The Land-Rover from Hamburg-Harburg
Without question the Land-Rover, which was built between 1953 and 1959 in very modified form in Bostelbek, can be put in he
gallery of Tempo vehicles with the lowest output.
The German Federal Border Guard, the so called 'Bundesgrenzschutz' (BGS), strongly required 250 reliable, cross-country
vehicles, which should be able to transport a least six persons. For this a test
was carried out with seven Mercedes Unimog and seven Land-Rover (80" export model). The test went satisfactory – yet,
Rover-Solihull gratefully turned the plan down, because the factory was already working to capacity for other markets.
Therefore, the BGS had to look for another car manufacture. Since the Tempo factory enjoyed a high reputation as a producer of
light lorries and in so far as the very successful Tempo G 1200, a pre-war cross-country vehicle, was not forgotten, at the
end of 1952 the location Radeland 52 in Bostelbek became the first place for the supply department of the BGS.
A complete new construction seemed to be much to costly for Vidal – especially with regard to the limited time schedule of
the BGS. Yet, the firm could still live off the good contacts established in England years ago, when Vidal was in the coal
merchant's business. Consequently, Land Rover Company was consulted directly in the beginning of 1953 and Vidal offered to
manufacture the vehicle under licence in Germany. The British agreed and so green light was given for the small series out
of German production.
Between April 1953 and August 1953 one hundred vehicles were assembled (some sources speak of 178 vehicles; unfortunately,
exact data is missing). As the registered vehicles prove, the Land-Rover were obtained as LHD export versions (see below, VIN
), so all conjecture concerning CKD kits can be filed away. Apart from the bonnet, the bulkhead and the grill, the body was
completely manufactured by Herbert Vidal + Sohn in Harbug and differs considerably from the British original, because all
criteria of the BGS inivitation has to be fulfilled.
Indeed, the differences between the original and the Tempo Land-Rover are enormous: The whole body was manufactured out of
sheet-steel, while the bottoms of the door and the rear reach the bottom edge of the windscreen. In the back two benches for
two persons each were placed across the driving direction; in the front the centre seat was missing. The front wings got
toolboxes, which opened from the front; a third box was fastened on the bonnet; the spare wheel was fixed at the back of the
vehicle. Changed door handles, bumperettes at the back, combination tail lights and a folding hood complete the list of
modifications. Most of the Tempo Land-Rover received a heating – an extra, that was by no means a matter of course at that
time. According to the requirements of the BGS, a flashing blue light, radio equipment, a spill and two bugles, which were
placed below the front lights, were installed directly in the factory. For this equipment a second dashboard was placed above
the standard one.
Besides the one hundred (or 178) vehicles of this first series for the BGS Vidal also planned the sale to private persons.
Consequently, the Tempo Land-Rover was advertised intensively. Yet, today it is not ascertainable, how many vehicles actually
were sold to private individuals in the end.
In autumn 1953 the standard model was modified in England and the new 86" wheelbase now was a little longer. Vidal took the
chance to alter a lot of details.
Like the English original, the spare wheel moved on the bonnet, where the former box was
took away. The navigation lights went from the top of the front boxes to the bottom of the wings, now combined with newly
introduced winkers. The extra dashboard became more costly and was placed between the standard dashboard in the centre and
the steering column.
Another 150 specimen of this second series were built.
After the founding of the West German armed forces in 1956, the so called 'Bundeswehr' integrated about 10.000 fully equipped
BGS-officers as soldiers. Part of the equipment were approximately one hundred of the best Tempo Land-Rover, which become
property of the Bundeswehr.
In 1959 all attempts to get follow-up orders by the BGS were in vain. Especially the two Series II Tempo Land-Rover with 88"
wheelbase give grounds for that assumption. And again a LHD export model provides the basis for the development (see
After Hanomag participated in the Tempo factory, production was given up, because the sale of the vehicle on the civilian
market could not have been realised.
Since the mid-1960s the BGS Tempos were taken out of service and sold by the VEBEG.
From that time the "BGS Series IIA" was manufactured directly in Solihull, where in the meantime production capacities had
The Tempo Land-Rover was a shooting star at the Tempo horizon and today ranks as one of the scarce vehicles built by Vidal &
Stephan Bussang/Dirk Rüttgers
(Source: Roverblatt 9/10.96, "Mit Tempo
durch die Zeit")