Landrover

Landrover

Heritage

About Land Rover

RANGE ROVER 40TH ANNIVERSARY

There have been three generations of Range Rover. The original, now known as the Classic, went on sale in 1970 and continued in production, with numerous upgrades and a multiplicity of variants, for just over 25 years.

The second-generation vehicle, known as the P38a, went on sale in 1994 and was replaced in 2001 by the current model. The continuing success of the Range Rover ensured that other premium makers jumped into the booming luxury SUV market. The latest version has enjoyed higher annual sales than any previous models and continues to be popular around the world. Sold around the world, from London to Los Angeles, Sydney to Shanghai, Turin to Tokyo, the Range Rover remains the ultimate choice for the luxury SUV customer.

"The Range Rover is really four vehicles in one," says managing director Phil Popham. "It's a seven-days-a-week luxury motor car; a leisure vehicle that will range far and wide on the highways and noways of the world; a high performance car for long distance travel; and a working cross-country vehicle."

From princes to politicians, from rock gods to rock climbers, from footballers to farmers, the Range Rover has always appealed to a diverse group of customers.

A second model line, the Range Rover Sport, was launched in 2005, aimed at more sports-oriented driver-focused customers. It has been a great success, and in 2007 was Land Rover's biggest selling vehicle worldwide.

Later this year, a further member of the Range Rover family will be added, taking the portfolio to three model lines. The new vehicle will be smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient, tying in perfectly with the Range Rover brand's commitment to environmental sustainability. Yet it will be no less premium, no less luxurious, and no less special than the other Range Rover models.

 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

 1972

The Range Rover is the first vehicle to cross the Darien Gap on a British Army Trans-America expedition

 1974

Range Rover completes west to east Sahara desert expedition – 7,500 miles in 100 days

 1977

A modified Range Rover wins the 4x4 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 4x4 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 4x4 to be fitted with electronic traction control (ETC)

 1992

Long-wheelbase LSE (known as County LWB in the US) launched

 1992

Automatic electronic air suspension introduced, a world first for a 4x4

 1994

Second-generation (P38a) Range Rover goes on sale

 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

All-New Range Rover (L322) 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 LR-V8 5.0 and 5.0 supercharged petrol engines and technology updates

 2010

Range Rover celebrates its 40th anniversary

 2010

All-New compact Range Rover to be revealed at Paris Motor Show

HISTORY IN DETAIL

History In Detail

"The idea was to combine the comfort and on-road ability of a Rover saloon with the off-road ability of a Land Rover. Nobody was doing it." Charles Spencer 'Spen' King – the father of the Range Rover.

The inspiration came from the Rover car company's engineering chief for new vehicle projects. Charles Spencer 'Spen' King worked mostly on Rover cars, not on Land Rover (at the time, Rover's 4x4 wing). Yet Land Rover was in his blood. His uncles were the Wilks brothers – Spencer and Maurice – who jointly founded Land Rover in 1948.

"The idea was to combine the comfort and on-road ability of a Rover saloon with the off-road ability of a Land Rover," says King. "Nobody was doing it at the time. It seemed worth a try and Land Rover needed a new product."

Design

Design

'It’s not difficult to see why it was so successful. Like the current version, the original Range Rover is such a simple and iconic shape'

The shape of a Range Rover is instantly recognisable. "You can describe a Range Rover with three or four lines on a piece of paper," says former design director Geoff Upex, responsible for the current model. "A child could draw the basic shape, so it's instantly recognisable in the same way as a Mini or a Porsche 911 or a Volkswagen Beetle.

Technology

Technology

'We thought it was time to improve comfort, versatility and performance'

The key quality that gave the Range Rover its luxury road car feel, and its awesome off-road ability, was the long travel coil springs. No other 4x4 had them although a few large American off-roaders had front coils.

"I always thought a Land Rover could be a lot better," says Spen King. "We thought it was time to improve comfort, versatility and performance." The new suspension was a key part of that improvement.

Adventure

Adventure

'To the local people who knew about the Darien Gap our scheme was complete madness, but they were too polite to say'

Conscious that a premium 4x4 may be regarded as a 'soft roader', Land Rover's promotional team soon set about an agenda to prove the car's off-road credentials.

Like its little brother, the Land Rover, the Range Rover was soon crossing deserts, climbing mountains, wading rivers and traversing swamps. That luxury touch in no way diminished the car's adventurous spirit.

Special Editions

Special Editions

'The In Vogue hinted at the need for a more luxurious Range Rover, while the CSK alluded to a sportier future'

The amazing versatility of the Range Rover meant there have been many extraordinary 'special edition' models, all aiming for a niche in the broad Range Rover customer base. Early specials were developed by outside companies and reflected Land Rover's slowness to develop its best seller (there were few major factory changes through the '70s). So nimble minded specialists – such as Switzerland's Monteverdi – often got in there first.

Owners

Owners

From princes to politicians, from rock gods to rock climbers, from footballers to fashion models, the Range Rover has always appealed to celebrity owners. They have included:

Jaguar Land Rover Limited: Registered Office: Abbey Road, Whitley, Coventry CV3 4LF Registered in England No: 1672070