History & 1948

Manufacturer Timeline :

1948-1967 - The Rover Company

1967-1968 - The Leyland Motor Company

1968 -1978 - British Leyland

1978 - 2012 - Land Rover Limited

2013 - merged to become Jaguar Land Rover 

 

Maurice Wilks :

Maurice Wilks was responsible for the inspiration and the concept work for the Land Rover.  

He was born in 1904 at Hayling Island in Hampshire, England and went to Malvern School.  His brother Spencer Wilks became Managing Director and Chairman of The Rover Car Company. 

1922 - 1926 Maurice worked for the Hillman Motor Car Company

1926 - he went to America to work for General Motors but returned to Hillman two years later.

1928 - 1930 he was the planning engineer at Hillman

1930 - Spencer and Maurice Wilks join the Board of Rover Car COmpany and decide to focus on only high quality cars. 

During World War 2 - Maurice led a team developing Frand Whittle's gas turbine engine. The project passed to Rolls-Royce in 1943. However after the war Maurice continied working with gas turbine engines and this let to Rover announcing the first gas turbine powered car in 1949.

Maurice lived on a farm in Anglesey and used an old Army Willys Jeep for farm work.  He and his brother Spencer were inspired by this to develop what became the Land Rover.

In the summer of 1947 Rover produced a prototype on a Willys chassis and in September 1947 they authorised production of 50 prototype vehicles for pre-production evaluation. 

Spencer Wilks owned an Island called Laggan on the Isle of Islay in Scotland.  Whilst driving his modified Rover 12 across the rugged land - his game keeper Ian Fraser remarked it must be a 'Land Rover' - thus the name was born.

In 1948 the Land Rover was launched to the world at the Amsterdam Motor Show.  

In 1956 Maurice became joint Managing Director of Rover with his brother Spencer.  

Maurice Wilks died on his farm in Anglesey in September 1963.