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We Can’t Get Enough of These Vintage Photos of Land Rovers in Action

From the African savanna to the local police station.

Conner GoldenWriterGetty ImagesPhotographer

There's just something about a Series Land Rover. Over the course of decades, Britain's timeless workhorse earned its reputation as the scrappy and dependable go-anywhere, do-anything truck. Yet despite the rough-and-tumble image, Series Land Rover owners were just as likely to use their vehicle as a beach runabout in California or for shuttling preppy teens around Nantucket as they were to go scraping through the high savannah grasses and slipping down flooded English farm roads. It was an explorer, adventurer, soldier, tractor, and faithful companion for the better part of fifty years, and endures as a symbol of British engineering and endeavoring spirit.

If you can't already tell, we love Landies, and we think you should, too. To drum up support for our cause, we scrounged a set of archival images of vintage Land Rovers doing some typical Land Rover stuff. Many of these images depict the trucks in their natural environment of broken rocks, tall grass, towering trees, and deep mud, but there are plenty of surprises to be found. Before we get to the mega gallery, here are a few of our favorites.

Circus Training

We bet this caught your attention. Here's Kam, an elephant from the Bertram Mills Circus practicing "driving" before the 1959 Christmas Show.

Rooftop Cooper

Racers Stuart Lewis-Evans and Tony Harris remove their excellent little Cooper 500 Formula 3 race car from the roof of a Land Rover at the Crystal Palace circuit in 1953. We've seen this image circulated before, but it's too good not to share again.

Land Rovers on Patrol  

The Police Commissioner for Derbyshire taking delivery of two new Land Rovers in 1969. Look at all the requisite police componentry sitting off to the side.

On a Wire

The original caption says it all. "Engineer Charles Grayson of the British Army checks his position as he drives a Land Rover over two suspended steel wires at Fort Tregantle, England. He drove the 3,600-pound vehicle, fitted with special outer wheels to guide itself along the wires, for a distance of 100 feet. The venture was part of an exercise staged by the British Army following techniques devised by the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers."

Liveried Landie

A Land Rover outfitted with a fetching Champion Spark Plug livery provides support at the 1970 British GP at Brands Hatch.

Camping, McQueen Style

We couldn't resist featuring Steve McQueen and his Series Land Rover, captured at a campground in the Sierra Madre Mountains of California during May of 1963.