Another solo around the world trip got underway a matter of days after Townsend. Barbara Toy in her nine-year-old Land Rover “Pollyanna” undertook it but was beset with mechanical problems.
These included brake failure, which bizarrely prevented her from stopping in an attempted hold-up. She was unable to use the Stilwell Road to cross Burma due to a local revolt, so shipped her aging vehicle to Thailand, subsequently crossing Australia and the United States before bringing it back to Britain.
Land Rover Santana began manufacture in Spain, making a variety of vehicles including normal and forward control, some with locally designed and made bodywork. Metalurgica de Santa Ana SA, or MSA, was the only firm that made Land Rovers from its own raw materials rather than from completely knocked down (CKD) components from Solihull.
The Franco government was eager to create a motor industry, especially with a manufacturer capable of supplying vehicles for the military and agriculture, and subsidized the new factory at Jaén. Santana was registered on 24 February 1955 and in 1956 signed a license contract with Rover. Production did not begin until 1958, with only 5400 being built in ten years.
1957 The first factory diesel engine for a Land Rover was introduced with a capacity of 2052cc, producing 52bhp (39kW) and 87lbft (118Nm) of torque. It had a cast iron cylinder head and block, and overhead valves with roller tappets. Spencer Wilks was appointed the chairman of Rover.
1958 The Land Rover Series II was unveiled 10 years after the launch of the first Land Rover, appropriately also at the same Amsterdam Motor Show. Rover’s styling department under David Bache provided a wider body, with barrelled sides, and sills that hid the chassis.
Other changes included an external fuel filler, and glass replaced Perspex in the sliding side windows. A wider track gave a bigger turning circle, and the option of free-wheeling hubs saved wear on the front drive shafts while improving fuel consumption.
A new petrol engine for the Series II, closely related to the diesel, had a capacity of 2286cc and raised power output to 77bhp (57kW). An important contributor to the appearance of Land Rovers for many years Bache had been a student apprentice of engineering at Austin in 1948, spending six years at Longbridge, together with courses at Birmingham University and Birmingham College of Art. He went to work at Solihull aged 26, with an ambition to graduate to what was sometimes called styling but which he firmly regarded as “design”.
His first job, getting the Rover P5 to Maurice Wilks’s liking, proved difficult. Work on the Road Rover was suspended and within a year it was consigned to oblivion. Land Rover annual production exceeded 30,000 for the first time.
1959 After 11 years in production, the 250,000th Land Rover rolled off the line. The Australian army had adopted the Land Rover as a standard vehicle in 1958 and the 109in Station Wagon was introduced. Austin, which had made the Rolls-Royce-engined and technically sophisticated military Champs between 1952 and 1955, embarked on its own competitor in 1958.
The Austin Gipsy was never a great rival. Two versions were made, a 2199cc petrol and a 2178cc diesel, with utility bodywork but only 21,208 were produced before production ended in 1968. 1960 Rover factories proliferated in the 1950s and 1960s, with one at Perry Bar purchased in 1952, Percy Road in 1954, while transmission and chassis manufacturer was dispersed from Solihull, and more buildings were acquired at Tyburn Road in 1964, Garrison Street in 1965, and Tyseley No2 in 1969.