Land Rover’s are a common sight on UK roads, whether its one of the original 1990s Defenders or the latest Range Rover Velar so this week we’ve take a look at how the company came to be the British icon it is today. As the brand is part of the Jaguar Land Rover company we will also look at how Jaguar evolved from a motorbike side carts manufacturer into one of the world’s top luxury car brands.  


The History of Land Rover

Land Rover was originally designed by Maurice and Spencer Wilks in sketches the brothers drew in the sand on an Anglesey beach back in 1947.

These designs were based on the wartime Jeep they drove and their desire to produce something similar but designed for the British climate and terrain. Maurice used the surplice military Jeep to get around his farm and soon saw the value in having a four by four designed for off-roading in the UK.

They both worked for the Rover Car Company, the original parent company of Land Rover, and so had the power to bring these beach dreams into reality.  Maurice was the one behind a lot of the vehicle’s engineering designs along with Rover engineer Arthur Goddard while his brother Spencer, who was in a more senior managerial position at the company was able to sign off on them. In 1948 the very first Land Rover hit the road.

Over the years the Land Rover brand has been owned by a number of different larger companies. The Rover Group, including Land Rover was purchased by BMW in 1994. The Rover Group was broken up and Land Rover was then sold to Ford in 2000. Eight years later Land Rover and Jaguar were purchased from Ford by Tata Motors.

Jaguar Land Rover was established by Tata Motors as a subsidiary company in 2013 and the two brands have worked together since then.

Land Rover Bicycles

Although Land Rover are known for their cars they’ve also endorsed and produced other products over the years, including coffee, prams and even bicycles.

In 1995 they endorsed a hand-made bicycle, allowing the company to use their logo on this and then two more bikes, one which was for children and another with hydraulic rim brakes.

Nine years later they launched their own line of bicycles with 25 models under three ranges. The Discovery range was an all-round bike, the Defender was an off-roader selection and the Freelander was a range of road bicycles.

The History of Jaguar

Land Rover is only one side of the Jaguar Land Rover company. The other half is Jaguar.

Jaguar is another British car manufacturer who are known for their luxury and high quality cars, but that wasn’t always the case. Jaguar’s origins date back to 1922 in the Swallow Sidecar Company, who originally produced sidecars for motorcycles before going on to develop the bodies for passenger cars. It was then a natural progression for the company to manufacture their own vehicles and in 1935 in association with Standard Motor Company the first Jaguar was on the roads.

In 1945 Swallow Sidecar Company changed its name to Jaguar Cars. This was in part because on the vehicles the company name was shortened to SS, which had several negative connotations following the war. Since then, the brand has been part of several other companies including British Motor Corporation, British Leyland and Ford until it was acquired by Tata Motors and merged with Land Rover to create today’s company Jaguar Land Rover.

Over the years Jaguar has been at the forefront of technological development, from their development with Dunlop on disc brakes for cars to the first fully-electric SUV, and this is something you see in all their models, alongside the high-quality finish and top performance.

Evolution of Land Rover Cars

Since Land Rover first started they have designed and produced several models and we’ve rounded up our top few vehicles below.

Range Rover

The Range Rover is considered one of Land Rover’s greatest accomplishments and is one of the most popular British cars of all time.

In 1951 Land Rover designers were planning a larger Land Rover Model however these designs were put to one side until the Range Rover was built in 1967. In 1970 the Range Rover was launched and available to the general public to purchase. It quickly became a hit with drivers, with its permanent four-wheel-drive, split tailgate and attractive body.

In 1994 the second generation was launched. This version had a more luxurious finish, introduced the silhouette that is recognisably similar to today’s version as well as the rectangular headlights used to this day.

Range Rover has several updates and new models added to the range over the last fifty years and these include the Range Rover Sport, which first appeared in 2005, the Range Rover Evoque, which joined in 2011, the Range Rover Velar,  available since 2017, and hybrid models since 2013.

Over the years the Range Rover has become known for providing drivers with the safety and security of a family SUV paired with a luxury interior and high-quality finish.

Land Rover Discovery 

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In 1989 Land Rover launched the first Discovery.

The Land Rover Discovery was born from Project Jay, which was established in the mid 1980’s with the goal of developing a new utilitarian vehicle that would bridge the gap between the classic Range Rover and the Ninety / One Ten (which was later renamed the Defender). The brand wanted a car that had the capability of the Ninety / One Ten with the interior comfort and quality finish of the Range Rover.

The Discovery 1, which made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1989, is instantly recognisable as the original version of today’s models, with the stepped roof, reverse C-pillars and clamshell bonnet.  It offered drivers a comfortable interior designed for every day, with radio controls in the centre of the dashboard and twin removable sunroof panel, as well impressive off-road capability thanks to the lockable central differential on the transmission.

Like other models, the Discovery went through several updates, including the second generation which was launched in 1998.

Today the Discovery is also available in a sportier, higher performance model with the Land Rover Discovery Sport as well as the classic Land Rover Discovery. 

Land Rover Defender

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In 1990 the Ninety and One-Ten range was renamed to the Defender Range, under which sat the Defender 90, 110 and 130.

Over the 90s there were several updates to the engines available in the Defender but the big changes came in 2007 with the launch of models that had a six-speed gearbox, modern dashboard and safer forward-facing rear seats on the station wagon models.

2015 was the Year of the Defender and Land Rover celebrated this with a number of events including a drawing on the Anglesey beach that the Wilks brothers originally drew their designs and the launch of three limited edition Defenders.

You can see the available Land Rover Defender lease deals if you’re interested in one for your next vehicle.

Evolution of Jaguar Cars

Over the years Jaguar have produced some of the most beautiful and high performance luxury vehicles available to drive. We’ve rounded up our top picks from across their entire catalogue below.

SS Jaguar Saloon

In 1935 the first car bearing the Jaguar name was produced. This was the SS Jaguar 2.5 litre Saloon and was produced while the company was still named Swallow Sidecar Company.

It was considered to be one of the most attractive cars on the market before the Second World War. With its precise balance of power and agility, and graceful silhouette it needed a name to reflect its road presence and this combination of attributes is why the company chose the name Jaguar, as the feline shared these qualities.

Jaguar E-Type

In 1961 Jaguar launched the very first E-Type, at the Geneva Motor Show. It was so popular that a second model was shipped overnight in order for Jaguar to be able to complete more test runs at the exhibit.

The E-Type was in part based on the company’s successful racing D-Type which had won the Le Mans race three times in the late 1950s, which is why the two-seater had such a sporty feel to it.

It was originally available as an open two-seater or a fastback coupe and in both body shapes it was considered to be a revolutionary vehicle, with its high performance and beautiful body setting it apart from others. The E-Type had faired-in headlamps, a long, sculpted front and centred twin exhausts, which made it unlike any other car.

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Jaguar XK8

In 1996 the XK8 hit the roads. It was the first Jaguar with a V8 engine and its stylish design was inspired by the Jaguar sports cars of the past.

The focus on heritage was visible in the sleek shape and powerful performance but these were combined with the space, safety and comfort that modern drivers required.

The XK8 was the fastest-selling sports car in Jaguar’s history at the time.

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Jaguar F-Type

In 2013 Jaguar launched the successor to the E-Type with the F-Type. It was the first two-seater sports car for the company in 50 years.

It was initially launched as a soft-top convertible that was quickly followed by a coupe version the following year.

The F-Type is still available to purchase and lease, though it has been updated since its debut. Head over to our F-Type leasing deals if you want to see the current offers available.

Jaguar I-Pace

The I-Pace was the world’s very first fully electric SUV.

Launched in 2018 the I-Pace followed on from the success of Jaguar’s first SUV launched just three years earlier, the F-Pace.  It shared several design similarities with the F-Pace from the spacious and luxurious interior to the high driving seat and strong road presence.

If you want to check out our current I-Pace lease deals then we have plenty of great offers for you to choose from.

Jaguar Land Rover Today

Although Jaguar Land Rover is owned by Tata Motors still, and has manufacturing plants and dealerships around the world the company prides itself on its British roots.  

They are continuing to develop greener, electric vehicles as the entire market shifts that way without sacrificing the performance and luxury that both brands are known for.

If you want to see what we currently have available on both of these brands then head over to our Land Rover lease deals or Jaguar lease deals for excellent car leasing offers. Or if you’d rather talk to someone then one of our Leasing Consultants would be happy to help. You can call us on 0330 221 0000 or click the purple phone in the bottom left corner of your screen to request a call back.

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