Range Rover turns 45 years old
The iconic Range Rover turns 45 today. Now a brand more than an individual vehicle it embodies go-anywhere luxury.
CAR MANUFACTURERS love to use the word ‘iconic’ but one of the few vehicles that description truly applies to is the timeless Range Rover. It has been in production since 1970 when it revolutionised the world with coil springs, constant 4WD, a powerful V8 engine and the interior of a luxury car with the go-anywhere ability of the Land Rover.
The formula has been copied by pretty much every other manufacturer, but somehow the Range Rover remains, literally, the benchmark for top-end 4X4s. Read any review and you’ll see.
Can you think of another car that has not only won the Outback Challenge but is actually an art exhibition in a Paris Musem? Imagine a GQ Patrol as art? Or a BMW on a winch challenge?
Here’s all four generations:
Today, “Range Rover” is actually a product line within the Land Rover brand, covering Evoque, Range Rover Sport and the Range Rover. Here they are:
The Darien Gap crossing made the Range Rover even more famous, and then the Camel Trophy further burnished the vehicle’s reputation. It became kind of a 100m water resistant watch – you’ll never dive that deep, but you like to wear something that can do it.
The British royal family has a long tradition of taking the angle grinder to Range Rovers and standing up in the back.
Australians have a long tradition of winching Range Rovers. Here is veteran competitor Mike Smith, winner of many, many different offroad challenge events in his blue Rangie, SMITHI.
Land Rover is very, very careful never to compromose the Range Rover’s offroad ability. Here’s a 2012 V8-supercharged model on test. $260,000 worth of luxury car with a locking rear differential and 0-100 times quicker than many sports cars!
Brief history of the Range Rover
1966 Work began on the first Range Rover prototype, known as the ‘100-inch station wagon’
1970 The original two-door Range Rover – known as the Classic – goes on sale
1971 Range Rover receives the RAC Dewar award for outstanding technical achievement
1974 Range Rover completes west to east Sahara desert expedition – 7,500 miles in 100 days
1977 A modified Range Rover wins the 4×4 class in the London-Sydney Marathon, a gruelling 30,000 km (18,750 miles) event and the longest ever speed-based car rally
1979 A specially modified Range Rover wins the first Paris-Dakar rally (a Range Rover wins again in 1981)
1981 First production four-door Range Rover appears along with the first factory produced limited-edition Range Rover – the ‘In Vogue’
1982 Automatic transmission becomes available on Range Rover
1983 Range Rover 5-speed manual gearbox is introduced
1985 The diesel-powered Range Rover ‘Bullet’ breaks 27 speed records, including a diesel record for averaging more than 100mph for 24 hours
1987 Range Rover launched in North America
1989 Range Rover is the world’s first 4×4 to be fitted with ABS anti-lock brakes
1990 Limited Edition CSK – named after founder Charles Spencer King – is launched as a sportier Range Rover
1992 Range Rover Classic is the world’s first 4×4 to be fitted with Electronic Traction Control
1992 Long-wheelbase LSE (known as County LWB in the US) launched
1992 Automatic electronic air suspension introduced, a world first for a 4×4
1994 Second-generation (P38a) Range Rover launched
1996 Range Rover Classic bows out after total production of 317,615 units
1999 Limited Edition Range Rover Linley appears at London Motor Show
2001 Third-generation (L322) Range Rover launched
2002 Half-millionth Range Rover produced at the Solihull plant
2005 Second model line – the Range Rover Sport – launched
2006 Terrain Response and TDV8 diesel introduced
2009 Range Rover features all-new 5.0-litre V8 and 5.0-litre supercharged petrol engines
2010 Range Rover celebrates its 40th anniversary,
2011 Third model line – the Range Rover Evoque – goes on sale
2012 Fourth-generation (L405) Range Rover launched – the world’s first all-aluminium SUV
2013 Long-wheelbase Autobiography Black Edition unveiled at the Los Angeles Motor Show
2014 Long-wheelbase Range Rover Hybrid makes its world debut in China
2015 Range Rover SV Autobiography launched at New York International Auto Show. 6,000,000th Land Rover produced is a Range Rover LWB SE Vogue destined for China. Autobiography designation used to identify flagship models celebrates 21st anniversary