Land Rover: 60 Years of the 4×4 Workhorse. Click image to enlarge
By Russell Purcell
There is a lot of turmoil in the automotive world at the moment, but this is not a new story. Many seemingly dynamic and innovative car companies have come and gone over the years, often derailed by factors outside their control. We are currently witnessing how significant changes in customer demand, growing environmental concerns, and a downturn in the economy can suck the life out of even the largest corporate entities. This makes it important to celebrate the success stories of automotive companies like Land Rover, a niche brand that is recognized around the globe. Noted Land Rover expert James Taylor’s latest effort (Land Rover: 60 Years of the 4×4 Workhorse) will become your go-to title should your interests lie with the aluminum bodied, go-anywhere vehicles that have carried the Land Rover nameplate for over six decades.
This hardcover book looks and feels very high-end. At first you might hesitate at the price, but once you get beyond the high-gloss dust jacket you will notice the quality of the paper, crispness of the printing and sharpness of the photos. More importantly, you will quickly recognize that this may just be the ultimate reference for information on early Land Rovers, which makes this book well worth the money.
The book begins with a simple one page introduction where we learn a little about the subject matter, followed by a summation of author James Taylor’s credentials and level of expertise garnered from years of conducting research on the Land Rover brand. We are then led down a trail comprised of eighteen chapters that look at the six decade development of a vehicle that began as a whimsical drawing in the sand at a British engineer’s vacation cottage at Red Wharf Bay on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales.
Rover, like many British manufacturers at the time, was faced with stagnant car sales and out-dated designs as production and development of automobiles had been suspended during the war effort. Add to this a shortage of raw materials (due to war-time rationing) and a devastated post-war economy, and the situation was dire. Rover had to find a way to revamp its offerings to better meet the needs of its customers, at home and abroad.