LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER 1ST GEN
There is a select group of British cars that are instantly recognisable for their silhouettes alone; the Morris Minor, the Mini, the Jaguar E-Type – and the Range Rover, all vehicles that merit that much-abused word ‘iconic’. Although Rover’s head of new vehicle projects, Spencer King, claimed that the design for a new 4x4 was merely a stopgap, the Louvre Museum in Paris described the result of his collaboration with the engineer Gordon Bashford as an 'outstanding piece of modern sculpture'.
Sales commenced on June 17th, with prices from £1,998. ‘Autocar’ magazine raved: “What is so good about the Range Rover is the way it carries out its multiple functions, serving equally well as tug, load carrier, cross-country vehicle and, by no means least, as an ordinary car suitable even for commuting in heavy traffic.”
Traffic policing further raised the profile of the Range Rover, and by 1971 it was employed by the forces of Cheshire, Kent, Staffordshire and Warwickshire. In 1976, ‘Car’ magazine had "not found a vehicle to challenge the Range Rover” while observing the Land Cruiser from Japan was “a nasty piece of work”.
February 1996 marked the demise of what had become known as the Range Rover ‘Classic’, following the launch of the second-generation Range Rover two years earlier, by which time some examples resembled a mobile gin-palace. In the words of that ‘Car’ article of 44 years ago: “It really is just as happy in the deep mire of a forest as in the King’s Road” and to quote ‘Motor’ magazine of 1975: “It isn’t perfect, but there are so few cars which even begin to compete. We love it!”
Even today, Range Rover illustrates this model in its advertisements to help promote its latest version of the brand. This tells you all you need to know about the original Range Rover: it is a design icon. Being of Land Rover ancestry, it goes without saying that it is immensely strong and yet with its air of quiet sophistication, it is also a simple vehicle by today’s standards, making it easy to maintain and run.
This particular car is a 1972 ‘Suffix B’ version, the second iteration in the 25-year-long series of models. ‘Suffix B’ cars were produced between January and October 1973, making it the shortest production run of any Range Rover model. It featured many improvements over the more common ‘Suffix A’ such as rear window wash-wipe, better sound deadening, more instrumentation, a larger twin outlet water bottle and much else besides.
This particular Suffix B was hand-picked by our vendor, a very well-respected Land Rover authority, for a full and comprehensive restoration, costing in the end, approximately £40,000. Like all Range Rovers from this era, wet weather and time take their toll, and this is where a 'proper' restoration differs from a mere restoration. Our vendor knows the difference, so this Range Rover's body was fully acid-dipped and neutralised, followed by extensive welding to the rear floor, rear arches, rear crossmember, front foot wells and front bulkhead; the front end was renewed with high-quality pattern parts. The body was then acid-dipped again, followed by being epoxy painted, seam-sealed and then repainted in Tuscan Blue, this alone costing £11,000.
The Rover 3.5-litre V8 engine was fully rebuilt, re-bored, and refitted with a reground crank, new cam, pistons and ancillaries. The original 4-speed LT95 gearbox was also fully rebuild with a vacuum diff-lock. The axles too were fully restored and rebuilt, whilst the original chassis was inspected, cleaned and treated, but remarkably required no welding! The underbody was then paint protected and insulated using a body-coloured Schultz finish.
The process continued with the fitting of a brand new full stainless steel exhaust system, a set of Blockley tyres (specially made to mimic the original style Michelin tyres, costing £900) and many hard-to-find parts sourced from contacts, including new light lenses, ignition barrel and clocks etc. Details like the use of a full original fasteners kit, with the correct period fasteners (costing over £1,000), have all been done correctly. New window seals all round, a new 'Famous Four' aluminium tailgate, genuine Land Rover front grille, and fuel tank. The upholstery was fully retrimmed by a highly skilled trimmer and reinstalled with the original 'Kit-Kat' beige seating.
This finished Range Rover has been 'shaken down', set-up correctly and enjoyed for a few hundred miles since its restoration. The odometer was zeroed upon completion, given the extent of the work done, and is now ready to be enjoyed by an enthusiast who will have many years of pleasurable Classic Range Rover ownership head of them.
- LayoutFront Engined
- AspirationNormally Aspirated
- Power 125 bhp
- Torque 19 lbs/ft
- Top speed 95 mph
- Acceleration0 to 62 in 14.2 s
- Driven wheelsAll Wheel Drive - Permanent
- Body typeEstate
- Vehicle height 1,803 mm
- Vehicle width 1,778 mm
Reference #11969716 | Trade advert