Fifty Years of Range Rover
Celebrating 50 years of a motoring icon
In 1970, the first generation Range Rover was unveiled and many of them, were soon seen all over the world. Charles Spencer King or Spen King, Gordon Bashford and David Bache were the designers responsible for creating the first Range Rover. The original Land Rover, from 22 years prior was designed by engineers, which is why it worked as a very utilitarian vehicle. The Range Rover was Land Rover's first genuine step into automotive luxury.
While now it may seem rather prehistoric and lacking in any luxurious elements, in 1970 this was considered to be a very classy car. The original Range Rover later coined the 'Classic' was in production for 26 years, the longest for any Range Rover
The Range Rover was a smash hit, it marked a turning point in the history of Land Rover. From now on, luxury and comfort were now considered when building a model (except the Defender, for now at least).
In 1994, two years before production ended on the 'Classic', a replacement Range Rover was released. The second generation model or the P38A, didn't quite capture the public's imagination in the way its predecessor did. Range Rovers were generally unreliable at the best of times, but for some reason the P38A is regarded as especially inconsistent and unreliable, even by the most passionate of Land Rover enthusiasts.
The P38A didn't last anywhere near as long as the Classic and production ended in 2002, after only seven years. The P38 was replaced by the far more modern and *mostly* more reliable L322.
The L322 was much larger than any of the previous Range Rovers and very much cemented the brand's place as byword for off-road luxury cars. The L322 was also the first modern Range Rover, with a variety of screens and buttons at the drivers' disposal.
It's aged surprisingly well...
In 2005, the first expansion into the Range Rover 'family' began with the release of the Range Rover Sport. It wasn't especially sporty due to its weight and rather bulky and unaerodynamic design, it was based on the body of the Discovery so it wasn't really a proper Range Rover either.
That aside, it's a decent car. It's one of the weakest of the entire Land Rover range but that doesn't make it a bad car, it's just a tad 'meh'
In 2011, a groundbreaking new type of Range Rover was released. In 2008, the LRX concept got everyone in the motoring world talking and by 2011, Land Rover had only gone and made the thing. It was the first generation Range Rover Evoque and it set the world alight, perhaps triggering the start of this SUV obsession.
The Evoque quickly became one of the most successful cars Land Rover had ever produced, any doubts about Tata Motors' handling of the Land Rover brand were quickly swept aside. The Evoque did split opinion, many are still grumbling about it today. Like the original Range Rover, it totally changed Land Rover's priorities. From here on out, future Land Rovers started to take design cues from the first generation Evoque.
By 2012, the L322 was starting to look dated. So in came in the L405. It has an all aluminium chassis, massively reducing the weight. The car was also far more aerodynamic than any previous Range Rover*, the bulky front had been smoothed out. Luxury had once again been taken up a notch and the car was a huge success particularly in China. Over forty years since the first Range Rover was released, the brand was reaching new heights.
Great looking car, if only the fifth generation Discovery looked as good...
In 2013, another new Range Rover was released. This time it was a Range Rover Sport, the second generation model and this one was actually sporty. It was much lighter than its forgettable predecessor and was a completely new design, nothing was pinched from a Discovery to make it. The Sport was now a genuine competitor to the Porsche Cayenne.
After a sea of change, the rate of all new Range Rovers slowed down. Land Rover was now switching its attention over to Discovery and eventually, Defender. But there were still new things in store for Range Rover, what was now in effect, a sub-brand of Land Rover.
In 2017, the Velar was unveiled and soon after, available to buy. The design was so utterly modern in every sense of the word, it made the then current Evoque look like a fossil. Like any previous 'new' Rangey before it, the Velar was a huge hit and in many people's eyes, improved upon the designs flaws found in the Evoque.
Speaking of the Evoque, in 2018 a new second generation model was unveiled. It's a subtle redesign, in my opinion the redesign is most obvious on the rear. The current Evoque is a fantastically modern car, though with the addition of the Velar, I do sometimes wonder what the point of the Evoque actually is.
The main Range Rover is getting on a bit and a fifth generation model is inevitable. At time of writing, news is practically non-existent but rumours and eventually official stuff will start to arrive on our DriveTribe news feeds.
So after fifty years on our roads, Range Rover has evolved and expanded whilst staying true to what it is. Here's to another fifty years!