If there ever was a simple, rugged and durable vehicle, the 1948 Land Rover Series 1 is it. Based partly on a truck design, and partly on a tractor one, the Series 1 was designed with rural use in mind. Land Rover thought that they would maybe sell 50 a week, but within a year it sold more than all their other products put together, and by the time it was replaced in 1954, over 100,000 had been sold, in great part in international markets. It certainly wasn’t perfect, though: it’s permanent four-wheel drive system had no central differential, which meant that wheels went different speeds when going down-hill, not an ideal situation. This was fixed in 1950 with a dog-leg clutch that allowed for 2- or 4-wheel drive selection. In post-war Britain, steel was hard to come by, so the Series 1 was mostly built of aluminium, which made it light and more rust-resistant.
The original Land Rover Series 1 was powered by a small, 1.6-liter engine (upgraded to 2-liters later on) that produced 50 horsepower. Top speed was only 56 miles per hour, so no need to worry about the 0-60 acceleration time. Acceleration figures are not available, but they certainly weren’t impressive, whatever they were.
Of course, speed and acceleration weren’t was this vehicle was about. It was about offering a rugged, all-terrain vehicle meant for rural, off-road use, and in that respect, the 1948 Land Rover Series 1 was exceptional.