Land Rover Defender Outline in Snow Marks Brand’s 70th Anniversary

If you go on Facebook or Twitter, you’re bound to see the hashtag for some “National _____ Day.” In fact, I’m writing this post on #NationalSiblingsDay. If you don’t have a brother or sister, it’s just a matter of time until you can celebrate National Tequila or National Donut Day or National Half-Eaten Gingerbread Man Cookie Day (I made that one up, but I’m surprised it doesn’t already have its own spot on the calendar). The list goes on and on. At the end of this month, one particular vehicle company and off-road enthusiasts everywhere will have a reason to celebrate. April 30 is World Land Rover Day.

Why April 30? That marks one of many important milestones in the history of Land Rover. In the first half of the 20th century, Rover’s engineering director Maurice Wilks drew a shape in the sand of Wales’s Red Wharf Bay and showed it to his brother Spencer, who was Rover’s managing director. That crude sketch became known as the “Land Rover” and led to a production vehicle. On April 30, 1948, Rover introduced the world to the metal version of the Land Rover at the Amsterdam Motor Show.

That’s one small step for a man, one of 20,894 for Land Rover.

Of course, Land Rover isn’t waiting until the 30th of this year to start hyping their big day. They commissioned snow artist Simon Beck, whose specialty is creating geometric outlines on foot, to draw another special outline – this time in snow. According to the company, Beck “braved sub-zero temperatures to start the celebrations by creating the Defender outline 2,700m [8,858 ft] up at La Plagne in the French Alps.” Creating the 820 foot (250 meter) wide design took walking 20,894 steps – 16.5km (10.2 miles) – through the thick powder. Beck said, “Making my snow art requires endurance, accuracy and strength – all attributes shared with the Defender. Its iconic shape is so simple and recognized across the world; this must be the most recognizable piece of art I’ve ever made.”

Beck could’ve saved himself a lot of walking with one of these.

This isn’t the first time Land Rover has celebrated its history with a giant line drawing. To commemorate the final production year of the legendary Defender, Land Rover went back to Red Wharf Bay in 2015 to recreate the outline that changed the off-road vehicle world forever.

Of course, there have been many other important times in Land Rover’s past 70 years as a brand. Ten years after Rover debuted the Land Rover Series I at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show, it introduced the more visually refined Series II. The Series III followed in 1971, just one year after the original Range Rover went on sale. By 1976, Land Rover had produced its 1 millionth vehicle. The first Discovery came to market in 1989. The next year, Land Rover relaunched the original “Landie” and renamed it the Defender. Flash forward to the present day and the Range Rover is in its fourth generation and has three spinoff models. The Discovery is now its fifth generation. The Defender is no more…but not for long. A new model is coming eventually.

Some things never change. Land Rovers still look great, especially off-road.

You can celebrate World Land Rover Day on April 30 by tuning into Land Rover’s online broadcast. It’ll feature the people who contributed to the brand’s technologies and vehicles, including the Series models, 1970 Range Rover, 1989 Disco, and – you guessed it – Defender.

Even as an outline, the Defender looks right at home on the side of a mountain.

About the author

Derek Shiekhi

Derek Shiekhi is a native Texan who grew up loving cars because of his father, who took Derek with him to buy early Mustang convertibles and Post-WWII pickups from GM. Throughout high school and college, he dreamed about cars, and returned to college to earn a second degree in journalism. After writing for the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, Derek joined the Texas Auto Writers Association, and is a member of the organization's board of directors.
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