Range Rover is gearing up to celebrate its 40th anniversary later this month, counting back four decades since it released the world’s first fully capable luxury 4x4 and with it the development of the SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle).
There have been three generations of Range Rover over the brands lifespan, with the ‘Classic’ model first released in 1970 which continued production with numerous upgrades and derivatives for over 25 years.
The second-generation Range Rover, known as the P38a, followed in 1994 and was not replaced until 2001 when the third and current generation model was released which also gave birth to a second model line in 2005 – the Range Rover Sport – which aimed at a more sports-oriented, driver-focused customer.
"The Range Rover is really four vehicles in one," says managing director Phil Popham. "It's a seven-days-a-week luxury motor car; a leisure vehicle that will range far and wide on the highways and noways of the world; a high performance car for long distance travel; and a working cross-country vehicle."
The Range Rover brand remains at the top of the booming luxury SUV market, enjoying higher annual sales than ever before and continues to be popular around the world.
Over the years, Range Rover has pioneered many innovations in SUVs such as offering the first SUV with coil spring suspension, self leveling suspension, ABS both on and off road as well as driver and passenger airbags.
"Land Rover has a unique history of product innovation. But the Range Rover probably remains the most historically significant vehicle we have ever launched. It is one of the most important vehicles in the history of motoring." Phil Popham, Land Rover Managing Director.
Range Rover will continue as a leader in the luxury SUV market as it prepares to introduce a third model line into the range at this year’s Paris Motor Show with the production Range Rover LRX.
The new model promises to be smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient – embodying the Range Rover brand's commitment to environmental sustainability – yet it will be no less luxurious than the other Range Rover models.
With such a diverse line-up of vehicles the brand has boasted some rather colourful owners in its history – from princes to politicians, from rock gods to rock climbers, from footballers to farmers.
Here is a rather extensive list of notable Range Rover owners, both past and present.
- The Queen, who had one of the very first production Classics. She has also owned second- and third-generation models
- Prince Charles, who has had his latest Range Rover converted to run on biodiesel
- Princess Anne
- Prince Andrew
- Prince Rainier of Monaco, owner of an early Classic
- President Bongo of Gabon, one of the first Classic customers
- Johnny Cash, the country music legend, whose Classic appeared in a French production of The Jungle Book. It was matt black embellished all over with brightly coloured hand-painted jungle plants and animals
- James Bond. Range Rovers have appeared in many 007 films, but in Quantum of Solace, James Bond (Daniel Craig) drove a Range Rover Sport in the Bolivian desert
- Peter Sellers. The British comedian was one of many celebrities in the '70s and '80s who drove customised Wood and Pickett-modified Range Rovers. They were more luxuriously specified than the contemporary Range Rover, and were precursors of the Range Rover Vogue model
- Madonna. Her wedding car at Skibo Castle in Scotland was a second-generation Range Rover. She and Guy Ritchie also owned a Range Rover Sport
- Pope John Paul II. The Pontiff's 'popemobile' was a converted Classic, featuring bullet proof glass
- Billy Connolly, comedian and Range Rover Classic owner
- Paul McCartney, ex-Beatle and Classic owner
- Bruce Springsteen, rock god, and The Boss
- David Gower had a special edition CSK Range Rover. He now has a new Series Three.
- Michael Phelps, winner of 14 Olympic gold medals, and perhaps the greatest swimmer of all time
- Jane Fonda, actress and Classic owner
- Michael J Fox, actor and Classic driver
- Rod Stewart, pop star
- Jennifer Aniston, actress, best known as Rachel in Friends
- Michael Jackson had a number of Range Rovers, including a Classic. When he died, the Jackson family travelled to the funeral in a convoy of 10 black Range Rovers
- Bruce Willis, star of Die Hard, a Classic and third-generation Range Rover
- Jack Nicholson, actor
- Midge Ure, Ultravox frontman, owner of 'tatty old Range Rover' (a Classic)
- Mike Tyson, retired boxer and former world heavyweight champ
- Jeremy Clarkson. The Top Gearstar owns a Range Rover and recently proclaimed it 'best car in the world' in The Sunday Times
- The Sultan of Brunei. One-time 'richest man in the world' has many Range Rovers, including a custom-made gold-plated model for official ceremonies
- David Beckham, frequently photographed behind the wheel of his Range Rover Sport. Range Rovers are also owned by other eminent footballers including John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and Jermaine Defoe
- Meg Ryan, actress
- Richard Branson, Virgin boss and owner of second- and third-generation models
- Britney Spears, singer
- Angelina Jolie, actress. In the first Lara Croft Tomb Raider movie, she drove a Land Rover Defender
- Miley Cyrus, star of Hannah Montana
- Pamela Anderson, actress
- Greg Norman, golfer
- Mel Gibson, actor
- Michael Douglas, actor
- Ryan Sheckler, skateboarder and MTV reality show star
- Michael Jordan, basketball legend
- Lauren Conrad, TV star and fashion designer
- Pete Wentz, musician and bassist for Fall Out Boy
- Keira Knightley, actress
- Nicole Kidman, Australian actress
- Tom Cruise, actor
- Hilary Duff, actress, best known in TV series Lizzie McGuire, and singer
- Kobe Bryant, basketball star
- Eva Longoria, TV star, best known for Desperate Housewives
- Rachel Bilson, actress, star of TV teen drama The OC
- Kiefer Sutherland, actor, son of Donald, and star of TV series 24
- Bow Wow, rapper and actor
- Gwen Stefani, singer and fashion designer
- Dr Mae Jemison, former astronaut
- Lee Pearson, Paralympic athlete, winner of nine gold medals in dressage events
- Anthony Pitt, Australian fashion designer, who started his Academee brand from the lounge of his Bondi Beach flat
- Trevor Baylis, inventor of the wind-up radio
- Sonya Kraus, German TV presenter, former ballerina and fashion designer