Range Rover Celebrates 50 years With The Heritage Edition
Fifty years ago, the Rover company debuted a vehicle that would eventually change the automotive landscape. A burly, pack mule of an SUV that proved you didn’t have to sacrifice on-road performance and world-class luxury for off-road prowess. And to celebrate a half-century of its success, Range Rover has introduced the limited-edition Range Rover Fifty.
The Range Rover story actually goes back to 1969, when 26 preproduction development vehicles were built under the name ‘Velar’, so as to disguise what Rover was up to (the name Velar is derived from the Italian ‘velare’, which means to veil or cover). The three-door Range Rover was finally unveiled the next year to great acclaim. But it was not the uber luxurious SUV we know today; while more comfortable than its Land Rover sibling, the original Range Rovers were still rather agricultural, but highly capable off road.
The Range Rover was such a perfect design, the Louvre in Paris had one on show as an ‘exemplary work of industrial design’. Even the Queen had one. It remained with three doors until 1981, when a four-door model was added to the lineup. In 1994, the second generation debuted, keeping the boxy dimensions but adding more luxury. In 2001, the third generation was the first Range Rover to be built with a unibody, as opposed to body-on-frame. And while getting even more opulent with a better ride on the road, it was still just as capable in desert sands or rocky mountains.
In 2005, Range Rover added the Sport to its lineup, and now has four distinct models on offer.
The Range Rover Fifty is based on the Autobiography, with a supercharged 5.0-liter, 518hp V8 engine and eight-speed automatic. The Fifty is a purely cosmetic special edition, with a commemorative plaque on the interior and special ’50’ on the seats, doorsills and other areas. But the best part is the availability of new heritage colors – Tuscan Blue, Bahama Gold and Davos White – which add a certain throwback to this upscale SUV. Or, if you’re boring, you can also get red, gray and black.
Only 1,970 will be built (get it?), and while no price has been announced, expect them to go for more than $150,000.
*Images courtesy of Land Rover UK