Considered to be one of the finest Range Rovers in the world, the first-generation Range Rover (now coined Range Rover Classic) was produced between 1970 and 1996 and initially only two-door models were built, followed by the four-door from 1980/1981.
First launched in 1970, the Range Rover S1 was billed as a “Four-In-One” car. It was a luxury car, a performance car, an estate car and of course, a cross-country car. The marketing for the model was spot-on, the car was truly “go anywhere” and combined family practicality with comfort. Even to this day Range Rover use the S1 to promote the current line of Range Rovers – the model is a design icon.
The first generation of cars were labelled the suffix-A and were launched with the ubiquitous Rover V8 3.5 litre petrol engine which delivered 135bhp but more importantly 185lb/ft of torque. Mated to a 4-speed gearbox with a lockable centre differential, the Range Rover pulls well in all gears and is more than capable of keeping up with modern traffic.
Whilst certainly up-market compared to preceding Land Rover models, the early Range Rovers had fairly basic, utilitarian interiors with vinyl seats and plastic dashboards that were designed to be washed down with a hose. Convenience features such as power-assisted steering, carpeted floors, air conditioning, cloth/leather seats and wooden interior trim became more common later on in the production run. Marketed as 'A Car for All Reasons', the Range Rover was more capable off-road than the Land Rover and was much more comfortable, whilst also offering a top speed of almost 100mph.
Various improvements were made through the suffixes (A-F) with the 1976-77 suffix D benefitting from improved carburettors, interior lighting in the headlining and more luxurious carpeting on the transmission tunnel.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY:
The Range Rover Classic is a 4x4, mid-size Sport utility vehicle series produced from 1969 to 1996 – initially by the Rover (later Land Rover) division of British Leyland, and latterly by the Rover Group. The first generation of vehicles produced under the Range Rover name, it was built as a two-door model for its first 11 years, until a four-door also became available in 1981. The two-door version remained available until 1994, the year when the second generation was launched. At that time, Land Rover rebranded the original Range Rover under the newly coined term "Range Rover Classic", to distinguish it from its P38A successor, when the two were briefly built alongside, and applied the name retrospectively to all first-generation Range Rovers.
Although formally superseded by the second generation Range Rover, starting in 1994 – both the successor and the more affordable first and second series of the Land Rover Discovery were heavily based on the original Range Rover's chassis, drive-train and body-structure, which in essence lived on until the third generation Discovery arrived, and its mechanical blood-line ended in 2004.
The launch of the Land Rover in 1948 allowed the landed gentry, and none more landed than the Royal Family, easy access to the far-flung parts of their estates and. naturally, Land Rover gained the Royal Warrant from His Majesty King George VI in 1951. Although the Land Rover was more than capable of conveying its driver and passengers through the stickiest of terrain it was a utilitarian vehicle and offered little in the way of luxury. Even the launch of the eye-wateringly expensive and thus short-lived Land Rover Station Wagon by Tickford in 1948 failed to meet the demand for a comfortable four-wheel drive car.
The launch of the Spencer King designed Range Rover in 1971 was hailed from town to country with its powerful 3.5-litre petrol V8 capable of conquering virtually all terrain in comfort. The Royal Family were first in the queue and have owned every model since launch to the current, either in standard production form or with bespoke features. Archival photographs through to the present day show The Queen and her family at the wheel or alighting from a Range Rover more so than any other model of car.
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