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Range Rover introduces 50th anniversary limited edition SUV

Range Rover introduces 50th anniversary limited edition SUV

The new Range Rover Fifty celebrates half a century of iconic SUV design and engineering that hasn’t lost sight of its roots

Range Rover

SUVs, in their original guise and design, were rugged go-anywhere utilitarian machines. Challen­ging the stereotype was the Range Rover that broke cover in 1970.

A two-door SUV, it swapped sharp edges for curves and right-angles for sweeping lines. Even the Louvre Museum in Paris called it an “exemplary work of industrial design” while exhibiting it in the museum. It became the first vehicle ever to be displayed inside the institution.

But the Range Rover wasn’t a mere vanity exercise. It was one that would push forward an equally aggressive technical agenda that made it a formidable off-roader. It became the first vehicle to cross the notoriously difficult Darién Gap two years after its debut when Major John Blashford-Snell led an expedition from Alaska to the southernmost corner of Argentina. By 1974, it traversed 7,500 miles from the west to east of the Sahara desert in 100 days. A modified Range Rover even won the inaugural Paris-Dakar rally in 1979, and repeated the feat in 1981, ensuring none could claim the first victory to be a fluke.

The Range Rover also served as a template for other SUVs by becoming not only the first to be built as a permanent four-wheel drive upon its debut, but it also became the world’s first 4×4 kitted with ABS in 1989, and also the first 4×4 to feature electronic traction control and automatic electronic air suspension.

The Range Rover family has subsequently spawned variants including the Range Rover Sport, the Range Rover Evoque, the SVAutobiography and the Range Rover Velar – interestingly, Velar was the codename the designers gave the original Range Rover back in the late 1960s when they were road-testing prototypes of it in several countries around the world.

Fifty years later, four generations on, and after over a million units have been sold, the Range Rover is still in rude health. To mark its 50th anniversary, Land Rover unveiled the Range Rover Fifty last month – limited to 1,970 units.

Range Rover Fifty
The ‘Fifty’ script was created by Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s chief creative officer

The Range Rover Fifty is built with trim levels of the top-end Autobiography model, and is available both in standard as well as long-wheelbase variants. Besides, it also features two special 22-inch wheel designs.

It has bespoke exterior accents that are painted in Auric Atlas (the colour black) with the ‘Fifty’ script created by none other than the inimitable Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s chief creative officer. The lettering is also found across the interiors including the centre console, dashboards and headrests too.

The SUV is available in four colours: Carpathian Grey, Rosello Red, Aruba, and Santorini Black. But if you want a special version – and there’s every reason you should with a limited edition like this one – Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations will oblige with a special paint job of either Tuscan Blue, Bahama Gold and Davos White, the colour options of the original Range Rover.

You can have the Fifty in a petrol, diesel and even a forward-looking plug-in hybrid P400e version that sets up the SUV appropriately for the next half a century of its existence, and beyond.

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