Of all James Archibald Cuthbertson’s claims to fame (designing the first endless rubber belt, engineering an underwater pipeline from Britain to France to supply the Allies after D-Day, advising multiple governments), inventing the Land Rover Series II is not one of them.
Being the first one to jack one up on rubber treads, however? That claim is all his.
Originally conceived of as a way to help farmers who were working in uneven landscapes get around, the Land Rover conversions that the Scotsman championed were the first of their kind. Able to handle everything from mud to deep snow to hordes of disgruntled sheep, Cuthbertson’s tracked Rovers ride atop a sub-frame that allows for the clearance and movement of the treads.
Rover on Treads (8 images)
In addition to serving farmers, the tracked-up Rovers — 20 MPH max speed and all — have been used by the military to clear explosives and by utility companies to service remote areas. Although only a handful of the aftermarket creations ever made it out of Cuthbertson’s factory, one of them — a 1958 Land Rover 109 Series 2 edition — has resurfaced and is going up for auction.
Expected to fetch anywhere from $65k to $78k, you have until September to get your bid ready.