The Range Rover Classic is a Luxury SUV that was built by British automaker Land Rover from 1970 to 1996. It was the first generation of vehicles produced under the Range Rover name. For most of its history, it was known simply as the "Range Rover"; Land Rover coined the term "Range Rover Classic" for the brief period they built them side-by-side with the P38A successors, and applied it retroactively to all first-generation Range Rovers.
Like other Land Rover vehicles, most of the Range Rover's bodywork skin is constructed from lightweight Aluminium, save for the two-section rear tailgate, and the Hood (vehicle) on all but the earliest models. Apart from minor cosmetic changes, the body design changed very little in its first decade.
One of the first significant changes came in 1981, with the introduction of a four-door body. although the two-door continued to be produced to the end, mainly for the French market. The front end of the Range Rover was revamped in 1986. This brought a more pedestrian-friendly plastic grille with horizontal slats, and front skirts with two driving lights.
Chassis and suspensionEdit
The Range Rover broke from the Land Rovers of its time by using Coil springs instead of the then-common Leaf springs. Because of its hefty weight, it also had Disc brakes on all four wheels. Originally, it had no Power steering, though this was added a few years after its introduction.
One problem with the Range Rover chassis was that it suffered considerably from Body roll. Because of this, the suspension was lowered by in 1980 Air suspension was introduced in 1992 for high-end models.
The 100-inch Range Rover chassis became the basis for the Land Rover, introduced in 1989.
Originally, the Range Rover was fitted with a detuned (135 bhp) version of the legendary Buick-derived Rover V8. The 3.5 litre (3528 cc) engine was bored out to a displacement of 3.9 litres (3947 cc) for the 1990 model year, Both naturally-aspirated and turbocharged versions were built, but the all-alloy engine blocks failed under the much greater pressures involved in diesel operation. The project was, therefore, abandoned. The effort to strengthen the Rover V8 for diesel operation was not, however, completely wasted; the 4.2-litre petrol variant of the engine used crankshaft castings developed in the Iceberg project.
Because of the Iceberg failure, it was not until 1986 that Range Rovers gained diesel engines from the factory. The more efficient 2.4 litre (2393 cc) VM diesel from Italy was made available as an option for the heavily-taxed European market, The other major transmission upgrade in the Range Rover's lifetime was the switch from the LT95 combined four-speed manual gearbox and transfer box to the LT77 five-speed gearbox and separate LT230 transfer box in 1983.
Off road, and onEdit
In June 1970, the Range Rover was introduced to the public, to much critical acclaim. It appeared that Rover had succeeded in their goal of a car equally capable both on and off road -- arguably, better than any four-wheel drive vehicle of its era in both environments. Road performance (a top speed of and acceleration from a standstill to in less than 15 seconds) was said to be better than many family saloon cars of its era, and off-road performance was staggering owing to its long suspension travel and high ground clearance. The 1995 Classic Range Rovers can run a 0-60 time of around 11 seconds, and they top out at approximately 110 mph.
Notable off-road feats were winning the 4-wheel drive class in the first Paris-Dakar Rally in 1979 and 1981,, and being two of the first vehicles (along with a Land Rover) to traverse both American continents north-to-south through the Darién Gap from 1971–1972.
Special Range RoversEdit
The "In Vogue", a more luxurious special edition of the Range Rover, was produced in 1983. This went into full-fledged production as the Vogue.
In 1990 a special 20th anniversary edition of the Range Rover was created -- the Range Rover CSK (CSK being the initials of Charles Spencer King). Only 200 CSKs were ever made, all of which were two-door vehicles, and are now highly sought after vehicles. For a while, Spen King owned number 200, but this has since been sold on.
One of Pope John Paul II's Popemobiles, used on his visit to Scotland in 1982, was a Range Rover and truck hybrid built by British Leyland. The vehicle weighed 24 tons, and was said to be both bullet- and bomb-proof. It sold at auction in 2006 for £37,500.
- The Range Rover Knowledge Base
- The Enthusiast's Range Rovers Site
- The Land Rover FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about Land Rovers
- roverhaul.com - Range Rover Classic Picture Gallery
- Southeast Range Rover - Range Rover Classic Parts & History