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 “COLLECTORS LIKE CARS WHICH 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 Is, each restored to as-new condition by the company that first made it, in the same city and using the original drawings (see Onelife magazine #33, pages 62-67, “Extreme Make Over“). Now, it is extending the Reborn programme 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 Retromobile 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 Classics back when they were new.“ Mike won’t talk numbers. But he reveals that demand for the Reborn Series Is exceeded all expectations. He knows he’s likely to be deluged, and will now have to scour the globe for Range Rovers suitable for rebirth as the programme 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 spartan: the earliest Range Rovers 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 motorways, 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 which are a benchmark for all luxury cars today; not just luxury SUVs. Range Rovers now boast power outputs many times that of the original 3.5-litre V8, and all-terrain ability which 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 programme.“ 54
The first Velars were built in secrecy and road-tested 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 Jemaa el-Fnaa market in Tangier, Morocco 55
Land Rover Magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond.
In this issue, New Defender is put through its paces by two inspirational young adventurers as they prepare for an expedition to the South Pole. We also celebrate 50 years of Range Rover by taking a journey of discovery to Dubai. As well as looking back, we look to future as a group of visionaries explain the technologies that could change the future for all of us.