The design for the original vehicle was started in 1947 by Maurice Wilks. Wilks, chief designer at the Rover Company, on his farm in Newborough, Anglesey, working in conjunction with his brother Spencer who was the managing director of Rover. The design may have been influenced by the Jeep and the prototype, later nicknamed Centre Steer, was built on a Jeep chassis and axles. The early choice of colour was dictated by military surplus supplies of aircraft cockpit paint, so early vehicles only came in various shades of light green; all models until recently feature sturdy box section ladder-frame chassis. Early vehicles like the Series I were field-tested at Long Bennington and designed to be field-serviced.