The first Land-Rover was designed in
1948 in the United Kingdom by Maurice Wilks, chief designer at the
British car company Rover on his farm in Newborough, Anglesey. It is
said that he was inspired by an American World War II Jeep that he
used one summer at his holiday home in Wales. The first Land-Rover
prototype 'centre steer' was built on a Jeep chassis.
A distinctive feature is their bodies, constructed of a lightweight
rustproof proprietary alloy of aluminium and magnesium called
Birmabright. This material was used because of post war steel
shortages and a plentiful supply of post-war aircraft aluminium.
This metal's resistance to corrosion was one of the factors that
allowed the vehicle to build up a reputation for longevity in the
toughest conditions. It is reckoned that 75% of all those ever built
are still in use. The early choice of colour was dictated by
military surplus supplies of aircraft cockpit paint, so early
vehicles only came in various shades of light green; all models
until recently feature sturdy box section ladder-frame chassis.