Iconic Range Rover Turns 40

01 June 2010
Les Potts

The New Range Rover 2011

  • The Range Rover celebrates its 40th birthday on 17 June 2010.
  • The Range Rover was the world's first fully capable luxury 4x4.
  • There have been three generations of Range Rover: the original (Classic) in 1970, second-generation (P38a) in 1994 and third-generation (L322) in 2001.
  • Second model line – Range Rover Sport – launched in 2005 became Land Rover's biggest selling vehicle worldwide in 2007.
  • Third model line to be revealed at Paris Motor Show 2010

"Land Rover has a unique history of product innovation. But the Range Rover probably remains the most historically significant vehicle we have ever launched. It is one of the most important vehicles in the history of motoring."
Phil Popham, Land Rover Managing Director.


The Range Rover celebrates its 40th birthday on 17 June, 2010. One of the most significant vehicles in the history of motoring, the Range Rover was the world's first vehicle as good on-road as off-road. It was the first fully capable luxury 4x4 and was a milestone in the development of the SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle).

There have been three generations of Range Rover. The original, now known as the Classic, went on sale in 1970 and continued in production, with numerous upgrades and a multiplicity of variants, for just over 25 years.

The second-generation vehicle, known as the P38a, went on sale in 1994 and was replaced in 2001 by the current model. The continuing success of the Range Rover ensured that other premium makers jumped into the booming luxury SUV market. The latest version has enjoyed higher annual sales than any previous models and continues to be popular around the world. Sold around the world, from London to Los Angeles, Sydney to Shanghai, Turin to Tokyo, the Range Rover remains the ultimate choice for the luxury SUV customer.

"The Range Rover is really four vehicles in one," says managing director Phil Popham. "It's a seven-days-a-week luxury motor car; a leisure vehicle that will range far and wide on the highways and noways of the world; a high performance car for long distance travel; and a working cross-country vehicle."

From princes to politicians, from rock gods to rock climbers, from footballers to farmers, the Range Rover has always appealed to a diverse group of customers.

A second model line, the Range Rover Sport, was launched in 2005, aimed at more sports-oriented driver-focused customers. It has been a great success, and in 2007 was Land Rover's biggest selling vehicle worldwide.

Later this year, a further member of the Range Rover family will be added, taking the portfolio to three model lines. The new vehicle will be smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient, tying in perfectly with the Range Rover brand's commitment to environmental sustainability. Yet it will be no less premium, no less luxurious, and no less special than the other Range Rover models.


A Brief History:

  • 1966 Work began on the first Range Rover prototype, known as the '100-inch station wagon'.
  • 1970 The original two-door Range Rover – known as the Classic – goes on sale.
  • 1971 Range Rover receives the RAC Dewar award for outstanding technical achievement.
  • 1972 The Range Rover is the first vehicle to cross the Darien Gap on a British Army Trans-America expedition.
  • 1974 Range Rover completes west to east Sahara desert expedition – 7,500 miles in 100 days.
  • 1977 A modified Range Rover wins the 4x4 class in the London-Sydney Marathon, a gruelling 30,000 km (18,750 miles) event and the longest ever speed-based car rally.
  • 1979 A specially modified Range Rover wins the first Paris-Dakar rally (a Range Rover wins again in 1981).
  • 1981 First production four-door Range Rover appears along with the first factory-produced limited-edition Range Rover – the 'In Vogue'.
  • 1982 Automatic transmission becomes available on Range Rover.
  • 1983 Range Rover 5-speed manual gearbox is introduced.
  • 1985 The diesel-powered Range Rover 'Bullet' breaks 27 speed records, including a diesel record for averaging more than 100mph for 24 hours.
  • 1987 Range Rover launched in North America.
  • 1989 Range Rover is the world's first 4x4 to be fitted with ABS anti-lock brakes.
  • 1990 Limited Edition CSK – named after founder Charles Spencer King – is launched as a sportier Range Rover.
  • 1992 Range Rover Classic is the world's first 4x4 to be fitted with electronic traction control (ETC).
  • 1992 Long-wheelbase LSE (known as County LWB in the US) launched.
  • 1992 Automatic electronic air suspension introduced, a world first for a 4x4.
  • 1994 Second-generation (P38a) Range Rover goes on sale.
  • 1996 Range Rover Classic bows out after total production of 317,615 units.
  • 1999 Limited Edition Range Rover Linley appears at London Motor Show.
  • 2001 All-New Range Rover (L322) launched.
  • 2002 Half-millionth Range Rover produced at the Solihull plant.
  • 2005 Second model line – the Range Rover Sport – launched.
  • 2006 Terrain Response and TDV8 diesel introduced.
  • 2009 Range Rover features all-new LR-V8 5.0 and 5.0 supercharged petrol engines and technology updates.
  • 2010 Range Rover celebrates its 40th anniversary.
  • 2010 All-New compact Range Rover to be revealed at Paris Motor Show.