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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:

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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:

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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.

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The British royal family has a long tradition of taking the angle grinder to Range Rovers and standing up in the back.

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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.

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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!

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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

 


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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper