nothing
ROVERLOG Menu
Interesting Info About All Things Land Rover
Interesting Info About All Things Land Rover

Arthur Goddard, Original Land Rover Engineer, Turns 100

  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Feb 5, 2021
Arthur Goddard

The man who was the development engineer for the first Land Rover in the 1940s, Arthur Goddard, turned 100 on January 31st. As a centenarian, he remains one of the very last living links to the earliest days of Land Rover development and production.

Goddard was born on January 31, 1921, grew up in Cheshire, England, and earned his degree in Liverpool. Out of school, he began his career in the aviation industry, working on aircraft engines during the war for Alvis. He was recruited by Rover for their wartime Meteor tank engine program, based heavily on the Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engine. As the war ended, he was recruited by Rover’s managing director, Maurice Wilks, to work on the new intake-over-exhaust (IOE) engines, which would be used in some Series vehicles along with Rover sedans for decades to come.

When Maurice Wilks was inspired to build the Land Rover by his wartime Jeep’s usefulness on his farm in Wales, he turned to Goddard to be the Development Engineer, one of the most influential members of the team that took the Land Rover from concept to reality in all of ten months. That would be as much of a challenge of team management as it would be a challenge of engineering. Usually, a car takes years to develop, different components being engineered one after another. Here, all of the parts had to be engineered at the same time, and somehow fit in a car and work together at the end. It was a flurry of regular meetings and coordinating multiple teams to get the truck ready on such a tight timeline.

Goddard's recollections of these early days reveal the thought process that led to many of the design decisions in the Land Rover, some of which would last for decades. The gauges in the middle of the dash? That's because Maurice Wilks' mother kept her clock in the middle of her mantle in the living room. The vehicle was designed from day one for military use, to create extra avenues for sales. The truck was at first only available in green for the same reason -- it would take longer to create multiple paint hues, so they went with a single, military-esque shade.

After ten months of making decisions like this, coordinating between all of the departments, Goddard's work came to fruition in April 1948, when the Land Rover 80" was launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show.

After that, Goddard continued his work at Rover for a few more years, before moving to Lucas Girling in 1957 to become technical director for the brake manufacturer, making great strides in the development of disc brake systems. In 1970, he moved to Australia to work for Girling Australia, before founding his own company making parts for RVs and trailers. He's lived in Australia since 1970 as an expatriate.

Goddard's story was more or less lost in the history of Land Rovers until one day Mike Bishop, a Land Rover historian and official restoration division Land Rover Classic's Reborn Engineering Specialist, was talking to someone in his native Australia. They mentioned in passing that their neighbor had engineered the Land Rover. perhaps not knowing the gravity of the situation. Mike connected with Arthur, which resulted in a book about his story, They Found Our Engineer, and his first return to the Solihull factory in decades.

He was also part of the assembly of the two millionth Defender, which was auctioned off for charity in 2015. He put his signature of approval on it, sixty-seven years and two million trucks after he first worked on prototypes a lifetime ago. Now retired in Australia, he is one of the last living links to a seminal year in British motoring: the birth of the Best 4x4xFar.

Get the ROVERLOG Newsletter Delivered to your inbox

Sign up and receive once every 2 weeks


  • Written By
  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Adventure addict. '90s Land Rover daily driver. Historic preservationist. Personal vehicles: 1994 Discovery I, 1994 Range Rover Classic, 1961 Series II.
Select a Category
Select Vehicle Select Your Vehicle

Reviews from our Customers...

  • FAST Shipping! Call these Folks they have all the answers to your part installation.

    -Bill M. (Boydton,VA)

    Great customer service, very knowledgeable staff. Everyone I have worked with are Land Rover owners- which is a big help for knowing the vehicles.

    You always have the parts I need at a great price and everyone Ive ever spoken to has a great knowledge of all Land Rovers

    -Keith B. (Blue Ridge,VA)

    Professionalism. My sales rep is a rock star, and I value both his technical expertise and his knowledge of your product line.

    -Alan R. (N. Chelmsford,MA)

  • FAST Shipping! Call these Folks they have all the answers to your part installation.

    -Bill M. (Boydton,VA)

    Great customer service, very knowledgeable staff. Everyone I have worked with are Land Rover owners- which is a big help for knowing the vehicles.

    You always have the parts I need at a great price and everyone Ive ever spoken to has a great knowledge of all Land Rovers

    -Keith B. (Blue Ridge,VA)

    Professionalism. My sales rep is a rock star, and I value both his technical expertise and his knowledge of your product line.

    -Alan R. (N. Chelmsford,MA)

  • You always have the parts I need at a great price and everyone Ive ever spoken to has a great knowledge of all Land Rovers

    -Keith B. (Blue Ridge,VA)

  • Professionalism. My sales rep is a rock star, and I value both his technical expertise and his knowledge of your product line.

    -Alan R. (N. Chelmsford,MA)

SIGN UP for Exclusive Offers and Latest Deals

Questions? Call 1-800-533-2210 or Email Your Question

Ask a Question

Thank You!

Your message was successfully sent to Atlantic British!

Our Customer Service Team will address your request shortly.

How Can We Help You?

Please fill out the form and a Rover Parts Specialist will email you back shortly

Notify me when item number is back in stock!

Select Vehicle Select Your Vehicle

To ensure parts fit your vehicle, please select your rover below.



Get 10% Off Your First Purchase!*

Become Part Of The Atlantic British Family!

Sign up now for email product specials and news from Atlantic British and RoverParts.com!

*10% Off Discount Only Available To New Subscribers

Take 10% Off

Your First Purchase

When you subscribe to our email newsletter, ROVERLOG

ROVERLOG features:
Timely Rover news
Rover interest stories
Sent every two weeks
Check out a sample issue HERE.

*Discount offered to 1st-time email subscribers only and other restrictions apply.

Take 10% OFF

Your First Purchase*
when you subscribe to our email list

*Discount offered to 1st-time email subscribers and other restrictions apply.