Liveridge British 4x4 Ltd, the specialist in refurbishing Land Rovers. We are an independent family run company with generations of experience leading the way in all your Land Rover Requirements.

Series 1 – The Beginning of Land Rover
Sereis I LandroverIn 1947 Maurice and Specer Wilkes began planning with their Rover Technical staff the first Land Rover, when the Land Rover was launched the future running was past to Tom Barton.  Tom Barton knew the project was a stop gap and not expected to be in production very long but how wrong he was, he was known in Solihull as Mr. Landrover.
With no back ground in 4x4 design his background was in railway carriage and wagons, as an apprentice got him interested in all things mechanical, at 21 he moved into the Midlands and worked for Metropolitan-Cammell who made, amongst other things, underground trams, bus bodies and railway equipment, this was his first introduction to the motor industry.
Churchill With LandroverAt the out brake of war Tom Barton was turned down for the Army because he was working in a reserved occupation, so Tom went back to the Army and got a new job at Rover waiting to get into the Army, the problem was Rover were involved in the whittle jet engine project, so he found himself in an even more reserved occupation.  He worked on tank engine design and then the first left hand drive export Rover. 
In 1946 Tom Barton started work on the Land Rover, Maurice Wilkes decided the new vehicle should be close to the Jeep, there were 5 section leaders in the design office including Tom Barton, each was given the job of designing part of the new Land Rover, great thought was put into making the new vehicle a real all rounder with such  things as power take offs for farm machinery, as the new vehicle was closest to agricultural this suited Toms background, he was given the job to manage the evolution of the Land Rover.  Within 12 months of starting to build Land Rovers more were being made than the rest of Rovers production of cars.  Tom Barton was made chief engineer in 1966 overseeing over 100 staff involved in future Land Rover design, Tom stayed with Land Rover for most of his working career.
Landrover ambulanceAfter world war 11 Britain was heavily in debt and export became of the highest importance, raw materials were in very short supply and allocated accordingly to companies export plans, Land Rover was only to be a stop gap project for export to keep the Solihull work force busy because the government would only allow them to build a limited amount of cars.  The first prototype were running in 1947 and in April 1948 the Land Rover was released to the world, reception was rapturous with first vehicle delivered in July, from first design ideas and into production in less than 18 months the Land Rover was born.
The first vehicles had Jeep type chassis with Land Rover designed fittings to save production time, they had central steering wheels and were very agricultural, the 1947 model had 80 inch wheel base and 132 inch length and 60 inch width, a 4 cylinder engine was used 1595cc with 55 BHP, and 4 speed gearbox with 2.55 step down low range, they were 2520lb un-laden, and had an approximate payload of ¼ ton.  Aluminium was used for body production partly because of sheet metal storage and also corrosion, production and aluminium is much easier to form into body parts.
The British Army took Land Rover to its heart and adopted a standard ¼ ton vehicle in 1956, King George V1 and Winston Churchill both owned Land Rovers.  
In 1958 the Land Rover was re-styled to get it above immerging copies from abroad and BMC.  David Bache was given the job and the series 11 was born.  Changes were subtle and practical, the first fresh air intakes were added and body design less aggressively slab sided, sill panels were added and a new 2286cc petrol engine was added with overhead valve, as well as diesel engine, turning circle was cut by 3ft.
The first models in 1948 were £450.00 and this increased to £640.00 and the 109 version was £730.00.  The fitting of diesel engines gave fuel economy benefits but added a whopping £90.00 to the purchase price, in the first full production year of Land Rover Series 11 was more than 28,000 and this increased to 34,000 the following year.  After 3 years of the release of series 11 it was again up-rated to the series 11A.  The main mechanical change was the enlargement of the optional 4 cylinder engine.
Landrover Pope MobileDuring the 1960’s stronger and stranger vehicles were being tested, specialised military vehicles and development vehicles.  Tom Bartons engineers were turning to new breeds, in 1960 the first forward controls model was produced with a 30cwt payload and improvement from the 109 15cwt, although an ungainly machine it fitted part of the customers requirements at the time.  Winches and power take offs were optional and had a three seated truck cab, first shown to the public in 1962 at the commercial motor show.
The existing long wheel base frame was used, Land Rover advertising claimed the forward control used 75 percent of existing components, at launch it was £1,015.00 the forward control Land Rover was revised in 1966 for the first time a 6 cylinder engine 2625cc was offered and 2286cc petrol engine was kept for export only.  The front axle was moved forward to get the new engine to fit and in-fact this was the first ever 110 but only in as much as wheel base.
Series Landrover Disel EngineAdvertised at the time as the ‘worlds most versatile vehicle’ the series 1, 11 and 2A set the way for future Land Rovers and gained a world wide following for it’s reliability and fix anywhere mechanics.  Emergency services, the AA and RAC, post office all adopted the new vehicle.  On African Safari there is always an old series Land Rover still earning it’s keep.
The bridging of the Darren Gap by Richard Bevis and Terry Whitfield was done with 88 in Series 11 vehicles from Panama to Colombia in 134 days.
The first recognisable light weight was used from 1968 with head lamps in the nose sector, these were air portable and could be Parachuted into action, and were used in conflict often deployed by Wessex Helicopter.  
Flying LandroverIn 1964 William Martin Hust started dealings with Buick to take over production of the new iconic V8 3.5 litre engine although not put into production for some time the V8 has been a very popular engine ever since.  Ever since the vehicle had been announced headlamps where fitted to the radiator grill from spring 1968 the headlamps where moved to the wings, this was to satisfy certain legal requirements in overseas territories.
The last mass produced Land Rover 11A were superseded by Land Rover series 111.  At this time sales had approached 800,000 after 23 years from the first vehicles Land Rovers only problem was, unlike their competitors, there was no planned obsolescence and most produced were still out there working, but sales remain stable.          







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Liveridge British 4X4 ltd, the specialist in refurbishing Land Rovers. We are an independent family run company with generations of experience leading the way in all your Land Rover requirements.