TIMELINE: Key dates for Jaguar and Land Rover

(Reuters) - Ford F.N agreed to sell its UK-based Jaguar and Land Rover brands to India's Tata Motors TAMO.BO for more than $2 billion, said a source familiar with the matter on Tuesday. Following is a summary of the history of the two marques:

1885 - The Rover brand starts life as a bicycle -- Starley & Sutton Co’s Rover Safety Bicycle, which replaces the unstable penny farthing bicycles of its day.

1903 - Rover starts work on its first motor car, led by designer Edmund Lewis who joined from Daimler.

1922 - Motorcyclist William Lyons forms the Swallow Sidecar Company in Blackpool, northern England, building sidecars for motorcycles.

1927 - Lyons enters car-making, crafting a two-seater body for the Austin Seven car. The Jaguar name is first used on a car in 1935, and is given to the entire company in 1945.

1947 - Maurice Wilkes, technical director for Rover Cars, starts designing a British agricultural vehicle based on American army 4x4s.

April, 1948 - The first Land Rover launches at the Amsterdam Motor Show. Production in 1948 of 8,000 doubles the year after.

1949 - the British Army puts in its first Land Rover order.

1966 - Jaguar merges with the British Motor Corporation.

1967 - Rover becomes part of Leyland Motors, which the following year merges with British Motor Corp to become British Leyland.

1970 - Land Rover launches the Range Rover, with independent suspension and a new V8 engine.

1975 - British Leyland part nationalized.

Aug, 1984 - The Conservative government privatizes Jaguar.

1988 - The Conservative government sells Rover Group to British Aerospace at a knockdown price of 150 million pounds, overlooking a rival offer from Ford.

Nov, 1989 - Ford approaches Jaguar with an offer, which eventually leads to a deal.

1994 - Germany’s BMW buys Rover Group from British Aerospace for 800 million pounds and assumes another 900 million in debt.

March, 2000 - BMW admits sale of Rover Group, dubbed “The English Patient” by German media, is one of several scenarios being looked at, after Rover losses weigh heavily on BMW’s 1999 profits.

May 9, 2000 - BMW hands Rover Cars to Britain’s Phoenix consortium, a group of British businessmen led by former Rover chief executive John Towers. Phoenix paid a nominal 10 pounds for Rover in a deal sweetened by the inclusion of a 500 million pound loan to its new owner.

May 24, 2000 - Ford buys Land Rover for $2.7 billion from BMW while Land Rover’s long-term debt, estimated at $465 million, is retained by BMW.

June 12, 2007 - Ford confirms it has hired financial advisers to advise on the possibility of selling Jaguar and Land Rover.

Jan 3, 2008 - Ford says India’s Tata Motors is the front-runner to buy Jaguar and Land Rover.

Reporting by Pete Harrison; Editing by David Holmes