Currently reading: Picture special: History of the Range Rover
As the fourth iteration of the Range Rover is unveiled, we look back at the iconic 4x4's evolution over the past 42 years

This week marks the launch of the all-new Range Rover. The 2013 Range Rover 4 is the fourth generation of the iconic off-roader which promises more space, more luxury, less weight and improved performance and emissions.

But what of the models that preceeded this bold new world?

The story started in 1966, when spurred on by the sucess of the Ford Bronco in America, Rover realised there was a huge gap in the market which, given its experience in building go-anywhere vehicles, it was uniquely placed to fill.

Charles 'Spen' King, one of Britain's greatest car designers, began work on a prototype. He, and right-hand man Gordon Bashford, not only came up with the new car's mechanical package, but created (with a little help from his colleagues in the design department) the basic shape of the car. So impressed was the chairman of new owner, Leyland, Donald Stokes, that he commissioned the project.

In 1970 the first Range Rover rolled off the Solihull production line, and was immediately praised by the press. Little changed until 1981, when a four-door was launched. It took until 1986 for a diesel engine to be introduced. The Mk1 Range Rover, now called the Classic was gradually becoming more luxurious too.

The second generation model launched in 1994. Despite strong sales and a plush cabin, Land Rover's new owners, BMW, were never happy with it. The Mk2 lasted just six years before it was replaced.

Now under Ford ownership, the third-generation Range Rover launched in 2001. It leads the class, and is more capable on and off road than ever and had an interior that was hailed as a rival to a Rolls-Royce for its design, refinement and comfort. That it will remain on sale until next year is testament to the appeal and ability it offers.

Click on the image above to take a look through some of the highlights of the last 42 years of the Range Rover


Read our review

Car review

The fourth-generation Range Rover is here to be judged as a luxury car as much as it is a 4x4

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streaky 18 August 2012

Which looks the best?

The second generation RR (P38a) is the neatest and best proportioned of the four versions.  It's a pity that events and its poor reliability shortened its production life so that they are relatively rare. I'm really not sure of the latest version which looks rather odd in comparison.  I suppose it will grow on me and perhaps it looks better in the metal.  I'm not sure about its fascia either; they claim the interior of the Mk4 will be more luxurious but the fascia looks too simplified to the point of being rather austere.  The Mk3 interior was lovely.

Spaniard 19 August 2012

We were travelling down on

We were travelling down on the A1 motorway towards Burgos yesterday evening when, just south of Vitoria, we were joined by a new Range Rover, a left hooker on GB plates.   I had seen all the pre-launch photos Autocar had posted, and I had a nagging fear that the final article might be slightly off the mark in the looks department; but in the flesh, in its jet-black paintwork, it looked simply stunning: imposing yet elegant, with a grace and simple cleanness of line that make a mockery of the increasingly contrived "look at me!" efforts of some of its competitors.  (One small caveat here is that I'm not sure how much of that impression was down to the colour, so I look forward to seeing the car in other shades.)  It put me immediately in mind of a Wally yacht - which perhaps fits in with the direction the brand continues to take.

fgu16750 17 August 2012

New Range Rover ancestor

The true ancestor of the Range Rover was the always forgotten Road Rover, long before the Ford Bronco was released.