If there’s any vehicle that is truly believed to be in an entirely different class and that is the current Range Rover. Its all-round capability and out-of-the-box luxury has not been quite matched by the popular rivals like those from BMW, Audi or Mercedes and perhaps even the newest generation of supercar-SUVs do not achieve the same status.
It wasn’t always this way however, because the first sales concept to sell The Range Rover was really a slightly more civilized Series Land Rover for the well-off farmer. It came with a floor that could be hosed and seats made of vinyl after all. We take look at how the initial classless icon morphed to become an elite off-road limousine.
Range Rover concept and development
Range Rover was born. Range Rover had its genesis in the early 1950s . Rover was concerned that the success of the rugged and reliable Series Land Rover, introduced in 1948 (the company was founded in 1948 in 1948 by two brothers Maurice Wilks and Spencer Wilks), was likely to last only a few years and sought to expand its appeal. The first model was its eight-inch Station Wagon of 1949, was constructed by coachbuilder Tickford and was too costly and only a few hundred units sold.
Then in 1951 Rover determined to recreate the rugged character that was characteristic of Series cars, while using the two-wheel-drive P4 chassis. A high-riding estate vehicle with extended travel suspension, and only a little off-road capability (but not so much as its design suggested) You may recognize this as the basis for every single crossover. The vehicle was in constant design for several years that it was replaced with another prototype in the series and was set to be released in the year 1960. However, during those less-stylized times, the Road Rover failed to persuade Rover’s management, and was put on hold in the year 1958.
In the space of just less than a decade later and Rover conscious of the success of automobiles like the Ford Bronco and the International Harvester Scout, and Jeep Wagoneer in the US decided that the moment was right to revive the concept of a not as like a tractor Land Rover model. Then in 1966 Rover Engineers Charles Spencer King and Gordon Bashford started to develop an idea for the Range Rover formula. Although they were Rover’s brand new vehicle’s engineering chief, King was Land Rover by and large.
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A distinct combination of comfort and style
Based on King, “The idea was to mix the comfort and capability of the Rover saloon and the off-road capabilities of the Land Rover. It was not a popular idea.”
It was intended to be all-coil sprung with a long-travel to provide the road’s comfort and wheel articulation, and was the first vehicle to provide permanent four-wheel drive as it was needed to improve the nearly 20 years old Series Land Rover. The required power was supplied by a light, all-alloy 3.5-litre V8 engine licensed from General Motors which, as an aside, was the very first ever production engine that was turbocharged in 1962’s Oldsmobile Turbo Jetfire. It was built based upon that of the Series Land Rover with a steel box frame , which was then hung by aluminum panels.
David Bache, designer of the stylish Rover P6 saloon, was given the responsibility of creating the car. The initial sketches and models reveal something like an Marina however, fortunately, the perfect accident happened. Bashford as well as King had created simplestraight-edged, straight-edged boards to cover the mechanical components for testing. Upon seeing these, the Rover management demanded that Bache just improve the efforts of two engineers.
Rover being a an integral part of the British Leyland behemoth in 1966 it wasn’t until the next year that the plan was approved and 10 prototypes were rolled out on the roads, branded with the name ‘Velar’ in honour of the Italian “Velare” meaning to cover or cover. The car was internally called the station wagon with 100 inches as reference to the older car.
Range Rover Classic – 1970-1996
After a few years of testing in Europe in Europe and North Africa, the ‘Range Rover’, designed by the fashion designer Tony Poole – was revealed to the public on June 17, 1970 in Cornwall and was able to undergo tests off the road at nearby mines for tin at St. Austell. In its initial review, The Autocar noted: “Eagerly eagerly awaited, the brand Range Rover has arrived. Range Rover has fulfilled and even exceeded the expectations that were set in the market.”
The off-road capabilities of the car were then tested to their limits during the Range Rover British Trans-Americas Expedition. In the months of December and August 1971,, a team of soldiers of the 17th and 21st Lancers with Snell, the famous explorer John Blashford Snell, campaigned two left-hand drive Ranger Rovers from Anchorage, Alaska from Alaska, all the way until Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. With winches, security roof racks, and more powerful tyres, the vehicles were unmodified and traversed the famous Darien Gap, 250 miles of what was believed as impassable swamp and rain forest located in between Colombia in the south and Panama. The Range Rover also won the first Dakar Rally in 1979 and the following year in 1981.
The car was a quick success, and was even transferred to their original owners at a profit, due to the huge demand. There was no luxurious leather cocoon, but. The floors were aligned with the sills in order to allow dirt and sand to be cleaned out and then covered with mats of rubber which could be cleaned. The dash was made of plastic, the seats were velour, and also back number plates were hinged so that it could be visible even when the tailgate was opened, too.
It was a huge success with the well-off that its utilitarian trims were replaced by subtler, more luxurious features like carpeted floors. Initial feedback was from the top, which led to the space in the boot being cleaned and the tools being covered up after there was a concern by the Palace that it could hurt the corgi…
The status of the Range Rover as a key component of the industry was summed up in 1974, in What Car which stated: “One thinks that it has been brought to a point in which no country residence worth its salt has the Range Rover.” The next year, Motor stated: “It is the only vehicle that’s equally at its best with Park Lane, the Sahara or as well as the Darien Gap, a cart track, or a dug field.”
Evidently the pick of upper-class families, rather than farmers and farmers, the Range Rover surprisingly didn’t gain the additional practicality with a new set doors until 1981, the year that an “In Vogue” limited edition was introduced in partnership with the world-renowned fashion magazine. The introduction of an automatic transmission boosted the appeal of the car that year and by the mid-point of the decade, a diesel engine was introduced in the very first version. To counter the critics of its performance and improvement, the DERV-powered “Bullet” Range Rover was used to record 27 speed records for diesel engines which included one that was averaging more than 100mph over the course of 24 hours.
A rise in refinement was followed with more powerful engines, wood and leather-trimmed interiors, as well as luxury features. This in the latter half of the 1980s included windows, electric seats and sunroofs. Then, in the next decade, a larger wheelbase model that was air suspension that was electronically controlled went on sale , introducing some of the features that would become key of the replacement. It was launched in 1994, but the original model, which is now rebranded “Range Rover Classic” was in production for an additional two years and would be produced in a amount of 317.615 units.
Range Rover P38A – 1994-2001
Elegant, classy , and ever more luxurious, even after 25 years in production and having created a new class of vehicle and a successor to that first-generation Range Rover would be an incredibly tough to follow. The Land Rover Discovery in the process of being developed and the brand next Range Rover, codenamed ’38A which is the name of the building that the team working on it the building, was expected to be more expensive to become a truly luxurious vehicle , yet maintaining the ruggedness that was the key to its success.
The original was instantly recognized as a work of art – it was featured at the Louvre in the year 1970 as an outstanding instance of industrial design and the Land Rover’s styling director George Thomson was aware that it would be an extremely difficult problem for the second album: “Recreating a classic like the Range Rover is a great problem, but not an simple one… We needed to create a familiar but contemporary style that would please existing customers as well as draw new car enthusiasts.”
Alongside Thomson’s team, the project was offered to big design houses including Bertone, Pininfarina, Italdesign and the British design duo of John Hefferman and Ken Greenley (who was later to create SsangYong Musso) SsangYong Musso) all submitting ideas. It was ultimately the designs from the company and Bertone work that were crafted into fully-sized clay models to be used in customer clinics. One of them located in France that proved to be vital when a member the crowd who was taking part protested about it appeared that the Bertone Range Rover had ‘lost its Wellington boots’.
Pegasus takes flight
Thomson’s design, codenamed Pegasus The design was slightly altered with what were believed to be vital Range Rover styling cues taken from the original – a clamshell bonnet, front-corner catellations, horizontal feature lines running along the sides and a roof that floated above black pillars and the resultant ‘P38A’ was approved for production.
Stronger and more robust than the previous model to ensure greater safety and improved refined, the new Generation Range Rover was bigger and heavier, but also a more aerodynamic than the predecessor. Although the petrol engines V8 that were reworked to offer 4.0-litre or 4.6-litre capacity, adequate for the job but a stronger and more refined diesel engine was required which led to the program director John Hall to BMW to reach an agreement on the use of their straight-six turbodiesel.
After having sold Land Rover the rights to utilize their engine BMW quickly reacted and purchased its Rover Group, of which Land Rover was then a part. This made that 1994 P38A the first vehicle to be released under new ownership. In addition to having air suspension as well as air suspension, the brand P38A was the first to be equipped with air suspension. Range Rover also included a variety of innovative technology – it is the very first Land Rover product to be provided with satellite navigation, or television systems, for example The company also pushed to set the bar higher in terms of luxury and high-end.
Its P38A is the car that launched it’s Autobiography feature available to Range Rover buyers, offering customized, hand-finished, interior and trim colours as well as exterior paint options. In 1998, the Vogue SE trim was launched and pushed the Production Range Rover above the £50,000 price for the first time. Its popularity made it a definite step forward for the vehicle as a luxurious iconic, all-weather vehicle.
Under the leadership under the direction of Wolfgang Reitzle, there were plans to take to move the Range Rover still further up the ladder of luxury, doubling the cost for its predecessor, the Vogue SE. To achieve this in the first place, there was a plan to incorporate the 5.4-litre V12 from the BMW 7 Series was to be tucked underneath the bonnet, resulting in the £100,000.00 Ranger Rover as well as the very initial V12 powered off-roader after the Lamborghini LM002 “Rambo Lambo”. The increased cylinder count required an additional six inches to the front of the car. Despite the fact that two prototypes running were constructed with a fresh design however, it was believed that it could compromise the car’s off-road capability to significantly.
In reality, the fact is that it actually Reitzle who was the one responsible for the relatively brief production lifespan, and he ordered work to begin developing its replacement by 1995. The legend goes that the blindfolded man sat in the P38A and conducted a ‘touch test’ on the inside materials to determine their strength, quality and durability. He came up with 70 distinct areas that needed improvement. The result was that Reitzle realising the significance in its Range Rover to the company and its customers, arranged for a midlife refresh and put development of the next generation Discovery on hold and prioritised the replacement of the P38A with the L322.
Range Rover L322 2001-2012
A brand new Range Rover for a new millennium. The team that worked on it, led by design director Geoff Upex and lead designer Don Wyatt – was told to start with a clean design instead of basing the vehicle on the P38A’s superannuated underpinnings.
In addition to the team in-house, BMW and Design Research Associates (the company that was founded with Roy Axe who had succeeded David Bache at Rover) also submitted ideas for their BMW as well as Rover boards to review. Initial sketches of 12 for the project L30 which was named based on Rover Group conventions – were reduced to just four full-size clay model in the year 1997. two of them from Land Rover and two from BMW.
It was the idea developed by creator Phil Simmons – which he claimed was in the spirit of the first-generation car and the Riva speedboat that earned the green light to be made into a production. With a nod to classic styling cues of the original generation. The final product was a lauded design success that reconstructed the simple design of the original , while bringing towards a more luxurious. Simmons became the later head designer of Ford of Europe.
Modern day manners
The L30 was envisioned as a high-end vehicle from the beginning and was therefore created and engineered with the intention of sharing elements with BMW’s flagship 7 Series range. It was also the initial Land Rover product to be made as a monocoque design which greatly improved performance and road-handling. Air suspension offered not just the most comfortable ride, but also the kind of axle articulation needed to allow it to allow the Range Rover to remain king of the hill in the world of luxury SUVs, which were now beginning to appear.
There there was no V12 however, the car was built around the BMW engine lineup, which included the 4.4-litre petrol V8 and a 2.9-litre turbodiesel straight-six underneath the clamshell bonnet that was crenelated and transmitting energy to the four wheel using an automated-only gearbox. Electronics, a major weakness of the P38A was derived directly from the BMW 5 Series and the interior, described by the famous Ford design director J Mays as ‘the best I’ve ever seen and ‘the best I have ever seen’, was inspired by plans that were developed for the Discovery replacement, which Reitzle delayed. The interior was stuffed with wood, aluminum, and leather, the controls were made to be operated with gloves to take advantage of the harsh situations Range Rover owners were capable of driving through although they seldom would.
Development, even though it was jointly carried out by teams of each Rover and BMW was conducted by teams from BMW and Rover Munich until the production stage where control was transferred to Solihull. In the meantime, BMW had sold off its Rover Group, keeping Mini as its own, and the sale of Land Rover and Jaguar to Ford with an agreement to in the supply of powertrains and other components for the newly named L322. The car was launched in the year 2000. has reestablished its position as the Range Rover as a unique product, surpassing the quality and performance both off and on road of its competitors.
The L322 was updated for the first time in 2005, which saw the BMW engine and electronic components getting replaced by wires from V8s as well as Jaguar. One of the engine was the turbocharged 4.2-litre V8 that was found in Jaguar’s Jaguar XJR saloon and it offered it the Range Rover performance to embarrass hot cars of the time which created yet another niche: the luxury performance SUV. The Ford V8 turbodiesel replaced the less powerful BMW straight-six engine in the year 2007. It was planned for the upcoming F-150 The Range Rover eventually became the only vehicle to utilize this powerful and torquey motor , which was available in 3.6-litre as well as later 4.4-litre variants.
In the same year, it was that the Range Rover received the revolutionary Terrain Response system that was introduced by its sibling Range Rover Sport model in 2007. A dial enabled the driver to choose the kind of terrain that the vehicle was traversing and the electronics could reconfigure the suspension and drivetrain to accommodate. A huge 5.0-litre Supercharged Petro engine as well as the facelift came in 2010 and lasted for two production years prior to when the new generation L405 was launched.
Range Rover L405
While the Classic was a difficult act to follow, the replacement of the L322 could be just as difficult as the car is considered to be in the same regards as the first while it having significantly moved the field in terms of style and performance. Other marques were also well-known in the premium SUV market and today, there are offerings of BMW, Audi and even Porsche that were able to compete with the L322 in the streets even though none could compete with it on rough terrain.
Land Rover and its sister company Jaguar joined together to form The JLR Group, were sold by Ford to Tata Motors in 2008 and with the backing of one of world’s biggest conglomerates, the resources were there to increase forward the Range Rover even further upmarket. It was larger than the L322 in every way, but however, the new model still shaved nearly 400kg off that of L322 through adopting aluminum construction that is the hallmark of the most recent Jaguar saloons as well as sports cars.
Return to the future
It was revealed in 2012 at the Paris Motor Show its imposing design was created by an in-house team . Its design is reflected in the clamshell bonnets, with its miniature turrets that are located along top edges of the car, horizontal sides body lines, and a floating roof. It was launched with two petrol engines (including an engine that’s supercharged (including the 5.0-litre Supercharged V8) and two diesel engines, the program to reduce weight made the L405 extremely agile in comparison to the previous model, which was aided by improved aerodynamics, significantly enhance its often alarming fuel consumption.
It is clearly a luxurious limousine in the first place, its lower weight improved the driving manners of the Range Rover and the air suspension designed to minimize body roll when cornering and increase the stability of high-speed travels. A longer wheelbase model which is more than two feet more than the Classic model – is equipped with business class seating with tables as well as a champagne chiller, and tablets with touchscreens.
Far from the hose-washable leather interiors of the first the two-door tribute of its original predecessor was originally planned for a limited production , but was canceled due to JLR measures to cut costs. Although the new model could be a snub for Charles Spencer King – who stated at the time that Range Rover was “never intended to be a status symbol, but later versions of my design appear to have been designed for this function” it is still unmatched even in the face of rivals that come from Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Lamborghini.