Friday, August 2, 2013

1982 Land Rover Santana

"Outwardly, the Land-Rover has undergone no fundamental change over the years because its functional design and rugged construction have proved to be best-suited to the enormous diversity of jobs it is called upon to do. But mechanically, and in various other respects, it has been progressively developed to improve the breed and keep pace with the special and ever-growing needs of operators throughout the world."

Imagine any tough offroad setting in a remote place of the world, and you'll find essentially three vehicles with go-anywhere capabilities in the picture: the ubiquitous Jeep in all of its evolutionary stages, the Land Rover, or the Toyota Land Cruiser from Japan. In Cuba, too, there is no shortage of any of these vehicles. 

Meet the Land Rover Santana, offspring of a dynasty of offroad cars from Great Britain. English by design, but with a Spanish heart, this Land Rover was fruit of a collaboration, license-built in Andalusia by "Metal├║rgica de Santa Ana", hence the name Santana. It is, technically speaking, a Series III LWB, featuring a wheelbase of 109-inch (2769mm), as opposed to the 88-inch wheelbase of the SWB version. 

Incidentally, the first prototype for the Landrover (written in one word or hyphenated through 1980, later as two words) was literally built on the chassis of a Willys Jeep in the spring of 1947. The production model, now based on a bespoke chassis, was presented in 1948 and became an immediate success. Customers appreciated its ruggedness and easy maintenance, which is one reason why the dependable Land Rover still is so widespread throughout the world. The other reason has to do with material shortages right after World War II: the Land Rover body panels are made from "Duralumin", which was much more expensive than steel, but easily accessible, because the British aircraft industry didn't build bombers by the thousands anymore. Because these aluminum panels don't rust, the Land Rover became famous for being a durable and almost indestructible mud-plugger. 

Land Rover will stop producing the "Defender", the youngest embodiment of the original Landrover, in 2015. By then, the Land Rover has been built in essentially similar shape for more than 67 years, which is by far the longest production run of any automobile model worldwide.

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