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Onelife 25

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Look back at the birth of the original Land Rover | How Land Rover has driven adventure and scientific exploration | GQ Editor Dylan Jones talks inspiration with Chief Design Officer Gerry McGovern | Exploring the potential impact of electrification and connected vehicles | Tackling the 999 steep steps up to Heaven’s Gate in China


XXXXXXX LEFT “TO TAKE ON THIS PLACE YOU NEED COMPLETE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR VEHICLE, AND THE RANGE ROVER SPORT SURE GAVE ME THAT. IT’S FAST, RESPONSIVE AND AGILE” PAUL DALLENBACH, PIKES PEAK RACING DRIVER 01 02 03 04 01 The 156 corners and 14,108-feet rise of the Pikes Peak hill climb proved no problem for a Range Rover Sport, which in 2013 set a record time for production SUV vehicles 02 This Range Rover won the 1981 Paris-Dakar Rally outright 03 Downhill capabilities were tested to extremes in 2016, when a Range Rover Sport descended an Alpine ski run with 60 percent gradients 04 Land Rover Germany supported teams with Range Rover Evoque vehicles in 2013 to successfully travel the Silk Road work of the Alaskan Highway until one vehicle crashed into a stranded truck on the frozen asphalt. Fortunately no one was injured, but the vehicle needed to be towed to Vancouver before it could be repaired. By mid- January 1972 they had made huge progress as far as Panama City. In a case of mild understatement, Thompson called it “an uneventful drive.” RUMBLES IN THE JUNGLE The essence of an expedition is thorough preparation. Based on assumptions made about the terrain in the Darien Gap, both cars were equipped with special swamp tires. The jungle had also been scouted beforehand, but for some inexplicable reason the information wasn’t passed on to Thompson and his team, which on entering the jungle, had swollen to 64, including a party of Royal Engineers and scientists. Heavy rain made conditions even more difficult, and as the swamp tires proved to be ineffective, the crew was now facing trouble. To make sure the expedition could keep moving, Land Rover engineer Geof Miller was called upon. Miller flew out to help the team and solved the problem by merely fitting normal cross-country tires. One hundred days after entering the jungle the expedition finally made it to the southern side. Gaunt and exhausted, the expedition members had experienced a living hell, with malaria and fever taking its toll. At times, they had managed barely a mile a day. However, confidence remained high and Thompson noted: “Anything that broke, I took a polaroid, but even on the days when the temperature in the car got up to 140 degrees, I knew we were not going to fail.” A NEW GLOBAL LEGEND Out of the jungle, Thompson’s team left the scientists and the Royal Engineers behind them. Land Rover engineer Roger Crathorne stayed on until they reached Bogotá. Leaving the Colombian capital, the vehicles were doing well over 60 miles an hour again – stark contrast to what they had averaged in the jungle. On June 9, 1972, the Range Rover vehicles reached Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Argentina. A new legend was born, and Range Rover vehicles would go on to successfully tackle many other expeditions and adventures the world over. In 1979 a Range Rover won its class in the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally, before another won outright in 1981. Three decades later, the 2013 Land Rover Experience Tour Silk Road expedition served as the stage for the first long-distance expedition undertaken by the bestselling Range Rover Evoque. The Silk Road expedition followed one of the world’s oldest trade routes, from Berlin to Mumbai, including 11 countries and no less than 10,000 miles in 50 days. No walk in the park, but for participants it was an adventure of a lifetime. Finally, and more recently, Land Rover has undertaken a number of extreme challenges with Range Rover Sport models, from the Pikes Peak hill climb in 2013, to a downhill ski run in 2016 and The Dragon Challenge in 2017 (see page 76). Meanwhile, back in the grounds of Eastnor where the prototype Range Rover vehicles were tested 50 years ago, a grinning Gavin Thompson sits behind the wheel of the original 1971 expedition Range Rover again. With the V8 burbling away happily in front of him, his only comment: “I can still smell the bloody jungle.” PHOTOGRAPHY: DOM ROMNEY, CRAIG PUSEY, DPA PICTURE ALLIANCE 48

THE NEW RANGE ROVER RIDER. FOR LITTLE BIG ADVENTURES. WITH A RANGE ROVER RIDER, A LITTLE ONE’S IMAGINATION GOES FURTHER. Featuring LED lights, low-noise tyres and a soft touch seat, it’s packed with pint-size fun. Explore the range at


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

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