On The Original Range Rover…


By John Sweeney

TRUE style can come in some pretty unconventional forms. Take the original Range Rover, for example.

The David Bache penned design of 1970 appears, at first, largely simplistic in its form, yet it has something about it which merits a second look.

Throughout 1970, a Range Rover was exhibited at the Louvre, as an “outstanding piece of modern sculpture”1. The directors of the Louvre intimated that the design was such that either to add or to take anything away from it would be to its detriment.

To my eyes, it is incredible to think that the original Range Rover enjoyed a production run of some 26 years, and that a design which was current in 1970 still managed to be so in 1996.

That this was so, this author suggests, is testament to the genius of the original design, and of its designer. While the contemporary Range Rover is certainly a worthy design, I cannot help but fell that it has lost some of the elegant simplicity of its forbear.

In typical British Leyland fashion, the design was chronically underfunded throughout its lifetime, but that’s a story for another day.

So that’s the classic Range Rover, then. Unconventionally conventional.


June 29, 2009

About the Author: John Sweeney writes for Automobiles De Luxe online. A student of Management at the University of Lancaster, England, John has a propensity for buying old cars with 'character'. He has owned thirteen in six years of driving, which his friends tell him is far too many.

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  1. John,

    I myself fondly recall the Range Rover County from the 1990s. Though, I found the series one Disco to be more to my liking – even if it lacked many of the County’s amenities and the former’s abundance of rear space.

    First rate posting!


  2. Gunnar,

    Ah yes! The County was the US name for the long wheelbase version, wasn’t it? I think it was called the LSE in the UK, and that this model alone had a slightly enlarged 4.2 litre engine over the 3.9 of its smaller sibling. Unless US ones had the 4.2 litre V8 as standard, that is.

    There were such a bewildering array of specifications and options, it’s hard to be sure!


  3. My recollection is that in the US the County was the, ahem, entry level Rangie. Can’t remember the difference, perhaps the County lacked the air suspension.

    In 1992 I crossed shopped the Rangie and the Land Cruiser. Chose the comfort of the Crusher’s reliability over the Rover’s overall ride comfort and amenities along with the dicey quality. Off road I figure those to a draw.

    The Rangie Classic is a great vehicle.

  4. I’m pretty sure the County was all there was on offer here in the US. There were wheelbase variants, however, the LWB being the ultra spacious example with rear space measured not by the square inch but by the acre.

  5. County was parallel to Vogue and designated to North American market ,it was coming in County SWB (100″ standard(short) wheelbase)=VogueSE in europe , and County LWB (108″ Long wheelbase)=VogueLSE in europe.

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