Engineer Responsible for First Land Rover Visits the Company
The 89-year old, who still holds the chief engineer position at his family’s Australian-based trailer firm, visited Land Rover’s design headquarters, Solihull factory (this was his first visit for a period of 55 years) and was also guest of honour at the special 62nd birthday party at Gaydon, which was held over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.
“Solihull is unrecognisable from the factory I left in 1955," said Arthur. "Seeing the Defender coming down the production line however did bring back memories. It’s astonishing that a vehicle that was really developed as a “stop gap” should continue to be so successful, and has given birth to a thriving 4x4 company.”
Arthur joined Rover in 1945 and was initially responsible for developing a new tank engine. Once the war was over, the 24-year old switched to engineering car powerplants. Soon after that, in Easter 1947, Maurice Wilks had his brainwave for developing an innovative all terrain vehicle - the Land Rover.
Arthur was responsible for the vehicle’s design and development, preparing the new car for production. He supervised Land Rover legends, such as Tom Barton, who developed the vehicle’s transmission, Gordon Bashford, who took care of the chassis, Joe Drinkwater (he created the engine) and Sam Olster, who was responsible with the car’s body design.