Why? It was way too expensive – £950 in 1950, which was ten times the average annual salary. And because it was classed as a car rather than a commercial vehicle, it wasn’t eligible for the same tax breaks as a regular Series 1. By all accounts, it was a commercial flop. But as a concept, a more civilised kind of off-roader, it was remarkably similar to the car that would follow in its footsteps two decades later. A car that would offer a combination of off- and on-road performance not seen before but frequently since.
We are of course talking about the Range Rover, launched in 1970 as a two-door, four-speed manual with the 3.5-litre, twin-carb Buick-derived Rover V8 and permanent four-wheel drive. This one’s a ’72, in Bahama Gold, its insides bedecked in the finest vinyl British Leyland could lay its hands on. Beside it is the current Range Rover, with its clever all-aluminium moncoque chassis (the MkI is old-school body on frame), ruddy-great diesel engine and slippery eight-speed automatic.