FOR Land Rover fanatics, it was heaven on earth.
The parade of 70 Land Rover models started with a replica of the centre-steer prototype (built by the team from the Dunsfold Collection, the world’s largest LR collection, and driven by owner Philip Bashall) and finished with the latest Range Rover Sport SVR.
All were driving the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed hill-climb circuit at Goodwood Estate in West Sussex, UK, with the brand setting a new record for the largest number of vehicles to drive the hill climb simultaneously.
The recreation of the centre-steer Landy was followed by the famous ‘HUE 166’ – the first Series I pre-production vehicle – and then a bunch of Series II and Series II Landies, including the one-millionth Land Rover sold.
4x4 History: 70 years of Land Rover
Other stand-outs in the Series section of the parade included fire engines, expedition vehicles and SAAS rigs, and Land Rover Defenders were fitting final inclusions in the Series/Defender representatives.
Rare vehicles included a 40th anniversary Defender 90, two Camel Trophy vehicles (a 110 and a Discovery), a Dormobile Landy, and – slightly less rare – ‘Mr Land Rover’ himself, Roger Crathorne, aboard his own Defender 90, one of the last ones built.
The Series Landies and Defenders weren’t the only models front and centre, with Land Rover including examples of all its vehicles produced over the course of 70 years.
The Range Rover Classic’s long production run was featured, with these vehicles book-ended by one of the two famous 1971 Trans-Americas Expedition Range Rovers (the two Rangies were the first vehicles to complete the north-to-south traverse of the Americas) and an example a soft-dash 2004 Classic that had served with the Cheshire Police.
Every variant of the Land Rover Discovery was present, from the original three-door Disco 1 up to today’s ‘new’ Discovery and its smaller Sport stablemate. The Disco Sport’s spiritual predecessor – the Freelander – also joined the parade listing, along with the Range Rover Evoque (and convertible), and the latest Rangie, the Velar.
4x4 History: Discovery in Australia
The parade was a huge hit with spectators and, as Jaguar Land Rover UK Sales Director, Scot Dicken said, showed what the brand has – and still does – represent.
“The vast breadth of vehicles here, from fire engines [and] tow trucks to expedition vehicles demonstrated the capability that is core to the Land Rover name.”
Buoying the 70th anniversary celebrations is the fact that the JLR stable (Land Rover and Jaguar) continues strongly in the marketplace, with 621,109 vehicles sold globally in 2017.
The smart-arse in us could say they’d probably sell even more if it had a true workhorse – yep, we’re talking Defender – in its model line-up, but, sadly, there was no mention of the upcoming new Defender at Goodwood. Land Rover continues to remain stone-cold silent on the vehicle, which means more grinding of teeth from the not-so-patient Green Oval brigade.