Like most grea things, the advent of the 1970 Land Rover Range Rover was somewhat of an accident, a happy concert of circumstances that allowed it to take shape. Land Rover had been tinkering with the idea of a three-door station wagon for a while, a project started in 1966 as the “100 inch Station Wagon”, hardly an inspiring name. The advent of a new V8, derived from a GM model, seemed fortuitous, and the styling, originally made by the chief engineer Spen King, was purified by British automotive design legend David Bache. The result was the shape we still know today, which proved to be extremely popular with the public, who also greatly appreciated the car’s unmatched (at the time) visibility and height.
The original Range Rover was equipped with a GM-based, Rover V8 with a 3.5-liter displacement, and 135 horsepower. The amount of torque it produced required that it be equipped with a permanent four-wheel drive system, a first for Land Rover, and which gave it its very distinctive driving characteristics. It was not only a very capable off-roader, but also a powerful street machine as well, with a top speed of 101 miles per hour and a 0-60 time of 11.5 seconds.
The 1970 Land Rover Range Rover proved to be a very popular vehicle in the United States and the Middle East as well, where it was sort of a status symbol. Unfortunately, it was plagued from the very beginning by reliability problems.