The first Land Rovers preserved the war time Jeep's 80 inch wheelbase. Following a pre-production run of 50 in 1948, Rover expected to make fifty or so a week for a year or two, making up for materials shortages that had reduced car production. Intended as a £450 stop-gap for agriculture, prototypes were tried out on farms, pulling harrows and carrying livestock. It ran machinery from a power take-off designed into the transmission. The squared-off body was strong and cheap to make from aluminium. Steel was in short supply. Within a year the Land Rover was outselling Rover cars and an automotive legend was created.
Above: Page 80 from The Land Rover File. Click to enlarge. Land Rover's first sales success came in May 1948 at the Bath and West Show. Below: Early production model at the Solihul factory, a war time 'shadow' plant, still with its camouflage paintwork.