from August 2008 onwards. It will offer an upgrade to the stereo system (harmon kardon) as standard with integrated steering wheel controls and a 6 cd stacker, clear indicator side lights, and colour coded bumpers.

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The Range Rover is a four-wheel drive luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) produced by Land Rover in the United Kingdom, owned by the India-based Tata Motors. It was first introduced in 1970 and is still in production today. There have so far been three major generations. The original model was known simply as the Range Rover until almost the end of its life, when Land Rover introduced the name Range Rover Classic to distinguish it from its successors.

The second generation had the internal Land Rover code name "P38A", and the latest generation is internally designated "L322". This article deals primarily with these latter two generations.

The original Range Rover of 1970 was not designed as a luxury 4x4, in contrast to the way that other utility vehicles such as the Jeep Wagoneer of the United States were. While certainly up-market compared to preceding Land Rover models, early Range Rovers had fairly basic, utilitarian interiors with vinyl seats and plastic dashboards that were designed to be washed down with a hose. Features such as power assisted steering, carpeted floors, air conditioning, cloth/leather seats and wooden interior trim were only fitted later, when it was realised that it had a far larger market as a luxury vehicle than merely as a more comfortable alternative to the Land Rover Station Wagon. The Range Rover introduced advanced features such as all-coil spring suspension and disc brakes, whereas its competitors retained leaf springs and drum brakes for years thereafter (although some American SUVs featured automatic transmissions and power steering, which the original Range Rover lacked).

The Range Rover was built on a box section ladder type chassis, much like the contemporary Series Land Rovers, but utilized coil springs as opposed to leaf springs, permanent four-wheel drive, and disc brakes all round. In the latest iteration, it uses a monocoque body structure. It was originally powered by the lightweight Rover V8 engine. Early models of the L322 were powered by a BMW V8 of 4.4 litres, until the introduction of a 3.6 L TDV8 engine.

In 1972 the British Trans-Americas Expedition became the first vehicle-based expedition to traverse the American continent from north-to-south, including traversing the infamous roadless Darien Gap. The specially modified Range Rovers used for this expedition can be seen in the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust collection at Gaydon, Warwickshire, UK.

Before 1987, Land Rover vehicles were only sold in the United States through the grey market. The Land Rover company began selling the Range Rover officially in the U.S. March 16, 1987. From that time until 1993, the U.S. marketing was all in the name of Range Rover, that being the only model offered in the American market. In 1993, with the arrival of the Defender 110 and the imminent arrival of the Land Rover Discovery, the company's U.S. sales were under the name "Land Rover North America".

Rover had been experimenting with producing a "big brother" to the Land Rover as far back as the 1950s, with the Rover P4-based two-wheel-drive Road Rover project. This was shelved in 1958, and the idea laid dormant until 1966, when engineers Spencer King and Gordon Bashford set to work on a new luxury off-roader.

In 1967, the first Range Rover prototype was built, with the classic Range Rover shape clearly discernible but for a different front grille and headlight configuration. The design of the Range Rover was finalized in 1969. Twenty-six Velar engineering development vehicles were built between 1969 and 1970 and were road registered with the number plates YVB 151H through YVB 177H.

It is commonly thought that "VELAR" is an acronym for Vee Eight Land Rover, however the name is derived from the Italian 'Velare' meaning to veil or to cover. Range Rover development engineer, Geof Miller, used the name as a decoy for registering pre-production Range Rovers. The Velar company was registered in London and produced forty pre-production vehicles that were built between 1967 and 1970. Most of these Velar pre-production vehicles are accounted for and have survived into preservation.



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The Range Rover Sport is a full-size luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) produced by Land Rover since the summer of 2005. It shares its platform with the Land Rover Discovery (LR3 in North America) rather than the larger Range Rover. Land Rover calls the vehicle a sports tourer. It slots below the Discovery/LR3 in size and has seating for five. The top-level Sport is powered by a supercharged 390 PS (287 kW/390 hp) 4.2 L AJ-V8, making it the second most powerful vehicle in the company's history except for the larger Range Rover Vogue SE supercharged (450 bhp (340 kW), 420 lb·ft (569 N·m)). A normally-aspirated 4.4 L version is available with 300 PS (220 kW/295 hp) [1]. Due to lack of popularity the normally aspirated V8 was dropped from the UK market in 2007, leaving the supercharged model as the sole Petrol (Gasoline) model on sale, which has a top speed standing at an electronically limited 130 mph (209 km/h). It has Brembo brakes at the front to improve stopping distances due to the unusually heavy weight (5,866 lb (2,661 kg)) of the vehicle. The TDV6 turbodiesel engine of 190 hp (140 kW) is available outside the North American market as is the 272 hp (203 kW) TDV8. Competitors include the Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GL450, Infiniti QX56, Hummer H2, Lincoln Navigator, and Toyota Land Cruiser.[citation needed] [[All models have six-speed automatic transmissions and fuel capacities of about 18.5 imp gal (84 L; 22 US gal) gallons. The Premier Automotive Group claims the Range Rover Sport can wade 70 cm (27.6 in) of water.