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Land Rover Range Rover Classic

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Land Rover Range Rover Classic
Land Rover
aka {{{aka (Type here, not up there)}}}
Production Produced from 1970 to 1996

Total units made 317.615

Class Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)
Body Style Station Wagon
Length 4478mm (LSE - 4676mm)
Width 1813mm
Height 1792mm
Wheelbase 2540mm - 100" (LSE - 2743mm - 108")
Weight 2011 Kg (LSE - 2150 Kg)
Transmission 1970-1983 LT95 (4 speed manual) - integral transfer box

1983-1991 LT77 (5 speed manual) - until 09/1988 - LT230 transferbox / from 10/1988 Borg Warner transfer box

1991-1994 LT77S (5 speed manual) - Borg Warner transfer box

1994-1996 R380 (5 speed manual AWD) - Borg Warner transfer box

1982-1988 Chryler Torqueflite A727(3 speed auto) - LT230 transferbox

1988-1996 ZF 4HP22 (4 speed auto)- until 09/1988 - LT230 transferbox / from 10/1988 Borg Warner transfer box

Engine {{{engine}}}
Power {{{Horsepower and Torque rating}}}
Similar {{{similar (competition)}}}
Designer {{{Designer (lead designer if it was a team effort)}}}

The Range Rover Classic was a luxury off-road vehicle built by 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.<ref>Official Land Rover documentation collections for both 1970-1985 (LHP1, v1.1) and 1986-1994 (LHP2, v1.1) Range Rovers, for example, refers to the vehicles as "Range Rover Classic", despite never being called that when they were originally built.</ref>

Design

While it was designed under the Rover aegis as an upmarket version of the Land Rover of its time, the Range Rover was a radical break from its nominal "little brother", sharing almost nothing in either components or design. The chassis was suspended by coil springs, and because of the Range Rover's hefty weight, hydraulic disc brakes were fitted on all four wheels, rather than the then-common drum brakes.

Transmission-wise the Range Rover used permanent four-wheel drive, rather than the switchable rear-wheel/four-wheel drive on the Series vehicles (this became the norm for all Land Rover vehicles), and had a lever for switching ratios on the transfer box (called "high/low box") for off-road use. Overdrive for use with third and fourth gears was an option on the early four-speed manual boxes. The engine was originally a detuned (135 bhp) version of the legendary Buick-derived 3528 cc Rover V8 engine.

Like all 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 bonnet on earlier models.

History

Early history

Rover had been experimenting with producing a "big brother" to the Land Rover as far back as the 1950s, with the Rover P4-based two-wheel-drive Road Rover project. This was shelved in 1958, and the idea laid dormant until 1966, when engineers Spencer King and Gordon Bashford set to work on a new luxury off-roader.

In 1967, the first Range Rover prototype was built, with the classic Range Rover shape clearly discernible but for a different front grille and headlight configuration. The design of the Range Rover was finalised in 1969. Twenty-six Velar engineering development vehicles were built between 1969 and 1970 and were road registered with the number plates YVB 151H through YVB 177H.<ref name="lrchist"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref>

It is commonly thought that "VELAR" is an acronym for Vee Eight Land Rover, however the name is derived from the Italian 'Velare' meaning to veil or to cover.<ref name="rrr"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref> Range Rover development engineer, Geof Miller, used the name as a decoy for registering pre-production Range Rovers. The Velar company was registered in London and produced forty pre-production vehicles that were built between 1967 and 1970.

1970-1980

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 95 mph and acceleration from a standstill to 60mph in less than 15 seconds) was as good or 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. Notable off-road feats were winning the 4-wheel drive class in the first Paris-Dakar Rally in 1979 (a feat repeated in 1981)<ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>, and being two of the first vehicles (along with a Series IIA) to traverse both American continents north-to-south through the Darién Gap from 1971–1972.<ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref>

Little changed in the decade after its introduction, save for the addition of power steering in 1973,<ref name="al"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> small mechanical alterations,<ref name="lrmhist1977"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} Changes made were a new twin exhaust system, optional overdrive, mirrors relocated to the doors, and modified gear ratios.</ref><ref name="lrmhist1972"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} "The ratio of the, still manual only, steering was altered to address the complaints of heavy steering especially at parking speeds."</ref> and various, very minor, cosmetic alterations.<ref name="lrmhist1972" /><ref name="lrmhist1973"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} "The back end got vinyl covering on the rear quarter panels and there was the option of a rear window wash and wipe. Inside, the front seats had an extra handle to allow them to be tipped from outside more easily, and the blanked out holes in the dash now had the option of extra gauges."</ref><ref name="lrmhist1977" /><ref name="lrmhist1979"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} The changes were wing repeater lamps, new decals, black-painted bumpers & mirrors, and a better-looking steering wheel.</ref> In 1980, the suspension was changed to reduce ground clearance by 20 mm.<ref name="haynes" /> While such a change might have been noticeable in heavy off-road use, this served to reduce the colossal body roll that early Range Rovers suffered.

From 1979 onwards, Land Rover collaborated with Perkins on Project Iceberg, an endeavour to develop a diesel version of the Range Rover's 3.5-litre V8 engine.<ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} Photos of the engine available from bobuilt.co.uk </ref> Both naturally-aspirated and turbocharged versions were built, but in both cases problems were found with the all-alloy engine blocks failing under the much greater pressures involved in diesel operation. The project was discarded in 1983 and the decision to import VM diesel engines from Italy was taken instead, which were sold under the 'Turbo D' name.

1981-1985

One of the first significant changes came in 1981, with the introduction of the four-door body.<ref name="al"/> Until then, Range Rovers only had two doors, which made access to the rear seats rather difficult, and were very large and heavy. The four-door version solved both these problems, and was received well by the public; the four-door became popular enough that the two-door was discontinued in the United Kingdom in 1984<ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>, although the two-door continued to be produced to the end, mainly for the French market.<ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Concurrently, the compression ratio of the V8 was increased and the gear ratio in the transfer box was upped for fuel economy. Land Rover also introduced a lower-spec two-door Range Rover called the Fleetline, aimed at the commercial and police-force market. The interior was less luxurious, and had an option to remove the power steering equipment.<ref name="lrmhist1981"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

In 1982, the Range Rover was given automatic transmission as an optional extra (initially a 3-speed Chrysler box, but uprated to a 4-speed ZF in 1985) coupled to a LT230 transfer box.<ref name="haynes"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref> 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.

1986-1991

The biggest cosmetic change came in 1986, with a revamped front end. This included a more pedestrian-friendly plastic grille with horizontal slats and front skirts with two driving lights. In the same year, Lucas electronic fuel injection was introduced<ref name="haynes"/>, improving both performance and fuel economy. Some export markets retained carburettors, however the original Zenith/Stromberg manufactured units were replaced by Skinners Union (SU)-manufactured items.

1986 also saw the introduction of the Range Rover to the United States, when Land Rover set up their first headquarters in Lanham, Maryland in 1986 (the first US-specification Range Rovers were sold in 1987). Range Rovers had already proven themselves popular with Americans in the grey market. A more efficient 2.4 litre (2393 cc) VM diesel engine was made available as an option for the heavily-taxed European market.<ref name="al"/>

In 1989 (the same year in which the Land Rover Discovery, heavily derived from the Range Rover, was introduced) the 3.5 litre engine was bored out to a displacement of 3.9 litres (3947 cc) for the 1990 model year<ref name="haynes"/>, and the interior was revamped. The Range Rover gained anti-roll bars (rather belatedly solving the problem of body roll that had plagued Range Rovers for two decades, at the expense of off-road capability) and the VM engine's displacement increased to 2.5 litres (2499 cc).

1992-1996

The Range Rover lineup underwent its final revamp in 1992, when the venerable Rover engine was stroked to 4.2 litres (4197 cc), coinciding with the introduction of the luxurious LSE model. In the UK, these models had a wheelbase of 108 inches (2743 mm)) and the 4.2L engine, while LSE models in the US all had the usual 100" wheelbase and the 3.9L engine. The longer wheelbase and larger engine were introduced to the US with the name "County LWB".<ref name="fordhist"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Land Rover replaced the VM engine with their own 200TDi turbocharged diesel lump and introduced air suspension on high-end models.<ref name="al"/>

The death knell for the classic Range Rover design sounded in 1994 with the introduction of a completely new Range Rover (nicknamed P38A). However, production of the old-shape Range Rovers continued under the name "Range Rover Classic" (a term now used to refer to all pre-P38A Range Rovers).

In 1996, the final Classic rolled off the assembly line at Solihull, 26 years after the first went on sale, still looking very much like its 1970 ancestor.

Special Range Rovers

The "In Vogue", a more luxurious special edition of the Range Rover, was produced in 1983. This proved so popular that it went into full-fledged production as the Vogue.

For a time, Carmichael produced a six-wheeled fire engine based on a two-door Range Rover.<ref name="wodsft"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref> These were lengthened considerably and fitted with an extra undriven axle to bear the extra weight. Carmichael also converted the chassis for several four-door Range Rovers of this type by Land Rover for the British Ministry of Defence.

In 1990 a special 20th aniversary 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.<ref>See rangerovercsk.com for more on these rare vehicles. Retrieved on 2006-12-19.</ref>

The Range Rover Classic today

Like other Land Rovers, an unusually large number of early Range Rovers have survived in the hands of Land Rover enthusiasts, largely due to parts being plentiful and cheap, the rust-free aluminium body skins, the durability of Rover V8 engines, and (in no small part) the characteristic fervour of Land Rover enthusiasts.

Earlier Classics (those from 1970 to the mid 1980s) are popular vehicles for off-roading. Early, sound but scruffy examples can be bought for a similar price to a Series Land Rover of a similar age, but offering much better comfort, speed, on-road handling, space and refinement whilst having the same off-road ability. This, and their much higher power outputs than Land Rovers from the 1970s, mean they remain popular vehicles for towing work, especially if they are bought purely for that purpose, so the high fuel consumption of the V8 engine does not matter as much as if the vehicle was to be used daily. Conversions to make the engine run on LPG are common to reduce fuel costs,<ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> as are conversions to diesel engines (especially Land Rover's own Tdi engine as fitted to late Classics), although many Range Rover enthusiasts think that removing the V8 engine robs the vehicle of much of its character and ability.

Modifications for off-road use (such as winches, snorkels, suspension lifts, and larger wheels and tyres) are common. More drastic measures include a modification commonly known to enthusiasts as 'Bobtailing' -- the rear overhang of the vehicle (its traditional weak-point when off-road) is removed by cutting the body and chassis off, removing a section and re-fitting the ends. A vehicle that has had such work on it is usually known as a 'Bobtail'.<ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref>

Where a vehicle's chassis is sound, but its engine, gearbox or body is damaged or worn beyond repair, they are often used as the basis of a specialised off-road vehicle. Many old Range Rovers are enjoying a second life with different bodies fitted. These can take the form of a basic 'buggy', or body panels from a Defender or Series Land Rover can be modified to fit.<ref>See, for example, Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Most of the early Velar pre-production vehicles have been accounted for and have survived into preservation.<ref name="rrr2"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>


See Also

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LAND ROVER

Tata Group


Tata Motors | Jaguar | Land Rover | Hispano Carrocera SA | Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle | Daewoo Bus


Current Models: LR2/Freelander 2 · LR4/Discovery 4 · Range Rover · Range Rover Sport · Defender · Range_e · Range Rover Evoque

Historic Models: Series I, II, and III · 109 Series IIa and III · Range Rover Classic

Concept Cars: Land e · Range Stormer · LRX Concept · Llama

One-Offs:

Military Vehicles: 1/2 ton Lightweight · 101 Forward Control · Wolf · SNATCH Land Rover ·


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