50 years of Range Rover

By: Unique Cars magazine

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Happy 50th anniversary Range Rover


Range Rover turns 50

Turning 50 this year is the Range Rover, the vehicle that kicked off the luxury SUV segment that is so popular today.

Shortly after its launch, the Musée du Louvre in Paris exhibited a Range Rover as an "exemplary work of industrial design".

Available only as a two door, the Rangie as it is known was quite up-market compared to the previous Land Rover offerings but in reality it was still quite basic with vinyl seats, removeable seat cushions, no carpets and a plastic dash that could all be washed with a hose. Power steering, carpeted floors, aircon and other creature comforts came years later.


However, the Rangie cemented its place as the consummate all-rounder that could easily handle traversing creeks and rivers and muddy farms during the day and then turn up to an opening night at the theatre. It looked equally at home at both.

It was a body-on-frame design with a box section ladder chassis and utilised coil springs, permanent four-wheel drive and four-wheel disc brakes. The Range Rover was originally powered by various Rover V8 engines and diesel engines.

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Jaguar-Rover-Australia began assembly of the Range Rover from CKD kits at its Enfield plant in New South Wales in 1979, but continuous government tariff increases on parts led to Australian assembly being discontinued in 1983 as it was no longer economically viable.

One of the first significant changes came in 1981, with the introduction of a four-door body.

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Shortly after, twin thermo fan technology was introduced to reduce the significant overheating problems 1970s models experienced in Australia.

The Range Rover with chassis number 1 was a green model with the registration YVB 151H, and is now on exhibition at Huddersfield Land Rover Centre, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.


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