History of the 1971-1974 Land Rover Series III
The third generation of the famed Land Rover was introduced to American market for 1971. From the side, it seemed like little had changed from the previous Series IIA. That’s because cosmetically, most of the changes were up front. The Land Rover Series III featured a new plastic grille over the previous wire mesh and the headlights were surrounded by new trim pieces. Many more changes, however, lurked under the surface. The transmission now had syncros in all forward gears, an alternator replaced the generator, the dashboard was redesigned, and more controls moved to the steering column. Atypical of Land Rover, year to year changes were virtually non-existent, aside from meeting newer federal standards.
Now under the umbrella of British Leyland, marketing of the Landie was sporadic at best in the US, essentially riding the coattails of its past history and word of mouth. It was also was no longer all that unique. American-made multi-purpose vehicles in the pre-SUV era (IH Scout II, Jeep CJ-5, Ford Bronco, and Chevy/GMC Blazers) were not only being built better than the Land Rover, but also were as capable off road plus offered more of the creature comforts that the Yanks insisted upon. That, combined with tighter US regulations and the first OPEC fuel crisis of 1973-74 lead B-L to discontinue imports in 1974. Although the Land Rover brand returned to the US market in 1987 with the Range Rover, it took until 1993 for the true Land Rover to return as the Defender. The final variant for the global market ended production in 2015.