Range Rover Classics
A total of 317,615 Range Rover Classics were made between
1970 and February 1996
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The Range Rover dream started in the early 1960's when engineers began looking at the potential of a luxury station wagon which provided both on-road and off-road performance abilities. They realised such a vehicle would require a much more powerful engine than currently available in the Land Rover.
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With its first release in 1970, the Range Rover was created to provide passengers with a more comfortable Land Rover - and subsequently became a huge success.
The specifications were outstanding for a four wheel drive of its time, with waiting lists soon becoming long and purchasers being able to immediately resell the car for well over its original buying price, if so desired.
With the introduction of the Range Rover came coil-springs, self-levelling suspension, full-time four wheel drive, all-round disc-brakes and a 3.5L V8 engine - the very first model offering a three door wagon with 4-speed manual gearbox.
Exceptional axle-articulation and cross-country ability was attained through long-travel suspension.
Likened to a grand-tourer for its engine and stopping ability, the centre differential was fitted with a diff lock in conjunction with a limited-slip on very early models. The limited-slip feature was, however, removed as it was found to be unnecessary.
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In 1981, the four-door Range Rover was introduced, although a number of specialist firms had undertaken conversions on both standard and lengthened chassis.
1982 saw the offering of a factory automatic transmission, with many private conversions being performed prior to this.
1983 saw the introduction of the 5-speed manual transmission.
Fuel-injection was added to the long-lived V8 in 1985. With fuel economy an increasing concern, Rover welcomed a 2.4L VM turbo-diesel option in 1986 - the engine being more refined than Rover's own diesels.
The Range Rover required dramatic improvement in quality control as the Land Rover re-entered the US market in 1987.
1988 saw the launch of Range Rover's new flagship, the Vogue SE. The introduction of the chain drive transfer box and a viscous control unit were unveiled at the British Motor Show in 1988. The VCU locked the centre differential automatically the instant traction was lost.
Despite its introduction as "just" a more comfortable Land Rover, Range Rover had moved ever further up-market, leaving a gap between it and the workhorse 90 and 110 Land Rovers. Release of the County versions, the 90 and 110 "stretched" to close the gap, with obvious strain. The Land Rover Discovery brought unprecedented speed with its introduction in 1989.
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The VM diesel growing to 2.5L in 1990. Anti-lock brakes were introduced as an option on all models - becoming standard on the Vogue SE.
In 1991, the Range Rover underwent the most significant changes ever to its suspension. The key features of the new suspension package included fitting anti-roll bars to increase roll stiffness by 25%, resulting in the reduction of body roll on cornering whilst maintaining the traditional luxury feel of compliant suspension and Range Rover's unparalleled off-road performance.
Provision for more leg room came with the release of a longer wheel base model - curing the cramped look under four doors. The VM diesel option was dropped whilst a 4.2L version of the V8 was released.
Despite rumours of a change to the original design since the mid 1980's and earlier, it did not come to fruition until 1994. The old car continued to be built under the banner Range Rover 'Classic', alongside the new version. November 1995 saw the announcement of the intention to build 25, 25th Anniversary specials.
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