From the Bookshelf: Land Rover and its notable 70th anniversary

About a month ago, the Pall Mall clubhouse rotunda played host to a highly decorated workhorse: the first production Land Rover (1948), Chassis No. 1 (formally 860001), looking a trifle the worse for wear, which is now on its way, thankfully, to a carefully considered restoration. This month, some Club members will enjoy a behind-the-scenes visit to the current Jaguar Land Rover production plant in Solihull.

James Taylor is the noted authority on Land Rover history with his considerable level of authorship on the marque (as seen below). The first 50 years of Land Rover’s history are covered by him in a two-part compendium from the workmanlike ‘Collectors Guide’ series with chapters devoted in both volumes to military and overseas variations of the marque; production and performance figures are laid out in clear tabulations too. [Other marques in the Library’s collection from that series include: Jaguar XKs, T-series MGs, and classic ACs.]

Brooklands Books’ compendiums of periodical articles are another notable series: James Taylor this time has compiled a diverse range of Land Rover topics from just three years (1991-93) of Land Rover Owner [International] – which the Library gratefully continues to receive donations of. The two Crowood books, meanwhile, cover the Defender and the Freelander models in quite some depth in the publisher’s attractive-always-to-my-eye typeset.

Although less than half-way through Land Rover’s ongoing story, Graham Robson’s compact volume takes us nicely into the Range Rover era. A meatier volume, and the most likely monograph to turn to first for an overview of the subject, is served up in Slavin et al’s tome (with a large contribution from that man Taylor again!) of the ‘Willys-Jeep’-inspired marque. And the company machinations are brought right up-to-date by Hutton’s highly researched account of Tata’s acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford in 2008.

The world – the motoring world – would truly be a more arid place without its qualities.

- James Taylor, 1984. The Land Rover, 1948-1984: a collector’s guide. London: Motor Racing Publications.

- Ibid., 1996. Land Rover since 1983: coil-sprung models: a collector’s guide. Croydon: Motor Racing Publications.

- Ibid. (author and compiler), 1996. The Land-Rover story, Part One, 1948-1971. Cobham: LRO Publications and Brooklands Books.

- Ibid., 2013. Land Rover Defender, 90 and 110 range: 30 years of the coil-sprung 4 × 4 models. Ramsbury, Wiltshire: Crowood Press.

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