The Island of Islay, Where Land Rovers Got Their Name

The Island of Islay is located off the west coast of Scotland and is affectionately known by locals as the “Queen of the Hebrides”.

More than 60 years ago, this remote Scottish island played a part in the creation of one of the British motoring’s most iconic vehicles, playing a huge role in the naming of the Land Rover.

Spencer Wilks, then the Managing Director of the Rover Car Company, owned the Laggan Estate on the island. In 1947, whilst driving his heavily modified Rover 12 across the tough terrain, his gamekeeper Ian Fraser quipped how it must be a ‘Land Rover’, and from then on the name stuck.

Land Rover recently made the trip to Islay to celebrate 67 years of Series Land Rover and Land Rover Defender production and take a look around the landscape that inspired a British motoring revolution.

During their visit to the island the Land Rover team drove a variety of Series Land Rovers and Defenders, including the original 1954 Series 1 107” Pick-up, 1965 Series IIa 88” Tilt and 1980 Series III 109” Station wagon, giving members of the modern Land Rover team a taste of what driving around in these classic vehicles would have been like.

Renowned around its harsh winter weather conditions, rugged terrain and vast landscapes, Islay became the unofficial proving ground for production Land Rovers throughout the late 40s as the Wilks brothers continued to use the island to put the Series 1 Land Rover through its paces in the build up to its production.

Roger Crathorne, author of ‘Born in Lode Lane’, commented: “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.”

With Land Rover announcing that production of the Defender will end in December, there doesn’t seem to be many better ways to say goodbye than a trip down memory lane to the place where the iconic brand first got its name!

The Land Rover Defender first came off the production line in 1948 and has gone on to become one of Britain’s most loved vehicles, starring in James Bond films and is even driven by the Queen.

The truly unique combination of off-road ability, comfort, practicality, style and reliability has kept customers coming back for the last 67 years, and will ensure that the Land Rover Discovery is remembered fondly even after production has ceased.

To find out more about the Land Rover range, visit our dealership on Aylestone Road, Leicester, or contact us using the buttons above.