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Land Rover History
Source: Land Rover
1948: The first production Land Rover is introduced at the Amsterdam international motor show on April 30. The vehicle is equipped with permanent four-wheel drive, a canvas roof and optional doors. Doors become standard within months.
1950: A metal hardtop is offered as an alternative to the canvas roof.
1954: The first 107-inch, long-wheelbase model is offered.
1956: Both short- and long-wheelbase Land Rovers gain two inches to become 88-inch and 109-inch models, respectively.
1957: The first diesel-powered Land Rover is produced.
1958: The Land Rover Series II, with more refined styling, is launched.
1959: In November, the 250,000th Land Rover is produced.
1962: The Land Rover Series IIA is launched.
1966: In April, the 500,000th Land Rover is produced.
1968: The Series IIA's headlamps are moved from the radiator grille to the front fenders to meet the new lighting regulations of several export territories.
1970: Land Rover's Range Rover is introduced. The vehicle is equipped with permanent four-wheel drive, a V8 engine, solid axles and coil springs.
1971: The Land Rover Series III is launched in October with a synchromesh gearbox, a new radiator grille and an all-new interior.
1976: June sees the 1,000,000th Land Rover roll off the line.
1978: Land Rover Ltd. is formed, with plans to double production by the 1980s.
1979: The 109-inch Land Rover V8 is launched.
1982: The Land Rover Series III County station wagon becomes available, featuring a more refined interior.
1983: The 110-inch wheelbase Series III (the '110' model)-with a new coil-spring suspension, five-speed gearbox, one-piece windscreen and power steering-is introduced.
1985: The 90, a two-door version of the 110 that employs all of the 110's refinements, is launched. Land Rover vehicles are being sold in 120 countries.
1986: Range Rover of North America, Inc. establishes its headquarters in Lanham, Maryland.
1987: The first U.S.-specification Range Rovers go on sale in the United States on March 16.
1988: Land Rover is bestowed with its fourth Royal Warrant by HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, joining warrants from HM Queen Elizabeth II; HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; and HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. Land Rover is the only vehicle manufacturer to possess all four Royal Warrants.
1989: The two-door Discovery-the first all-new Land Rover in 19 years-is introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show with a new turbocharged, direct injection diesel engine.
1990: The Defender range, based on the Land Rover 90 and 110 Series, is introduced.
1991: The four-door Discovery is introduced in Europe.
1992: Range Rover of North America, Inc. becomes Land Rover North America, Inc. on August 1.
Land Rover Defender 110, with a 3.9 liter V8 engine and a limited-production run of 500 units, goes on sale in the U.S. on August 1.
1993: Range Rover County LWB (long wheelbase) with its revolutionary Electronic Air Suspension (EAS) system, is introduced.
Defender 90 is introduced in the U.S.
1994: Rover Group is acquired by BMW Group.
The four-door Discovery goes on sale in the U.S. in April.
An all-new Range Rover is introduced at the Paris Motor Show. It is the first clean-sheet redesign of the legendary Range Rover in the vehicle's 25-year history. Range Rover County Classic is introduced to continue the original vehicle's time-honored design.
1995: Range Rover 4.0 SE is introduced in U.S. in March.
In September, Range Rover 4.6 HSE is introduced in the U.S.
The 4.0-liter Discovery and the two-door hardtop Defender 90 join the U.S. lineup.
Land Rover's annual production tops 100,000 units for the first time.
1996: The first-ever automatic-transmission Defender 90 becomes available.
1997: Land Rover launches Freelander, an all-new four-wheel-drive range, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It is available in the U.K. late in the year in two- and four-door models. Freelander is the first production vehicle ever to offer Hill Descent Control (HDC), a system that helps to maintain optimum vehicle speed and driver control while the vehicle is descending steep, slippery slopes.
1998: In a feat billed as the 'The World's Longest Test,' two new Land Rover Discovery Series IIs set off from the Land Rover assembly site in Solihull, England, en route to the Paris for the 1998 Paris Motor Show. They take the long way: a trip around the world.
Having completed a nearly 18,000 mile shakedown, Discovery Series II is launched with much fanfare on September 29 at the Paris Motor Show. The first complete re-engineering of Discovery, the all-new Discovery Series II features Land Rover's exclusive Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Active Cornering Enhancement (ACE), a first for volume-production sport-utility vehicles. ACE measures and actively minimizes the vehicle's body lean during cornering.
1999: Discovery Series II enters the North American market in January. Land Rover North America sets an all-time sales record, reaching 29,380 vehicles, a 37 percent increase over calendar year 1998.
2000: At a gathering on the grounds of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, Land Rover executives and more than a thousand faithful enthusiasts meet to celebrate Range Rover's 30th anniversary. Range Rover was launched at the Earl's Court Motor Show on June 17, 1970 and has been a critically acclaimed success ever since. As of June 2000-thirty years since the introduction-more than 425,000 Range Rovers have been produced. Land Rover produces 400 special-edition 30th Anniversary Range Rovers to mark the occasion.
Land Rover Group, Limited, a newly created company separate from Rover Group, is purchased from BMW AG by the Ford Motor Company for $2.7 billion (3 billion Euros.) The transaction is completed on June 30, 2000. Robert A. Dover is named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Land Rover Group, Ltd.