The successor to the successful Series I was the Series II, which saw a production run from 1958 to 1961. It came in 88 in (2,235 mm) and 109 in (2,769 mm) wheelbases (normally referred to as the 'SWB' and 'LWB'). This was the first Land Rover to adopt a relatively modern shape, and used the well-known 2.25-litre petrol engine, although early short wheelbase (SWB) models retained the 2.0-litre petrol engine from the Series I for the first 1,500 or so vehicles. This larger petrol engine produced 72 hp and was closely related to the 2.0-litre diesel unit still in use. This engine became the standard Land Rover unit until the mid-1980s when diesel engines became more popular.
The Series III had the same body and engine options as the preceding IIa, including station wagons and 1 Ton versions. Little changed cosmetically from the IIA to the Series III. The Series III is the most common Series vehicle, with 440,000 of the type built from 1971 to 1985.
The Land Rover Defender is the product of continued development of the original utility Land Rover Series I launched in 1948. Using the basic yet robust underpinnings of a ladder frame chassis and aluminium body, the Defender is available in a huge variety of body types (as of 2007, 10 major body types are available from the factory, plus many more specialist versions such as fire engines, hydraulic platforms and military versions). Defenders are used for a very wide variety of purposes- from agricultural and industrial users to a large number of military customers. Defenders are also a common choice for use on expeditions and surveys throughout the world. As well as these more traditional roles, in recent years the Defender has been increasingly used by families and individuals as a private car.
The Defender was not an entirely new model at launch. It used engines and body panels carried over from the Series III Land Rover; gearbox, axles and suspension from the Range Rover.