Island of Islay: Birthplace of the Land Rover Name

June 07 2018, Land Rover Langley

Island of Islay: Birthplace of the Land Rover Name
  • Land Rover returns to the island where its name was created for unique heritage drive event
  • Islay, Scotland was used as a testing ground by Spencer Wilks in 1947, where several of the early Series Land Rover prototypes were put through their paces
  • A variety of vehicles were used to explore the island, including a 1954 Series I 107" Pick-Up, 1965 Series IIa 88" Tilt and 1980 Series III 109" Station Wagon, as well as the Defender Heritage Edition

Whitley, UK, August 19 2015 - Islay, Scotland is an important place in the history of Land Rover. More than 60 years ago, the island - affectionately known as the "Queen of the Hebrides" - is where an automotive icon was given its name.

Spencer Wilks, then the Managing Director of the Rover Car Company, owned the Laggan Estate on the island. In 1947, while driving his heavily modified Rover 12 across the rugged landscape, the estate's gamekeeper Ian Fraser remarked that it must be a "Land Rover", thus the name was born.

In recognition of this, Land Rover made the journey to Islay to capture a unique film and to celebrate 67 years of continuous Series Land Rover and Defender production and to see the place that inspired the vehicle's renowned nameplate.

While on the island guests drove a variety of Series Land Rovers and Defenders, including a 1954 Series I 107" Pick-Up, 1965 Series IIa 88" Tilt and 1980 Series III 109" Station Wagon. The trip also included a visit to the Kilchomen Distillery, owned by Kathy Wills, Spencer Wilks' great-granddaughter.

Renowned for its vast landscapes, rugged terrain and the production of some of the finest whisky in the world, Islay became the undisclosed testing ground for production Land Rovers in the late 40s, with the Wilks brothers continuing to use the island as a proving ground as they developed the Series Land Rover.

Roger Crathorne, author of 'Born in Lode Lane', comments: "Despite many of the vehicles being more than 50 years old, they are still adept at coping with the rough and challenging terrain that Islay has to offer, perfectly demonstrating the capability that Land Rover has always been renowned for."

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