1954 Land Rover Series 1 SWB 86 inch Utility
|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 1997cc|
Conceived as a replacement for the wartime Jeep by the Rover Car Company immediately after the cessation of hostilities, the Land Rover first appeared in prototype form in 1947 and used a production Rover 10 engine driving through a standard gearbox with specially built dual-range transfer box. With permanent four-wheel drive, simple but rugged engineering and basic styling, the first Land Rovers did well in the crucial export markets and a great many found their way into service on the land, in the military and industry in Australia over the years. Indeed, roughly 80 per cent of all Land Rovers built in the early post-war period were exported, Australia proving the largest non-military market. The earliest Land Rovers shared an 80-inch wheelbase steel box-section chassis with lightweight and easily detachable aluminium panels, including doors, bonnet and windscreen, making them a versatile go-anywhere machine. The original 1.6-litre side-valve engine was enlarged to 2-litres in 1952, with a useful hike in power, while a more conventional dog clutch arrangement was introduced in 1950 - both welcome improvements - but bigger changes were in store. In 1954 Land Rover unveiled a revised 86-inch wheelbase model, supplemented by a longer-wheelbase Station Wagon version on a 107-inch wheelbase, with seating for up to ten on the rear bench seats. Mid-way through 1954 a new “spread bore” motor was adopted, with better cooling between the cylinders. Now celebrated as an automotive icon, interest in classic Land Rovers is at an all time high and Series 1 models are fetching record prices around the world.