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Onelife 23

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  • Rover
  • Velar
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Unveiling of the New Range Rover Velar | Step inside some of the planet’s most exclusive homes | Man’s relationship with dogs | An epic drive through the Isle of Skye | The legendary Beechcraft Bonanza takes to the Skies

LASTING LEGACY

LASTING LEGACY “COLLECTORS LIKE CARS THAT WERE BENCHMARKS AND TURNING POINTS, AND THE ORIGINAL RANGE ROVER WAS BOTH” An easier option is to buy an original, two-door 1970s Range Rover fresh from the factory. You won’t need a time machine, nor is there a stock of unsold ones around the back: as part of Land Rover Classic’s work to revive these historic vehicles, Land Rover engineers can now restore one, true to its original state, right where it all started in 1970 in Solihull in the UK. Land Rover’s Classic division has already built over 60 Reborn Series I vehicles, each restored to as-new condition by the company that first made it, in the same city and using the original drawings. Now, it is extending the Reborn program to the early, two-door Range Rover models. The first vehicle to be restored, a UK-supplied 1978 model in Bahama Gold, has just been completed and was revealed at the classic car show in Paris. Its rebuilding included putting a range of parts and panels back into production to factory standards. Some have been unavailable for years, but the realization of these vehicles’ importance means the parts are now being brought back to life for restoration purposes. Mike Bishop is the engineering manager for the project. He drove his first Land Rover on his family’s 2,500-acre farm in Australia aged 14, and has been obsessed with them ever since. He’s a lifelong enthusiast, collector and now a restorer of Solihull’s finest. He understands his customers well because if he wasn’t running this project, he’d be one of them. “Our customers have a real emotional attachment to this place, and there’s real value for them in having a car that has been returned to factory condition, by the factory,“ he says. “We’re just continuing the work started by Spen King and the other legendary engineers who made those first vehicles. There’s a level of authenticity that comes from having a Range Rover restored here using the original engineering drawings and technical blueprints. We even have guys working on the project who built the later Classic models back when they were new.“ Mike won’t talk numbers. But he reveals that demand for the Reborn Series I vehicles exceeded all expectations. He knows he’s likely to be deluged, and will now have to scour the globe for Range Rover vehicles suitable for rebirth as the program continues. The early vehicles he’ll be restoring were an instant success and an automotive design classic. But not everything about them was right. Their ’luxury’ came from their car-like performance, road-holding and mechanical refinement, none of which compromised their agility off-road. But their cabins were sparse: the earliest Range Rover vehicles had plastic seats because its maker believed that gentlemen farmers would use them to transport livestock and need to hose them out afterwards. Perhaps some did, but more were to be found in cities, or in the fast lane of highways, or parked outside Britain’s great country homes. Those early plastic interiors are ironically now the most sought after by collectors and the most difficult for Mike to restore. In the end, this is what it’s all about: the story of the Range Rover from the first Velar to the latest revolves around the addition of luxury to match its refinement, without diluting its design DNA or diminishing its huge capability. Those early plastic interiors have evolved into cabins that are a benchmark for many luxury cars today; not just luxury SUVs. Range Rover vehicles now boast power outputs many times that of the original 3.5-liter V8, and all-terrain ability that has been stretched by intelligent technology truly unimaginable in 1970. “The original Range Rover must have looked like a spaceship when it first arrived,“ says Mike. “Imagine it parked next to a Beetle, or whatever else you could buy in 1970. The New Range Rover Velar will have the same impact. It is an incredible design, so I think it’s fitting that we’ve made that link with the Range Rover Reborn program.“ 54

The first Velar models were built in secrecy and roadtested around the world. While incredibly rare, some still travel the globe, like the Velar below, parked next to its sibling – a Range Rover SVAutobiography – at the Djemaa el Fna market in Marrakech, Morocco 55

 

Land Rover

Land Rover Magazine 39

 

Land Rover Magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go above and beyond

Land Rover stands for not only the most capable premium vehicles, but a state of mind where a sense of curiosity, exploration and wonder informs all of life’s adventures. Encounter this throughout the latest issue of Land Rover Magazine, from meeting a herd of Ice Age survivors on the Dutch coast with the Land Rover Discovery, to the most innovative sustainable architecture on a Californian journey with the Range Rover Evoque

The Library

Issue 39
Onelife 27
Onelife 26
Onelife 25
Onelife 24
Onelife 23
Onelife 22

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