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When the first ever Range Rover was made in 1967, nobody could have predicted its meteoric rise. Fifty years later, Jaguar Land Rover owes much of its UK success to the models it has created and now there is a new exhibition, showcasing the engineering story behind the car built at its Solihull plant in the West Midlands.
We take a look at five decades of the luxury SUV:
1967: Prototype Range Rover Velar
In order to keep the prototype for the first ever Range Rover a closely-guarded secret, the designers and engineers behind this new vehicle gave the top-secret prototype the name ‘Velar’, derived from the Italian word ‘velare’, meaning to veil or cover. The first 26 prototypes were even fitted with a badge of the same name to disguise its identity.
1970: First production of the three-door Range Rover
Following the successful testing of the Velar concept vehicle, the first Range Rover was revealed to the world. It was the first vehicle to deliver permanent four-wheel drive and feature split tailgate, clamshell bonnet and continuous waistline
1981: Four-door Range Rover
After 11 years on the market, the Range Rover Classic was made available as a four-door vehicle, giving greater options to the vehicle’s ever-growing fan base.
More luxurious than its predecessor, the design features of the second generation vehicle, including the silhouette and the introduction of rectangular headlamps in place of the circular ones have stood the test of time, making the vehicle instantly recognisable to the present day.
2001: Third generation Range Rover
This Range Rover was the first to be built with a monocoque single shell body. The design inspiration for the hull was taken from the tapering of The Italian Riva speedboat, while the pulleys on the luxury yacht prompted the metallic finishes inside the vehicle.
2004: Range Stormer Concept
The Stormer concept car would become known for showcasing the future design direction of Range Rover, as well as the bold approach to the adoption of new technology within the vehicles.
2005: Range Rover Sport Production
The introduction of the first sports SUV in the Range Rover family showed Land Rover’s commitment to performance. Engine options included a Supercharged 4.2 litre petrol engine. The Range Rover Sport also offered cross-linked air suspension, giving drivers optional ride height and 4×4 driving.
2008: LRX Concept
This cross-coupé concept vehicle was an ambitious and progressive step for the Land Rover design team. Targeting drivers who would rarely go off-road, the concept vehicle housed an interior dubbed as ‘futuristic’ by the press.
Range Rover Evoque made a splash as soon as it was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 2010. Many features seen on the LRX concept vehicle made their way into the luxurious cross-coupé.
2012: Fourth generation Range Rover
The fourth incarnation of the Range Rover was the first to feature a lightweight all-aluminum body and was instantly recognisable due to its long wheelbase and floating roof.
2013: Range Rover hybrid
The first hybrid of the Range Rover family delivered improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.
2013: Second Generation Range Rover Sport
Unveiled by James Bond actor Daniel Craig, certain streets in New York were temporarily shut down to launch the upgraded Range Rover Sport which featured increased efficiencies from the 3.0 litre V6 engine.
2015: Range Rover Sport SVR Launch
As the fastest Land Rover ever, the vehicle’s power is reflected in design features such as the quad tailpipes and unique rear spoiler.
2015: Range Rover SVAutobiography
Marketed as the pinnacle of refinement and luxury, the Range Rover SVAutobiography includes brushed aluminum finishes and executive seating in the cabin.
2015: Range Rover Evoque Convertible
The very first convertible Range Rover, the Evoque Convertible featured a Z-folding roof.
A new addition to the Range Rover family is revealed, which promises to deliver an SUV with the same capability, luxury and refinement of previous vehicles.