's Great British Cars – Range Rover Mk1

Fri 12th Apr 2019

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.

Range Rover Mk1
Rover could hardly be accused of lacking innovation, but in the 1960s, a decade when Britain was swinging, the quintessential English motor company were looking a little staid, with a range of straight down the middle saloons and of course, their headliner, the Land Rover.

SUV’s were not a major deal in the UK, but the US market was starting adapt medium sized trucks to a consumer market.

The Sports Utility Vehicle movement had seen its first attempt with the International Harvester Scout and then the market-leading Ford Bronco came along which stunned and shocked the Rover executives with its versatility. Jeep of course were making waves in a growing market, but the British appetite for big cars was a little less well developed and it took major nudge from across the Atlantic to show what was achievable. Rover’s USA president of operations shipped a Land Rover Series II back across the pond, but fitted with a Buick V8 engine, it certainly raised a few eyebrows. Rover then imported a Ford Bronco to play around with, and it was the coil spring revolution which Charles Spencer King was convinced would take the off-road Land Rover into more refined air with the Range Rover.

Launched in June 1970 the Range Rover received critical acclaim, with Autocar saying at the time: “Eagerly awaited, the new Range Rover has fulfilled and even surpassed the high hopes held for it.

The combination of an over-90mph maximum speed with the ability to go cross-country mud-plugging as well is not new – the Kaiser Jeep Wagoneer did all this when we tested it in 1964 – but will seem revolutionary to many.

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.”
The Mk1 would be produced for a 26 year spell, before it was redesigned in 1996, but even today the Range Rover is reigning supreme at the top of the luxury SUV market across the globe.

Years of manufacture: 1970-1996
Price when new:
Price now:
Engine: 3,528cc 8cyl petrol, 132bhp
Top speed: 95mph