The Series III was a world-wide best seller during its production years from 1971-85. It continued to foster Land Rover's reputation of "The World's Most Versatile Vehicle". Part of its sales success was due to a few much awaited improvements; such as a fully synchromeshed gearbox, servo-assisted brakes, more user friendly heater, improved screen wipers and upgraded dashboard controls. There was little improvement however in either ride comfort or fuel economy.
Despite the upgrading of some of its attributes, compared to ealier models, the Series III Land Rover would probably not have sold as well as it did if it were not for the fact that most of its sales were overseas. Large sections of the UK market still viewed this Land Rover model as having poor road performance, uncomfortable ride and having restricted driver visibility. It was in answer to some of these local criticisms that the Range Rover was developed and took off so well in local market sales.
The overseas market was in need of a go anywhere do anything vehicle that could be easily maintained and the Series III continued on with this design model from its I,II &IIA predecessors. So the Series III still managed to hold onto a good overseas market share despite the faster and more comfortable Toyota Land Cruiser of the same era.
Land Rover again addressed the problems of passenger comfort
and on-road vehicle performance towards the end of Series III model production . The V8 engine was introduced into LWB models in 1981, much improving on-road performance, at the expense, literally, of fuel consumption. Comfort and asthetic appeal was transformed when the County Station Wagon was launched in 1982, with driver and passengers now sitting on cloth instead of vinyl seats. Also, with an eye on running costs, both freewheeling hubs and overdrive were offered as options.
Having upgraded the Series III's on-road performance and comfort levels, the final boost to saleability was to offer a high-capacity pick-up version (the Hi-Cap), which went on to provide the basis for many a cherry picker conversion.
In a 1976 press release, to mark the 1,000,000th Land Rover, British Leyland stated that "the millionth Land Rover is remarkably similar to those built in 1948 but infact throughout its life nearly every part, down to the smallest nut and bolt, has been modified in some way." So there we have it ...... the same but different.
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