48 years of Range Rover: the evolution of the world’s most luxurious SUV

19 January, 2017

When talking luxurious, refined, well-engineered, and pioneering designs, there is probably one SUV that springs to mind … Range Rover. 

Since its inception in 1969 (as a prototype), the brand has evolved into one of the world’s most elegant and sophisticated SUVs, with any number of who’s who celebrities driving one, and it has since cracked more than one million units sold (1.7 million to date, to be exact).

Forty eight years on and it’s hard to sum up the brand’s heritage in a simple two-minute space, but it was long enough for Range Rover to celebrate this motoring icon through a specially commissioned animation — created to mark key dates in history for the legendary SUV.

You can see that today’s incarnations retain many of the original design hallmarks established way back when in 1970. These include its ‘floating’ roof design, distinctive clamshell bonnet, continuous belt line, and practical split tailgate.

1969 Range Rover Prototype (Velar)
1970 Range Rover Classic (two-door)
1973 Range Rover Classic (Suffix C)
1981 Range Rover Classic (four-door)
1994 Second-generation Range Rover (P38a)
2001 Third-generation Range Rover
2012 Fourth-generation Range Rover
2014 Fourth-generation Range Rover Long Wheelbase
2015 Range Rover SVAutobiography
2016 Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.

Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.