Automakers tend to celebrate the big anniversaries of particular vehicles by introducing a limited edition.
Land Rover, which is famous for its off-road vehicles, has reason to celebrate. This time it is an off-road specialist Range Rover. What is the history of this charismatic “quinquagenarian”?
The First Years
The idea to create a car that would drive on unpaved and ordinary roads was born in 1951. The creators had waited for the decision to address this topic until 1967 when a prototype Range Rover was created. Completed two years later, the designers laboriously named the model Velar (the Italian word velare means mystery or delusion). The first generation from 1970 had even become one of the exhibits in the Louvre Museum in Paris – as a model of industrial design. The three-door body was spacious, elegant and the utility features were enhanced by all-wheel drive. Range Rover vehicles were successfully presented in 1972 on a British trans-American expedition from Alaska to the southern part of Argentina. However, the interesting fact remains that the official sales representation in the United States dates back to 1987, although the vehicles had already been”on the gray market”. The turning points were 1981 (five-door version), 1982 (automatic transmission), and 1986 (diesel engine).
The Range Rover became the first 4×4 vehicle in the world to receive an anti-lock braking system. Prior to the launch of the second generation, electronic traction control and air suspension were used. In 1994, the first generation was renamed the Range Rover Classic when the second one arrived. The successor was given the designation P38a, according to the number of the production building in the town of Solihull.
The innovation was a typical five-door vehicle, which had an iconic silhouette, monocoque construction, more luxurious design, and round headlights replaced the square ones. The interior welcomed higher luxury together with a height-adjustable suspension, 2.5-liter diesel engines were added and petrol versions 3.9 V8 and 4.6 V8 became more powerful.
The luxurious character of Range Rover vehicles was also confirmed by the third generation (2001). The shape of the vehicle was inspired by the sloping hull of the Italian Riva speedboats. For the first time, a self-supporting body construction came into the game, and since 2010 the vehicles have had a multi-camera system, LED lights, a sunroof, or a universal system for opening garage doors.
The fourth generation (2012) also entered a high level of luxury and technical maturity, the vehicle had the Adaptive Dynamics system, its height increased and it was more spacious. Thanks to the aluminum construction, the weight has been reduced by more than 300 kilograms compared to its predecessor. In 2013, the hybrid version came next, later (in 2017) the Range Rover came up with an improved hybrid (2-liter engine and 85 kW electric motor) with greater fuel savings.
Limited edition with the distinctive name Fifty is based on the luxurious Autobiography equipment, modifications are made by the Special Vehicles Operations division. The Range Rover Fifty offers the basic paint colors Rosello Red, Santorini Black, Aruba Silver, and Carpathian Gray. And what’s more: first-generation colors will be available in limited quantities: Tuscan Blue, Bahama Gold, and Davos White.
Customers can choose between standard and long versions, as well as petrol, diesel, and plug-in hybrid propulsion. This vehicle is guaranteed to become a collector’s item.
Text: Peter Stano, photo: Land Rover