The Range Rover Classic is one of the Top Three Most Influential Cars of the 20th Century; the initial concept of a high-performance car that was as capable on the road as off it was so right – and so far ahead of its time - that it has spawned (and spawned is the word in the case of the Bentley Bentayga et al) every upmarket SUV, crossover and four-wheel-drive estate car since.
But, despite its importance – and its significance is widely recognized, leading to it having been displayed in the Museum of Modern Art and the Musée du Louvre, amongst others - few could have predicted its recent meteoric rise in value: it has gone from an unloved MOT-failure and bobtail candidate to a genuine alternative to a new SUV (have you seen how much JLR is asking for a Range Rover Reborn?) for the well-heeled in less than half a decade.
The 3.5- and 3.9-litre petrol engines are largely bulletproof and both the manual and automatic gearboxes are capable of withstanding a huge amount of abuse with only rudimentary maintenance.
Solid axles front and rear locate coil-spring suspension, a combination that gives the massive wheel articulation that accounts for a large part of the Range Rover’s off-road prowess. Full-time four-wheel-drive (none of your lily-livered all-wheel-drive here…) gives huge traction on snow and ice, and the centre differential can be locked when you need to split the torque equally between the axles in more challenging circumstances.
High-speed stability and handling is peerless for a vehicle of this size, which made it the ideal platform for both the police and special forces; the comfort and decadence it offered made it a firm favourite with the Royal Family and other well-heeled country folk; and its simplicity meant that it could be kept running using only third world tools and facilities where necessary.