Some background information
Land Rover began in 1947 with the Series I (Series One) and continued until 1985 manufacturing the Series models (Series III). The "Series" identification was initiated by Land Rover as a means of identifying major design changes in production. They did not intend to change Land Rovers on an annual basis. The designers felt that they had this "agricultural workhorse" so right from the start, that annual cosmetic styling would only detract from its functional applications.
Wheel base is an important number for Land Rovers. Land Rover wheel base is measured from the hub center of the front wheel to the hub center of the rear wheel. (example: model 88 is 88" from hub center to hub center). The exception being the 90 which is actually 92.9" wheel base.
Birth of a Legend
In 1947 the first prototype Land Rovers were built using Birmabright Aluminum alloy body panels and galvanized chassis. Intended for agricultural use, the steering wheel was located in the center of the dash.
Series I - 1948 into 1958
The first production Land Rovers had 1.6 litre petrol engines on a 80" wheel base. In 1952 the engine displacement was increased to 2.0 litres. In 1954 the wheel base was lengthened to 86 inches and the first long wheel base 107" pickup was introduced. 1956 saw the 86" and 107" lengthened to 88" and 109" and the 2.0 litre diesel became available as an option.
Series II - 1958 thru 1960
The Series II had an all new body designed by Rover's styling department.The new body style included sill panels to hide the exhaust and the chassis. A more powerful 2.25 litre petrol engine was introduced for improved performance. It was still available in 88" and 109" wheel base but with a broader range of colors.
Series IIA - 1961 into 1971
The Series IIA was still available with either the 88" or the 109" wheel base. A change in the front apron panel, from an angular panel to a gentle curved panel, is the only major style change. A Station Wagon version included full hard top with sunsheet, sliding windows, alpine glass, roof vent, rear door & full interior trim. In 1962 the 2.25 diesel and the Forward Control model were introduced. Land Rovers had positive earth electrics until 1967.
The Fall of 1967 saw many changes and marks the dividing line between the early Series IIA's and the late. Land Rovers were now negative earth with a single wiper motor mounted in the dash. For easily recognized changes in 1969 the headlights were moved from the center radiator grille to the wings and the sill panels narrowed from 5" to 3". Land Rover introduced the 2.6 litre, 6 cylinder station wagon and Series IIB 110 forward control in 1967 and the air portable 88" for military purposes was developed in 1968.
Series III - Fall of 1971 to 1984
The Series III had a revised fascia with a black plastic safety dash. The instruments were moved in front of driver, a fully synchronized gearbox was added, and there was a plastic radiator grille.In 1972 Land Rover introduced its V8 powered 101" Forward Control. And in 1979 the V8 109" Regular and 109" Station Wagon models were introduced. The 109" High Capacity Pickup was introduced in 1982.
Land Rover 110 - 1983 to present
The 110 saw all new coil spring suspension with full time 4WD from the Range Rover design incorporated into the 109 type body styles. Styling changes include a one piece windscreen with new roof design and wheel arches added to the wings to accommodate a wider track. The 110 was available with a 2.5 petrol,a 2.5 diesel,a V8 petrol (carburetted or fuel injected), or a 200Tdi turbo diesel engine. A 5 speed manual gearbox was standard. In 1994, an improved diesel 300 Tdi becomes the standard engine with only the V8 offered as an option.
Land Rover 90 - 1984 to present
The 90 was a smaller version of the 110 with a 93" wheelbase. It replaced the Series III 88" lineup. The 90 shares the same engine and gearbox options as the 110.
Land Rover 130 - Introduced in 1985
The 130 is a 127" wheelbase version of the 110. Aimed at the commercial market, it is ideally suited for special body conversions. It is also offered in six wheel drive. After manufacture most 130s are finished at Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations facility at Solihull. Here 130s are completed to the customer's own design and specifications.
Defender 110 NAS - U.S. Market only, 1993
The 110 Defender was a Limited Edition and only 500 of these vehicles were sold in the United States.
Defender 90 NAS - U.S. Market only, 1994, 1995 & 1997
This 3.9 litre V8 convertible marked Land Rover's mass-production return to U.S. market.
Additional tips on identifying your Land Rover can be found at the Identifying your Land Rover section of the
Land Rover FAQ