RANGE ROVER' FIRST DIESEL
Range Rover was one of the first cars class "lux" in the world, which sets the diesel engine. It was originally planned that Land Rover have developed their own diesel V8 engine based on the petrol aluminum V8. Development (program codenamed Iceberg) was conducted in conjunction with experts in the field of diesel technology company Perkins and was to be completed at the beginning of the creation of the engine 80. The project eventually mothballed when costs rose sharply.
Instead, Land Rover bought the engine from Italian company VM Diesel Specialists. This 2.4-liter engine does not have outstanding power - acceleration to 60 miles / h in 15 seconds - but after the start of sales in 1986, he won the hearts of customers in the continental European market is increasingly leaning toward diesels, and paved the way for much more heavy-duty diesel engines. Last engine TDV8 (installed on Range Rover with the 2011 model year), for example, has a similar capacity with a modern petrol engine V8, but 30% cheaper.
The story had started a lot earlier. The Rover company had been "toying" with the concept of a more "upmarket" Land Rover Estate car since the early 1950s. The first project was named "Road Rover", and several prototypes were built using the P4 "Auntie" Rover car chassis. Towards the end of the 50s the project ground to a halt, and was shelved.
It remained dormant for a number of years, until 1966 when engineers Spencer King, and Gordon Bashford decided to set about designing a Luxury Land Rover estate car, using the powerful but relatively lightweight V8 engine, based on the a 100" wheelbase chassis.
August 1967 saw the completion of the first prototype, bearing chassis number 100.1
(100 inch chassis number 1), and the registration number SYE 157F. This was followed in 1968 by chassis 100.2 registration ULH 696F, this was a left hand drive version. Sadly both of these have long since been scrapped.
By late 1969 the prototypes had served their purpose, and "Line production" was ready to start, and a new chassis numbering scheme was introduced, using the numbers:
355 to signify "Home market RHD",
358 to signify "LHD"
356 to signify "RHD Export"
573 to signify "CKD" kits.
25 of these "Pre-production" Range Rovers were built during late 1969 and early 1970. They were registered in London, with the registration number sequence YVB 151H to YVB 175H.
The first three were registered on 2nd January 1970.
The name "Velar" (Vee Eight Land Rover) was used on these pre-production vehicles to confuse inquisitive observers about their true identity before the Range Rover was officially unveiled.
In May 1970, a batch of 20 production standard Range Rovers were built, 5 red, 5 white, 5 blue and 5 green.
In total 86 Range Rovers were built in 1970.
When the Range Rover made its debut in 1970 it was available in just one guise - a three door estate with four speed manual gearbox and permanent four wheel drive. The Range Rover was, and still is, unique, so much so that one model was exhibited at the Louvre as an example of modern sculpture. However, despite its more luxurious image the emphasis was still on practicality - the original brouchure extolled the virtues of a hoseable interior while the British Trans Americas Expedition proved the new vehicle was every bit as tough as the Land Rover by crossing the Darien Gap in 1972.
Over the years, the choice of Range Rovers has been extended to meet public demand. A four door model was launched in 1981 and automatic transmission the following year. In 1983 a five spped manual gearbox was introduced. Two years later the Range Rover Vogue received fuel injection, and in April of 1986 the Range Rover Turbo D made its debut. March 1988 saw the launch of Range Rover's new flagship, the Vogue SE, which featured air-conditioning, 4 speed automatic transmission, Connolly hide upholstery and electric tilt slide sunroof, all as standard.
At the 1988 British Motor Show, a chain drive transfer box and a viscous control unit were introduced. The VCU locks the centre differential automatically the instant that traction is lost.
In 1990 major improvements included the introduction of the 3.9 litre V8 engine replacing the 3.5 litre unit, the VM 2.4 litre engine increased in size to 2.5 litres, and anti-lock brakes introduced as an option on all models, standard on Vogue SE.
The Range Rover received the most significant changes ever undertaken to its suspension for the latest models which went on sale in the UK in January 1991. The key elements of the new suspension package included the fitting of anti-roll bars increasing roll stiffness by 25%. The result is that body roll is reduced on cornering, but the traditional luxury feel of complient suspension is maintained as is the Range Rover's unparalleled off-road performance.