Series 1 Land Rover Starts Life With Smiths Gauges

The Land Rover has been a part of motoring history since its launch at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948.  Mounted on the Series I dashboard were gauges designed and manufactured by Smiths Instruments.  Today, that original Smiths tooling is still being used to manufacture and supply gauges to thousands of Land Rover enthusiasts across the World.

In post second World War war Britain there wasn't a demand for the high luxury cars produced by the Rover Motor Company and so the Land Rover was born.  The original concept was to design a light agricultural and utility vehicle, similar to the Willys Jeep that had been used in the war.  Also, the plan was to only produce Land Rovers for 2 or 3 years to generate cash flow and export orders for the Rover Company.  Little did they know that the Land Rover would become one of the most popular vehicles in history, with a reported record 487,065 vehicles being sold in 2015.

The original Land Rover Series I had a very functional design and the interiors were rather spartan.  Very quickly, Rover realised that some buyers would want something a little more stylish and comfortable and a second body option, called "Station Wagon" was released in 1949.  This model had wooden-framed bodywork and seating for up to 7 people.  However, the car was expensive to built and attracted high levels of tax, resulting in less than 700 being sold.

The 2nd "Station Wagon" was released in 1956 with seating for up to 10 people.  The production costs were lower and the model became highly popular, especially with additional fittings such as the "Safari Roof".

The engine of the Land Rover Series I, also evolved over time from a 1.6 L I4 (1948-1951), to a 2.0 L I4 and into a 2.0 L diesel (1957-58).  The transmission remained a 4-speed manual and it was always 4WD.

The instrumentation in the Land Rover Series I was all designed and supplied by Smiths Instruments.  Smiths had become one of the premier suppliers of gauges to the automotive industry with instrumentation being supplied for a wide variety of vehicles.  The last Land Rover Series I was replaced by the Series II in 1958.

A range of Smiths Gauges are available for the Land Rover including Speedometers, Fuel Gauges and Coolant Temperature Gauges.

For further information on gauges for the Land Rover or other classic cars, please contact us on:

Phone: 01639 732200

Email: [email protected]

Via the website

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