Mini-Series “4×4 Variety” – Range Rover

Range Rover

If you look at the monotonous mass of jacked-up, interchangeable vehicles in 4×4 guise on today’s roads, you might think they all originate from the same ideal. However, the approaches of the historical models, if you will, are fundamentally different, even if the goal of Willys MB, Range Rover and Land Cruiser was always to get well through rough terrain.

RANGE ROVER – THE BRITISH LAND LORD

Right up to today’s political situation, the British do not seem to be entirely comfortable with being dependent on other nations and adopting their automotive tastes. This led to the first Land Rover in the off-road segment. A veritable roughneck, with which one can easily get through the countryside and the Highlands. But it could be a bit more British, as the aristocracy would also like to have domestic luxury on four wheels. So, in parallel to the further development of the car that was later to become the Defender, Rover was also working on a more comfortable model that would allow even the Queen to come to Balmoral Castle with dignity.

THE RANGE ROVER HAD COIL SPRINGS, DISC BRAKES AND PERMANENT ALL-WHEEL DRIVE.  

It took until 17 June 1970 for the first Range Rover to be unveiled. The innovations were not just a little comfort and styling elements inside and out, they simply rethought the off-roader completely. It was, so to speak, the harbinger of current SUVs, combining comfortable, speedy travel with extreme off-road capability. Coil springs, disc brakes and permanent four-wheel drive made their way into the British 4×4 class. But above all, Rover’s 3.5 litre V8 engine provided a completely new approach. The high weight, the high centre of gravity as well as the narrow track and the soft suspension set narrow physical limits for the Range Rover “Classic”, as it was later called in distinction to other models.

Range Rover

RANGE ROVER – AN OFF-ROAD LEGEND WITH TEETHING TROUBLES

The V8 can’t prevent the battleship from not really moving forward. But it’s also better that way with the driving characteristics and daring manoeuvres, you don’t need Prince Philip to figure that out. But for the sporty side, there are plenty of other alternatives on the island. The Range Rover’s core competencies lie off the beaten track, without neglecting the comfortable ride on paved roads. The first Range Rover was a three-door compromise between comfort and practicality. It was not until the early 1980s that Land Rover felt able to build a five-door model. A first advance copy was sent to Vogue for a photo shoot. From then on, the luxurious examples were given the name of the fashion magazine in the title. Until 1996, the Range Rover was built in Solihull, and recently Jaguar Land Rover even resurrected examples in the Reborn programme. Even more than with the other off-roaders, it is worth taking a close look at the substance before buying a “Classic”. Quite a few former Range drivers still rave about the “king of the road” feeling of the “Classic”, but better not talk to them about what they paid over time for rust damage to the moderately well-built car. And it’s also better to keep quiet about the tiresome subject of fuel consumption.

Pictures: Jaguar Land Rover Ltd.

Author: Lennart Klein

Lennart Klein ist Redakteur beim Classic Trader Magazin. Seine Begeisterung gilt zwei- und vierrädrigen Klassikern gleichermaßen. Traum-Klassiker: Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior & Mercedes-Benz 600.

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